The last several issues have been offering a spotlight on the Ninja Turtles and the characters that are close to them (Hun, April, Casey, Slash, etc), but this issue is all about Shredder and General Krang. Considering the large plans they have in store for their world, the focus is most certainly well-earned and needed to build the anticipation for what's to come. Thankfully, writer Tom Waltz crafts one hell of a script. The exchange between these two big fiends is legitimately gripping and will keep you on your toes. It's tough to dance around what happens, so I'll try to play it safe and just say both of their mentalities are placed front and center and it's not long before the heated dialogue turns into a massive display of intense spectacle and all kinds of badassery. It's definitely one of the more memorable action scenes from this series. In fact, this chapter is so engaging that you'll likely feel a slight sense of disappointment when a plot device is used to signal the conflict is nearing its end.
IDW's TMNT series has been fortunate enough to include several talented artists, and, luckily for us, Cory Smith is a great fit for the franchise. His style is somewhat similar to Mateus Santolouco's, so it makes for an easy transition. This is a chapter that thrives on tense conversations and, instead of simply providing strong character work and calling it a day, Smith presents creative and oh-so-pleasing layouts and angles which pull you right into the exchange and breathe extra life into the meeting. It's not just two bad guys sitting down and chatting it out, it's an engaging experience and the visuals are every bit as exciting as the dialogue. The strong emphasis on clever angles and layouts is more than present when the action kicks in and it's a total blast.
Even though the artist offers a slightly different set of visuals, colorist Ronda Pattison is still there, providing consistently impressive work and offering a sense of familiarity with the visuals. Artwork should be able to tell you the story on its own and, for the most part, Smith and Pattison accomplish that. There's just so many angles in here that really sold these moments and, as always, Pattison impressed with various shades that never lacked or overshadowed out the artist's work.
It's a minor complaint, but the scene with Kitsune and Alopex felt out of place. I understand they want to keep these characters on our radar and build the hype for what's to come, but literally every other page is dedicated to the situation between General Krang and Shredder. With a conflict this engrossing, I would have loved to see it receive those two pages instead of a bit which took us to a totally different location and pair of characters.
Who would have thought that one of the strongest issues of TMNT has literally nothing to do with the heroes in a half shell? This chapter is all about the villains and it's without question one of the most gripping experiences I've had with this series. With visuals that bring you right into the scenes and a terrific script, TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES #37 is a seriously praiseworthy chapter in a consistently great series. If this issue doesn't get you interested in what IDW's doing with the franchise, I just don't know what will.