Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #101
Script and Art by Sophie Campbell
Story Consulting by Kevin Eastman + Tom Waltz
Colors by Ronda Pattison
Letters by Shawn Lee
Review by KrisK
Spoilers for TMNT #100
The terrapin family of ninjas ended. Master Splinter died saving the city. The turtles rarely speak to each other, each choosing their own paths. Manhattan quarantines a large swath of the city, now full of hundreds of fresh mutants. When the city needs them most, most of the turtles stay in the country.
After the cataclysmic City at War event, the turtles disbanded. 6 months later, Raphael fights alone as a vigilante in a quarantined mutant town; he fights the gangs of Old Hob, a mutated cat instrumental in the founding of the mutant quarter of Manhattan. The only other turtle fighting in the town is Jen, a recently mutated ninja turtle. She talks more to the newly mutated, trying to help as she figures out her new life. Unlike the founding four turtles, she lived previously as a human, not an animal. She splits her town between the city and the turtles’ farm house.
Meanwhile, the other three turtles grieve Master Splinter in the farmhouse, walking away from previous responsibilities. Leonardo putters in a greenhouse. Michelangelo stays in bed most of the day, holding a kitten. Donatello wanders around the property, unsure of what to do. April O’Neil works for Stockman.
Jenny drives the the story. While Ralph appears a bit, the narrative hugs Jenny. She fights for the mutants as they struggle. The supply drops come fewer and fewer and the winter blows on. Jenny, likely due to the fact she knew Splinter less, takes the loss of the Master better. She just needs a new direction and a purpose.
This issue succeeds at being a jumping point. The 6 month towards the future allows the reader, no matter how many comics they read prior to this, to catch up without boring them. Much of the narrative comes as new information. The new existence of a mutant borough in Manhattan promises a lot of story possibilities for Campbell.
While Eastman and Waltz consulted, Campbell takes the story in a different direction. Focusing on a new turtle and the city, the plight of a mutant develops. Instead of the set stories of the founding Turtles, we see new mutants struggling to find meaning. While the family will no doubt reunite, this time spent on the rest of the city is welcome. The TNMT universe promises so many colorful characters, and Campbell seems adept at exploring them. Her art also sits with the series so far, while creating new, visually interesting mutants. Pattson’s colors manage to capture the coldness of winter and the bright colors that exist in the Turtleverse. Lastly, the letters by Lee create organic dialogues.
Verdict: Buy! Fans of the Turtles remain spoiled. The new direction for the series focuses on the universe created in the previous 100 issues, and instead of a reboot, this feels like a friendly introduction to a fully developed world.