A genuine pleasure to read, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” #10 is flawlessly entertaining from start to finish. This is the issue where you get to see Splinter, the Turtles’ sensei, in action. Captured by the Shredder and his Foot Clan, Splinter is in a messy scramble for his survival and must fight one of their deadly assassins. While the rest of the Turtles and April O’Neil take a backseat, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” #10 is really about Splinter at the heart of the story. In a different approach, Splinter is presented more as a skilled fighter than his usual role as a guiding father-figure/teacher.
Dan Duncan’s artwork is fantastic in this energetic fight sequence. Though Splinter is supposedly old, he is still agile and quick on his own feet. Duncan carefully choreographs Splinter’s movements in these panels, maintaining a sense of realism. As he keeps his distance, Splinter continuously blocks and cautiously avoids getting hit by his attacker. Duncan never goes overboard with extreme high jumps and crazy swinging kicks. Instead, Splinter is wisely kept moving at a steady and confident pace.
What’s striking about Duncan’s artwork is the subtle facial expressions from Shredder. Though Shredder’s face is hidden behind a mask, readers can tell what the antagonist is actually thinking. Duncan just uses the whites of Shredder’s eyes, which have no pupils, to demonstrate whether he is either surprised or angry. Always appearing to be dominating, The Shredder is regularly standing in one specific pose as if he were a tyrannical dictator.
The snappy writing by Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz allows the Turtles to come alive with their own distinct personalities. Eastman and Waltz also play around with the reader’s expectations of each Turtle’s behavior. While Leonardo is the official leader and Donatello is the brains, they have a tense argument midway through the plot. Always obedient to Splinter’s teachings, Leonardo is willing to open his mind about the paranormal. Donatello, a student of science and fact, isn’t going to blindly follow Leonardo’s mystical beliefs. Their heated debate quickly ends up becoming a yelling match between competing brothers.
Eastman and Waltz definitely have a knack for humorous dialogue. Just when all hope seems lost and war is brewing, a hilarious joke is thrown into the mix. While Donatello and Michelangelo become distracted in their childish fun, the hot-headed Raphael makes a laugh-out-loud remark. He sarcastically describes his juvenile brothers as “two nerd peas in a geek pod.”
Full of nonstop witty humor and ninjutsu action, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” #10 is a great source of amusing entertainment and fans of the TMNT series will be very excited by this installment’s cliffhanger.