Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles # 71 (IDW)
The Turtles have long believed that someone has been pulling their strings, and in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #71, they finally find out who it is. A mythical family of deities known as the Pantheon have secretly met and planned out the goings on in the world, and their youngest member, the witch Kitsune, has been battling the Turtles. Every 100 years the family meets to discuss and plan, but this time Kitsune reveals that she’s going to resurrect their father. Known only as “The Dragon”, he is too powerful to be contained in any mere mortal. But Kitsune has someone in mind for a host. Who could that be?
Well, unfortunately the Turtles arrive and we don’t find out. However, that doesn’t mean that this issue is a total wash. In fact, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #71 is a really solid issue that does a great bit of world building. Tom Waltz and Kevin Eastman spend almost the entire issue introducing us to the members of the Pantheon and how they interact with each other. While some of these members are characters we’ve seen before (like Kitsune and The Rat King), a good chunk of them are brand new, and written so well that I really can’t wait to see more of them.
Adding to the Pantheon’s stellar characterizations is the art by Dave Wachter, who delivers some really awesome character designs for The Pantheon. Wachter’s characters are all very distinct with really cool visual looks, but he also does a tremendous job of showcasing their personalities as well. There’s a lot of unspoken moments and glances between the characters that, under Wachter’s pencils, look phenomenal. He really makes the book stand out.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #71 is a really great piece of world building, and that honestly wasn’t something I was expecting from this issue. I went into this thinking it would be a bore (or worse, a glorified recap issue), but I was pleasantly surprised to be proven wrong. It’s a testament to the strength of Waltz and Eastman as storytellers that they’re still finding new and interesting things to do with the Heroes in a Half Shell 71 issues into their new series, and I can’t wait to see what they have planned next.