New York City Will Never Be The Same In TMNT #98

by James Ferguson

Karai has made her big move, retaking control of the Foot Clan and imprisoning Splinter. Meanwhile, Jennika is coming to grips with her new life as a Ninja Turtle. The rest of the group is figuring out their next steps and how to save Splinter and the orphans. One person who knows exactly what he’s doing is Old Hob as he unleashes a devastating attack that can only be considered terrorism.

The build up to this move, which is helped shockingly by Raphael, has been bubbling for some time. Old Hob is tired of living in the shadows. He’s a mutant and proud of it, yet the world has done nothing but try to push him down. The irony of this attack is that it happens at Baxter Stockman’s victory rally, having just secured the position of Mayor of New York City. Stockman’s slogan has been “Actions, not words” and that’s definitely what Old Hob delivers.

There are so many players in this story arc, yet it never feels overwhelming. Writer Tom Waltz keeps things moving at a brisk pace, maintaining your attention through every single page. While Metalhead doesn’t make an appearance, we do get a heinous and unsettling action from Agent Bishop and the EPF that left me queasy. This is exactly the kind of thing that Old Hob has been rallying against.

The scene for Hob’s play is beautifully illustrated by Michael Dialynas. It’s framed very well, with the American flag waving behind him as he delivers a stirring and angry speech before pulling the trigger on something that will change the status quo for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for some time. The rage boiling inside him is on full display and it’s mixed with the passion he has for mutantkind.

It’s kind of funny that he’s out there wearing all white, not just because it’s after Labor Day. He’s clad like the noble gunslinger in old westerns, yet his actions are like those of the dastardly villain. His clothing cuts through the darkness of the night, like he’s a shining beacon of hope, although he’s clearly anything but. Colorist Ronda Pattison creates a nice cognitive dissonance with Old Hob with this look. It’s chilling when you can understand where he’s coming from.

The reaction to this attack (and I hope that I’ve teased it enough that you’ll want to check it out yourself) is fitting. Shock spreads across all who witness it. Jaws hit the floor. Letterer Shawn Lee sums it up with some small word balloons as the onlookers are practically speechless.

Just when you thought “City of War” couldn’t get any bigger, TMNT #98 hits and ups the ante considerably. Comics are often teased by saying nothing will ever be the same and it’s rarely true. In this case, it is an absolute fact.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #98 from IDW Publishing is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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