City Fall's a tough act to follow, so instead of trying to create something even bigger than the epic story, the IDW team is wisely playing off its conclusion to create a more somber and humanizing tale. City Fall was explosive and action packed, but it also brought about some major changes to the key characters. Now the creative team has time to actually flesh out what these events mean to everyone and prove they weren't just forgettable shock value.
Seeing as this is a jumping on point (although I strongly recommend reading City Fall at some point), Tom Waltz, Kevin Eastman and Bobby Curnow spend time addressing how each character is coping post-City Fall. Unfortunately, Michelangelo and Donatello don't have any big moments, but there's a solid focus on Leo's recovery and how Raph's handling it, the developing April/Casey relationship, and the reintroduction of Alopex. The handling of each character feels appropriate after what just went down and that's a welcome change of pace. So often we have characters saving the world and they're cool about it in very the next issue. Here, we're feeling the impact the war has taken on the family. Sure, they escaped with their brother, but the conflict is far from over. Additionally, the writing team has opened the door to a much bigger plot here.
Yes, Mateus Santolouco's an awesome fit for the book, but having Ross Campbell take over art duties for this story makes sense given the dramatic change in narrative. The opening two pages show this pretty well as we briefly chime in on the cold and violent locations from City Fall before being hit by the calming and peaceful scenery for this one. Campbell does a good job immersing us in the setting, but it's his work on the characters which really drives the tone home. The characters often have a much more innocent look to them, which, in turn, makes us experience a greater sense of compassion for them. That's particularly needed given what they're going through, after all. Campbell also nails it with the more intense moments. When Raph lets loose, you can truly see it in his eyes and the very brief flashback of Shredder vs. Alopex looks excellent. And, as always, Ronda Pattison does a thorough job with the coloring, adding so much more depth and vitality to the pages.
If you've been following along (both the ongoing series and micro-issues), then the fact this is a jumping on point is definitely noticeable. Waltz makes sure the exposition is given in an organic way, but it still feels like covering familiar territory for the rest of us and takes up a fair amount of the time.
And, while the drastic change in the atmosphere is completely understandable, it's tough not to miss the excitement of City Fall a little bit.
Handling the fallout of City Fall certainly doesn't seem like an easy feat, yet the team at IDW has kicked things off with a strong first chapter. It's a much needed breather for the team after being hit by all of the chaos in the last story and Ross Campbell's art does a fine job reflecting that. This one's primarily character-driven, but by the end of the issue, it'll definitely leave you wondering where the overall narrative will go next. This book has yet to let me down and I just can't recommend it enough.