Review: IDW TMNT Villain Micro Series Karai

The IDW Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic book series has been building up a tension between Karai and the Shredder for some time now.  As Tom Waltz talks about our interview we shared earlier this year.  We have learned that she is the one who brought Oroku Saki back, that she is the one who fixed the Foot Clan to be what it use to be.  As much that we have learned about her, it was not till today’s issue of TMNT that we get to learn what inspired her and how she went about doing all that she has done.  In the TMNT Villain Micro Series issue #5 Karai’s history is revealed.  Here is my review of this awesome issue of IDW TMNT!

The Foot Clan’s Geen Training Facility in Westchester County, New York is working at training their new students.  Karai comes in to see the teacher as she is seeking counsel from him.  He tells his class to keep training as he leads her inside to talk.  As they walk in, Karai explains that she feels that her spot in the Foot has changed and she’s trying to decide on how to move forward.  The teacher gave her two normal options, one was to challenge for leadership and the other was to leave the Foot.  When she replied that the Foot is all she has, he asked her what she was before the Foot.  Her reply was “Younger”

This is a nice introduction to Karai’s past.  It’s clear in other issues that she’s questioning all that is happening around her.  She’s strong.  Proud of herself. And overall dedicated to her Grandfather and the Foot Clan.  Though because she is female, she stands in a spot that she did not see coming.  Karai is smart enough that she realizes talking it out with someone not in the center of things will help her see the picture better.

Karai goes into her flashback of how she learned of the Foot Clan.  How she was disappointed in her father and how she decided to train herself.  She found the Foot’s Book, Ashi No Himitsu in the family library.  Using the book she began training at night and being the proper girl during the day. Even in her dreams she would be training.

This is an interesting view of Karai.  One who truly did grow up on nothing but the Foot clan.  And of her own free will.  Her family was going in a new direction, she’s the one who decided to drive The Foot back to the glory it once had.  I do like this drive, it shows just how she ended up on this road and how much the Foot means to her personally.

During one of Karai’s dreams she meets Oroku Saki.  He proves to her that she is not dreaming and tells her that she can bring him back to life.  Swearing the two of them can restore the Foot Clan to what it was.  Karai swears to this, with only one thing.  She wants to take care of the mess her father made.  Saki agrees to this, as he’s already waited so many years.  He can wait a little longer.  When Karai awakes she sees her proof that her meeting with Saki was real.

Now we learn how Saki came into Karai’s life and what a meeting.  She was already strong and ready for him when he showed up.  He came to her and seemed a lot nicer to her there, to get what he wanted.  Now that he’s alive, he wants a male by side and has replaced her.  With everything she’s done, through her life to work up to where she could make the Foot strong again.  It’s even more of a reason for Karai to be the one by Shredder’s side.  Only to be replaced fast by another.

Karai spends the next few years getting things in order.  Then she works at taking out the enemies of the Foot Clan restoring it to what it once was.  She was able to take total control of the Foot clan and keep her promise to the Shredder.  She questions the teacher, Toshiro, about what she is now.  If her success is all she has.   Just as Leonardo walks in the door insulting Karai.

Okay before I review this more it hit me as I was reading this scene, Toshiro… For those who don’t know the name of Tatus’s actor in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1 & 2 is Toshishiro Obata, many websites shorten it to Toshiro.  What an amazing nod to Tatsu here in the IDW Comic books.  I am curious who’s idea this is, if this came from Erik Burnham, Bobby Curnow or even Tom Waltz.  If they realize this awesome connection to the TMNT Movies.  This is the kind of things I love to find in the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles stories be it IDW or Nickelodeon.

Now back to the issue review.  It’s sad seeing Karai having to face this.  Not like she’s been kind to others in her life, but she did work very hard and is losing it over something she can not control.  A problem I have personally bumped into with other jobs… be it age, citizenship or some other challenge in which one has nothing but a losing battle.  Karai is at a point in her life she did not foresee and it’s one that hurts her deep inside.

Leonardo is cold.  There is no respect or feelings for Karai as he talks.  He has come to check on the students and he’s not impressed.  He makes sure that Karai knows that she is worthless to him and he feels that she’s obsolete.  Karai is holding in her anger, she hates Leonardo.  But she does not want to defy the Shredder.  Though when Leonardo tells her to attack him so that he can show her where she truly stands, she wastes no time to go into battle with the Turtle.

The tension building up between the two is interesting.  Though at the same time a little disappointing for me.  It seems that Leo of course has fake memories or something that makes it so he’s use to being around here. I would've enjoyed seeing Karai’s first reaction to Leo after his change.  While we are seeing a lot of growth in areas, first reactions are often remembered through comics.  For the fans, this is the first chance we get to see Dark Leo and Karai talk.  It’s a great scene, showing Leo as bad and ready to bring Karai down.  It also leaves some questions about Leonardo. 

This is where I leave off the story and say the normal bit.  If you want to know who wins the fight and what happens next, read the comic.  These are worth reading as the writing and art will keep you glued to your seat till the book is done.  Another one of IDW’s master pieces to add to the collection.  I enjoyed this issue a lot.  The nod to Tatsu is great!  And the overall history of Karai is best told here. 

Have you read IDW TMNT Villains Micro Series #5 “Karai”?  If so what is your thoughts on this issue?  Please share reviews, comments and questions below.

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