After last month’s epic TMNT 50, a lot of changes were promised for this series. Splinter fell, and with that, Splinter and the Ninja Turtles took charge of the foot clan. Michelangelo left as a result of this the same way that Raphael often does. Otherwise the Turtles are in a better position than they’ve ever been in, so of course they need new threats.
Written by Tom Waltz, with additional story work by Kevin Eastman and Bobby Curnow, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 51 takes place in an unspecified amount of time after issue 50. While most of the clan acknowledges Splinter’s leadership, there may be conspiracies at work from within. Furthermore, there’s a new threat growing in the criminal underworld with advanced technology and unknown motives. There’s a lot of mystery in this issue and it’s intriguing, but it’s not as good as the series usually is. The drama with Michelangelo is good, and gives this issue a dramatic edge in what’s otherwise a transitional issue.
The art by Ken Garing is decent. There’s nothing particularly wrong with it, but I wouldn’t call it anything special either. It’s a bit of a simple and classic feel. Some of the backgrounds are well detailed with a variety of buildings and objects spread throughout rooms, but there are entire pages with hardly any background work at all. The action flows smooth and there’s a sense of scale when the entire Foot Clan shows up to aid the turtles. Although some characters look a bit different than usual, they’re all recognizable. The colouring by Ronda Pattison is good.
It’s hard to make a transitional issue of this magnitude work, and the creative team manages just fine. It’s unclear exactly where the new direction is heading but this series has been so good this far that it’s at least worth giving TMNT a few issues to set itself up. And with some good drama with Mikey and a fun opening action scene, this issue is worth reading for Ninja Turtles fans anyway.