I was a little concerned after the first issue of The Last Ronin. It had been built up to such a degree as something more mature. I was hoping that it simply wasn’t because of the violence, but instead as a result of a more adult storyline. It turned out that the issue was a very well-plotted and elongated action scene. Beautifully rendered from one sequence to the next, I enjoyed the issue, but I struggled to connect on that deeper level. It never really slowed down for story until the final few pages, where a promise was made to me by the creators: that what I was hoping for was coming. That promise paid off in the immensely enjoyable, surprisingly emotional, best Teenage Mutant Ninja story that I’ve read in a long while with the second issue. Because of the depth of the second issue, in hindsight, the first issue now stands next to it on equal footing.
The first issue brought us crashing into this futuristic, dystopian New York City with one of the Turtles (which one I won’t say) wreaking havoc like a wrecking ball. The main goal: to topple the Foot Clan who have risen to power, no matter the cost. The second issue sends us back and forth in time, and we slowly get hints as to what happened all those years ago that brought us to this future filled with tragedy. Why is there only one of the Turtle brothers left? For someone who has lived most of their lives with the four Ninja Turtles, it was a genuinely tough ride, but it was incredibly satisfying.
Esau and Isaac Escorza’s images are simply wonderful. There are two sequences that are startlingly effective. Considering this issue’s title is “The First to Fall,” one such sequence deals with that. Another is a flashback that pays homage to the Turtles I first experienced as I kid. Honestly, this entire issue has the rawness of the first comic series that introduced Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael to this budding boy, but it also has the wisdom of confident storytellers – storytellers who understand these creations inside and out.
We talk a lot about how #StoriesMatter at Fanbase Press, and characters are a huge part of that. The characters that we love echo throughout our daily lives. They inspire us, give us hope, and inform who we want to be. I can’t tell you how many times I sat on the playground as a child and asked myself, “What would Indiana Jones do?”
I’ve been spending time during the lockdown revisiting stories and movies from my coming-of-age years, and reading The Last Ronin is giving me that feeling of something that truly matters with something new and absolutely tremendous. I am here for it!
Creative Team: Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird, Tom Waltz (story), Tom Waltz, Kevin Eastman (script), Kevin Eastman (layouts), Esau and Isaac Escorza (pencils/inks), Samuel Plata (color assistance), Luis Antonio Delgado (colors), Shawn Lee (letters), R.G Llarena (additional editorial coordination), Bobby Curnow (edits)
Publisher: IDW Publishing
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