Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has had an eventful second year with Sophie Campbell as the writer for the series. Campbell’s second year has honestly been stronger than her first. Which is saying a lot as she did a lot of great work bringing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles into a new era as we found the brothers without Splinter and a new sister in Jennika. Now after all they have been through the Turtles and their extended family are getting ready to celebrate their first Christmas together without Splinter. How will the family celebrate the holiday season? Let’s find out with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #124.
Story Consultants: Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz
Story Writer: Sophie Campbell
Artist: Ken Garing
Colorist: Ronda Pattison
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: The Turtles, April O’Neil, Alopex, and others spend time putting up missing posters while they search for Mushroom, Zanna, and Zink.
After a tireless search they return to the Splinter Dojo without find the trio.
While most relax Alopex decides to go out to search for Mushroom, Zanna, and Zink alone. Raphael sees her off.
Raphael then enters the room were they have a memorial for Splinter and thinks of his father while lighting candles in his honor. As that happens Oroku Saki is shown watching from the shadows.
Elsewhere, with memories of what Future Lita told her, Alopex desperately searches for Mushroom, Zanna, and Zink.
Seeing this and how others throughout Mutant Town are spending the holidays Oroku Saki decides to find Mushroom, Zanna, and Zink.
Oroku Saki eventually finds Mushroom, Zanna, and Zink with Old Hob. Noticing that Old Hob is actually treating Mushroom, Zanna, and Zink well and having fun with them Oroku Saki decides to leave them alone.
Oroku Saki then leaves a note at the Splinter Dojo to let everyone know Mushroom, Zanna, and Zink are safe and happy with Old Hob.
Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, and Michelangelo then spend time together looking through old family photos. They are soon joined by Jennika, April, Casey, Alopex, Lita, and Sheena. Not much later Angel and Woody arrive with pizzas. Everyone spends the holiday together at the Splinter Dojo as a happy family.
The Good: Silent issues are always a unique experience when it comes to a comic book. These types of comics could easily just come across as a bunch of storyboards put together rather than a complete issue. Which all goes to speak to how well Sophie Campbell, Ken Garing, and Ronda Pattison are able to work together as a creative to deliver a story that hits even without dialogue.
The impact of this story featuring the Turtles and the rest of the family searching Mushroom, Zanna, and Zink speaks to how we have come in this current direction for the series. Campbell has built a strong chemistry with everyone at the Splinter Dojo that you really feel the desperation with how everyone is searching for Mushroom, Zanna, and Zink. Everyone has become a tight nit family that one, or in this case three, is a serious development that isn’t something anyone will take lightly.
Seeing the Turtles family so together in this added to how the story in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turles #124 was set around the holidays. This adds to how there is such a family feel to the story being told. These developments with Mushroom, Zanna, and Zink makes each main character reflect on the relationships they’ve built or lost. You see that with the flashes of memory that we see Leonardo and Alopex have. Garing and Pattison does such a great job creating a unique visual to help emphasize the emotions these characters are feeling.
And it really does speak to Garing’s strengths as an penciler and Pattison’s coloring they give us a good idea of what is being said or not said between characters through the way characters are interacting. Raphael seeing Alopex off as she continues her search for Mushroom, Zanna, and Zink alone and Alopex going through the city are the best examples of this. The connection between Raphael and Alopex really comes through that there is this trust that Alopex can go out alone without a big argument about it.
It also speaks to the growth Raphael has been going through since Splinter’s death. As much as he wants to be seeing as the loner he has been better in touch with his own emotions beyond his anger. Lighting the candles in the weapon room where Splinter’s staff is and staring at it while remembering his father was all a nice touch.
The resolution of the search for Mushroom, Zanna, and Zink coming from Oroku Saki continuing his spirit angle by confirming the trio are okay with Old Hob was interesting. It did give us a satisfying resolution for the story Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #124 was telling. It also left the door open to make the moment when the Turtles meet Old Hob again be an even more emotional moment. What’ll be interesting to see from this if how long Oroku Saki will continue his spirit act of helping the Turtles from afar. Eventually he’ll have to get more involved which would be interesting to see what kind of reaction he gets.
The ending of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #124 starting with Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, and Michelangelo looking through family pictures with Splinter was a good tone setter. These memories of their dad is a good reminder of everything Splinter did for them and that they’ve been able to stick together as a family through everything. This is emphasized with how while they may be without Splinter their family has grown with Jennika, April, Casey, Lita, Sheena, Angel, and Woody becoming important to them. Seeing everyone together was a great visual to close out the year for the series as the chemistry of the group just shines through in the final image near the fireplace.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #124 was an excellent, can’t miss issue for fans of the TMNT franchise. Sophie Campbell showed great trust in Ken Garing to deliver on the impact story she outlined without any dialogue. Garing’s artwork shines throughout this issue as he is able to get over how important family is to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise. It is a strong way to conclude 2021 for this series and I look forward to what is next for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in 2022.
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