Kevin Eastman is one of the Co-Creators of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (along with Peter Laird). He did two of the Variant Covers for this issue. Tom Waltz has a lot of writing credit with TMNT, over 80 issues between TMNT and TMNT Color Classics. He did a lot of franchise work, including Galaxy Quest, Back to the Future, KISS, Ghostbusters, and Jurassic Park. Some of his other credits include Kill Shakespeare and Zipper. Mateus Santolouco has a lot of art credits for IDW, Marvel, DC and more, including Fall of Cthulhu (Godwar, Nemisis, Apocalypse, and the Gray Man), 2 Guns, X-Necrosha, and more.
This is the fourth and final issue in this story arc. The Turtles and the Mutanimals are on the run, hunted by a combination of fanatics and mercenaries. The Fanatics (the Earth Protection Force, or EPF) want to eradicate the Turtles and all other mutants, solely because they are not human. The mercenaries (Dark Water) are just that—mercenaries. They are selling their lethal skills for money.
The EPF has scientists who have captured Slash (a huge and powerful but simple mutant Turtle). They have weaponized him, using him like a gigantic puppet. They captured many of the Mutanimals. Hob, the one-eyed mutant alley cat is mounting a counterattack. The free mutants were able to steal some data from the EPF. Unfortunately, it was only a list of family members of the EPF and Dark Water. Hob alone sees a way to use the information.
He kidnaps the father of the leader of the EPF and the wife of the Dark Water Commander.
He uses them as hostages to secure the release of the Mutanimals. This is not something that the Turtles would do, but it is something Hob would do. Unlike the Turtles, who live by a strict code of honor, Hob’s only moral compass is taking care of the Mutanimals, his “family.”
The Dark Water Mercs are willing to call it a draw and walk away. The EPF, on the other hand, is not willing to accept peace. Even faced with the threat to his father, the EPF Leader will not accept peace. His acts force the Turtles to take steps they normally would not have done.
The writing here is fascinating. Waltz and Eastman have made Hob a complex character. It would be easy to make him one-dimensional character, but instead, he is dynamic. While Hob operates by a different moral code, he is not shown as a “bad guy.” They have shown human sides to different characters. The Dark Water commandos are mercenaries, but they have lines they will not cross. The Mutanimals may not live by the same high moral standards as the Turtles, but they are not portrayed as evil.
Santolouco’s artwork on TMNT has been consistently outstanding. His take on anthropomorphic characters is outstanding. He controls his style based on the characters. Some are very cartoonish, while others are very realistic. Hob and Sally, two cats who are serious characters among the Mutanimals, are as realistic as any human or the Turtles. The same can easily be said about Slash who, despite his lesser intelligence, is a character of great pathos and gravitas. On the other hand, Mondo Gecko, Pigeon Pete, and Herman (the Mutant Hermit Crab) are drawn in a less realistic fashion.
This is a fascinating story arc, containing equal amounts of action and character development. The plot, characterization, and dialogue are outstanding, and the artwork is truly superior.
Written by: Tom Waltz & Kevin Eastman
Illustrated by: Mateus Santolouco