• Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #132
    Sophie Campbell
    Pablo Tunica
    Shawn Lee
    Cover Artist:
    Pablo Tunica
    IDW Publishing
    Release Date:
    Ronda Pattison

The Rat King is moving forward with his plan to let loose chaos all over the world. Overwhelmed by the villain's forces and missing their father, Master Splinter, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have found an unexpected new mentor in Oruku Saki -- who was once their old enemy, Shredder.

Despite mistrust and uncertainty, the Turtles have accepted tutelage from their former nemesis. But burned bridges take a while to rebuild. Leo has been burned before, and he has his dark self to remind him. Written by Sophie Campbell, drawn by Paolo Tunica, with colors by Ronda Pattison, and letters by Shawn Lee -- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #132 follows the heroes as they learn the mystic arts of Kuji-Kiri under Saki's instruction.

REVIEW: IDW's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #132_0

Sophie Campbell's run on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a darker, more mature story of love, loss, and redemption. Against all odds, Leo finds he can trust Saki, albeit reluctantly. But as the issue progresses, he even learns to respect the reformed villain. Leo and Saki's mutual desire for justice helps motivate them in their respective quests for redemption. Leo comes to terms with his literal Dark Side, learning to confront it, along with his doubt and self-hatred, in a beautifully constructed sequence involving the use of a katana, and in the process, he develops respect and understanding for his old enemy.

Saki spends one on one time with each of the turtles, teaching them the mystic arts. While a bit predictable and exposition-heavy, it's a nice development to see Saki relating to the Turtles. It's through these sequences that the Turtles come to trust Saki. Fittingly, Raph's lesson about mastering the art of "Jin," or the reading of thoughts, proves that Saki's intentions are honest -- which prompts a sigh of relief for both the Turtles and the reader. In fact, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #132, with its serene and contemplative tone, lush natural setting, and the use of martial arts, is a sigh of relief after issues marred by burnt bridges and nightmares. Nowhere is this sense of relief stronger than the standout moment when Saki gives the Turtles the final technique, zen. The Turtles have to face their collective grief for Splinter head-on to truly find the peace of mind needed to move forward and face the Rat King.

REVIEW: IDW's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #132_1

Tunica continues the traditional-looking Japanese painting-inspired style he established in previous issues. This time, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #132 boasts a cooler, earthier, and softer color palette. After the grotesque visuals and nightmares of the last issue, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #132 emphasizes the healing and gentle side of the supernatural, mystical, and martial arts. Forests, foliage, bonfires, and endearing woodland spirits are scattered throughout. Even the tenser moments, such as Leo's battle with his Dark Side, come across as harmonious and tranquil. Ronda Pattison's colors add to this sense of peace, sticking to a natural and muted palette of earth tones, highlighted by washes of soft mauve, purple, and aqua during the more supernatural and mystically charged pages.

After much suffering, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #132 is a deep breath of fresh forest air, which ends with a shuddering, cathartic sigh of relief. Although the road ahead leads to war with the Rat King, both the Turtles and Saki have found a sense of closure, and the audience is prepared to face the worst alongside them.