Writer: Sophie Campbell
Penciller / Inker: Sophie Campbell
Colorist: Ronda Pattison
Release Date: June 9th, 2021
IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #117 completes the Battle of the Bands arc. The bleak future foretold by future Lita has been averted. The dynamic between the Turtles and the Foot is changed. The stage is set for the next chapter in the lives of the Turtles and all of Mutant Town.
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THE STORY SO FAR
The inhabitants of Mutant Town have been suffering under Old Hob’s poor leadership and mismanagement of supplies. Mona Lisa has been haranguing Michelangelo for his lack of involvement in Mutant Town politics.
The foot previously bungled an attempt to transport Tokka and Rahzar. Karai, Bludgeon and Koya have been recuperating from the incident in Splinter Dojo under the care of the Turtles ever since. In the midst of this, a grown-up Lita has come from the future with a warning: Splinter Clan’s focus on conflict over community will destroy the clan and turns NYC into a war zone.
A three-way street brawl between Clan Splinter, Rocksteady and Bebop and Tokka and Rahzar threatened to destroy Mutant Town. To stop the fight, little Lita challenged Rocksteady and Bebop to a Battle of the Bands on Jennika’s behalf. In the previous issue of TMNT, Jennika and the rest of the family took on the task of recruiting members for her band.
The Battle of the Bands is a big anticlimactic letdown. It makes no sense to spend three issues building up to the event just to have it ultimately sort of not happen. In the middle of the disappointing culmination of the Battle of the Bands, Koya screams “I did this for nothing!” It feels like an admission from the creative team. It’s all over much too quick to be remotely satisfying.
What I did find satisfying is the wrap-up of future Lita’s arc. She has a meaningful farewell. Just before leaving Lita manages to blurt out enough spoilers about the future to make Doc Brown blush.
The final pages of TMNT #117 are a sort of epilogue for the future Lita storyline. We see many of the mutants coming together, building relationships and community. Michelangelo meets with Mona Lisa’s activist group, with Raph in tow, ready to fight for change.
The last panels of the issue reveal someone from the Turtles past benevolently watching over them.
First, the Sam Lotfi retailer incentive cover is pretty awesome. Sophie Campbell’s art is great as usual. I find it highly inadvisable to try to pull off a Battle of the Bands in a silent medium. However, the imagery Campbell used to illustrate the sound of Jennika’s band is pretty creative and wildly effective. It’s too bad it wasn’t in service of a more gratifying story arc.
The colors feel a bit simplistic in issue #117. There are a handful of scenes that are very expressively and dramatically colored. But I felt like there were a lot of missed opportunities for what could have been moodier, nuanced scenes.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #117 is a bit of a mixed bag from an otherwise consistently good creative team. The hasty way the Battle of the Bands arc was wrapped up left a bad taste in my mouth. Future Lita is quickly becoming my favorite mutant and her arc was handled in a way that was much easier to appreciate. I’d be very interested in knowing if the future Lita returns to is the new future created by her intervention? Or is it the apocalyptic future she came from?
Despite my griping, TMNT #117 is a mostly good book. IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has been fun pretty consistently thus far. I look forward to what comes next given the developments of Lita’s arc.