Review: IDW Mirco TMNT Series #5

The original Mirage Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Micro Series only had four issues, one for each Turtle.  These were awesome comics that connected back to the main series, each comic sharing a story of one character so you could get to know that character better and did some things that would touch the main story.  IDW Publishing has decided to bring back the Micro Series, though to our surprise there are more than four issues.  This review is of issue five of the TMNT Micro Series, an issue based around Splinter.  This issue picks up directly after issue 10 of the ongoing series.

We start off this issue with Splinter surrounded by the Foot.  As Splinter fights, he thinks about what he’s doing.  His inner thoughts share his story of a rage he tries very hard to suppress.  Splinter’s anger for Oroku Saki is deep, as he goes into the memory of why he hates Saki so much, memories of his family being killed.  Though he wishes not to kill with this life.  As these thoughts are going through Splinter’s mind, we see the fight scenes nicely drawn of Splinter taking on the Foot Ninjas as they attack him.  He debates in his mind of why to kill Oroku Saki.  Though he fights to regain control to not take that course of action and to remember his youth.

I really like these first so many pages as we get to see Splinter in action.  And we get to hear his thoughts on what’s going on around him.  It’s a deep side of Splinter, where he’s on his own and he’s got a big choice to make.  I think both the writing and art flow together and it keeps me reading onward.

As Splinter thinks about his youth, we go into a flashback showing Yoshi in a different light, as a bully.  He’s angry, big and looks very mean as he’s taking on another member of his clan, while others stand in the background looking disappointed besides for one, who has a smirk upon his face.  This fight is stopped by a Master, who calls Yoshi away with him.  Master Masato wants Yoshi to mediate and seek some balance deep within, once the order was given Master Masato left Yoshi to mediate near a river where Yoshi had to think about all that has been going on.  At first, he wanted to lash out as his master and that’s when he realized the fact that he even considered attacking a master swordsman.  So he began to mediate.

I really love this scene.  It shows a way that Splinter could really relate to his sons.  This is a side of Splinter not explored in the other medias, as Splinter was usually seen as a good guy without these flaws of his youth.  The art has a wonderful and warm feeling to it. and you can see the anger of Yoshi that was in that first panel wash away as the panels go by.  I got a feeling that the one smirking in the background in that first panel was Oroku Saki.  More and more I’m liking the story of Splinter in the IDW series.

As Yoshi mediates, he gets a visitor that shocks him so much he falls into the water.  Tang Shen helps Yoshi from the water and builds him a fire.  In this scene you get to see the relationship of Tang Shen and Hamato Yoshi grow.  Yoshi felt his anger that he carries begin to dim as Tang Shen stayed and spent this evening with him.  They began to see more of each other in the months at followed, which leads to them getting married.

This is not the first time we’ve seen a story of Yoshi and Shen getting to know each other, as the 4Kids series did an episode about Tang Shen which was well done.  Though I really like the growth in this, there’s no love battle.  It’s a couple coming together, not because they were looking for it but because of the right place and the right time.  Really the art keeps that warm feel to it as we watch this growth.  The writing just expresses how much Yoshi benefits from this relationship.

Now that time has passed, Yoshi is with Master Masato and Oroku Saki.  Master Masato is proud of Yoshi for his improvements, though Saki does not seem as impressed.  Though this meeting is to call a job in order. Yoshi and Saki are sent to kill a Lord Ochi as a job.  Though once there, Saki changes the plans and sends Yoshi in alone.  Saki angers Yoshi with some cruel comments, which causes Yoshi to act without thinking.  Yoshi jumped into a bad fight, where he was injured.  His need to see Tang Shen got him to push through even though the odds were against him.

This is a great fight scene, you have to read the comic to see the art and just how things play out.  I enjoyed seeing that Yoshi was not a perfect ninja warrior as he was painted as in other stories.  He made mistakes, and it also shows that Saki was a bit of a jerk to him before things went down.  There was history there.  It leaves things more open.  In my mind, I ask why Saki already at this point did not care for Yoshi.  I would love to see Saki’s view of this story.

Yoshi returns home with the thoughts of dying.  Though Tang Shen forbids it as she shares the news with him that he is going to be a father and we learn that over the next few years she gives birth to four sons.  Yoshi felt peace and calm, until Oroku Saki rose to become Jonin of the Foot Clan, which is when Yoshi left the Foot and lost his family.  This was best shown in issue five of the ongoing TMNT series by IDW.

This here shows so much about how Yoshi feels about his family.  It’s truly a work of art in all ways.  You see where Yoshi breaks to his kids and realizes he’s still gotta control his temper.  You see how he compares his boys to Shen.  You see his skills in taking on the Foot.   I will leave the rest of the comic for those who pick it up and read for themselves such as where Splinter ends up.

I like how issue 5 of the ongoing series and issue 5 of the Micro series connect so well.  Want to find the Splinter flashback issues, just pick up issue five of these two series.  They both tie into each other very well.  Though there is a surprise in this issue, it is not written by Brian Lynch like the other Micro Series issues were.  This comic is written by Erik Burnham, with artwork from Charles Paul Wilson III.  We still get a cover design from David Petersen.  There is a continuity note on the introduction page saying that this issue takes place during TMNT #11, but either issue can be read first.  I did not catch that note at first, so I thought this would be a lead up to issue 11, like Micro series #4 was a lead up to issue 9 of the on going series.  I can not wait to see 11, to find out how these two connect.

Overall, I love how this issue turned out.  It gives us so much more depth on Splinter.  Erik did a wonderful job writing the characters and Charles did a lot great artwork. The feel of the book is warm with all the scenes through the flashbacks.  Even though this is a dark time for Splinter, fighting for his life.  You know Tom Waltz had to have a hand in this, with such important information of Yoshi’s past being revealed.

Have you read this comic yet?  What do you think of Yoshi’s new history information?  Please share your reviews, comments and questions below!

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