DrunkWooky Comic Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #1 (Eastman, Laird, IDW 2020)

Beware light spoilers abound!

TMNT: The Last Ronin #1 (of 5) is sold out on Midtown Comics and TFAW (but you can still grab #2), while you can still find marked up copies on Ebay or read it digitally on Kindle and Comixology.

Since the Days of Future Past storyline in Uncanny X-Men, dystopian dark futures have been a mainstay trope for comics. We have Old Man Logan, Earth X, Marvel Zombies, Injustice, The Dark Knight Returns, White Knight, and the list goes on. And this type of storyline is a mainstay for good reason. Yes, our favorite heroes often tackle insurmountable odds, heartbreak, and the prospect of imminent doom, but there’s something about a story where that doom is no longer imminent and has come to pass. What happens to our favorite heroes when we push them beyond what they have ever experienced before? What happens when we strip away the comfort of their support group, kill off their brothers in arms? Can our heroes steer a dark world back to the light? These are the imaginative questions that tickle the brain of the reader perennially.

Eastman and Laird’s The Last Ronin #1 promises to be a strong entry into this genre of storyline. We open on an unidentified member of the familiar turtle troupe squelching across toxic sludge to lay a one man siege on the walled-in city of Manhattan. Off-panel, familiar voices crack wise and keep the tone from getting too terribly grim. This turtle carries all of his brothers’ weapons with him along with their memory.

This turtle is on the island for vengeance. The offspring of a well-known villain killed his brothers and now rules Manhattan with an iron fist and a legion of cyborg soldiers.

The most striking quality of this issue is probably the heavy dose of action throughout its 40 pages. If you want high-flying turtle action that reminds you of old school Eastman and Laird tales with a new twist, this is definitely your cup of tea. We don’t spend a ton of time slowing down and getting to know the characters (new and old) in this new setting, but there are short glimmers. Having said that, I probably don’t need to convince hardcore turtles fans to pick this up. What this storyline’s first issue does seem to have going for it, however, is a convenient jumping on point for those who may be out of the TMNT loop as of recent. The high-flying action is interspersed with some expositive narration that doesn’t feel too heavy-handed and gets everybody up to speed. Much of this issue is spent building up this brand-new futuristic version of the turtles world. You get the sense that those little glimmers of character motivation and the scars that have formed in familiar characters over the past 10 years will come back to play important roles in the next four issues.

Eastman and Laird are of course riding the turtle-train once again, and their signature story style shines through Tom Waltz’s scripting. Esau and Isaac Escorza do a phenomenal job depicting “on-model” turtle characters that convey classic TMNT style in a brand new world. Without checking the credits page, you would have though Eastman may have drawn the whole thing himself.

Official solicit for TMNT: The Last Ronin #1 (of 5):

It’s the TMNT event of 2020!
Springing from the minds of TMNT co-creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird comes an epic like you’ve never seen before!

In a future NYC far different than the one we know today, a lone surviving Turtle goes on a seemingly hopeless mission to obtain justice for his fallen family and friends.

Kinetic layouts from Eastman, moody inks from Andy Kuhn and a thrilling script full of surprises from longtime TMNT scribe Tom Waltz all combine to make this one of the most memorable TMNT stories you will ever read!

Oversized in both format and page count, this is a perennial TMNT tale that can’t be missed!Item #:1943449Diamond code:JUN200557UPC:82771401991900111

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