I’ve only ever picked up one other TMNT comic, and while it was pretty good, it didn’t grab me. This issue did so from the cover and the title. Shredder in Hell? That’s got to be worth a peek, and the cover catches the eye as well. My local store(Ka-Pow Ltd Comics and Games) was down to their last copy, so I count myself lucky I was able to pick this up. Mateus Santolouco handles both the writing and the art in this book, with some help on colours by Marcelo Costa.
The cover is eye catching. It features Shredder front and center, in his trademark armor, eyes glowing. He’s surrounded by skulls and tentacles, giving a darker vibe to the image. There are also sparks floating in the air around him, they look great, and in some places almost seem like eyes staring out of the darkness.
This book is beautiful. I mean, the art is just gorgeous. Every panel is well rendered, the characters are drawn in loving detail, and even the backgrounds are amazing. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a book that looks this good. It’s well coloured, with a palette that feels a little off, but this fits with the afterlife setting of the book – it feels otherworldly, as it should. My favourite scene is when Oroku Saki and Hamato Yoshi are standing around the Tree of Life. The detail is great, and the colour is gorgeous. The tree almost feels like it extends into infinity.
The issue begins in the aftermath of Shredder’s death, with Kitsune performing a ritual to bring his spirit back. It then shows a quick recap of Shredder’s final battle, and the peace he found at the end of it. Next, we see Oroku Saki awaken in a forest. He looks on to his and Splinter’s younger selves training and playing, only to be confronted by his ancestor and founder of the Foot Clan, Takeshi Tatsuo. He has a contentious encounter with his ancestor, who urges him to seize his destiny by taking on the aspect of the Dragon God – the source of Shredder’s power. After this he is reunited with Splinter, who tries to guide him. While he spurns his advice, Splinter doesn’t abandon him, but chases after his old friend. The issue ends on an interesting note, as Shredder is confronted by demonic looking versions of the Turtles…
This book was really well written. Oroku Saki is very much a conflicted character in this book. Unwilling to be a slave to the Dragon God, yet unwilling to give up control of his own fate. It’s a very interesting characterization for the villain. I also enjoyed having Splinter show up as well, as despite their differences, the two clearly love and respect each other.
I hadn’t planned on it, but I’ve added this one to my pull list, and I recommend you do the same!