Mateus Santolouco and Erik Burnham's four-issue mini-series sadly comes to an end, but it leaves us with yet another issue any Turtles fan will adore. Not only has this run successfully added a whole new layer to the Hamato / Oroku rivalry, but it has done a brilliant job adding new twists to a classic story we've come to know so well.
Shredder may look and sound the same as the Shredder we've seen a thousand times before (okay, not as campy as the '87 cartoon), but his origin story gets a total rehash and this final issue adds the most interesting layers. It's an excellent way to wrap up this awesome series and organically connects into the primary title.
Co-writers Santolouco and Burnham did a great job with the script, too. The interactions between the brothers are refreshingly sharp. What's particularly hilarious is Mikey's analogy for their complex scenario ("New player! New Game!") and Donny's reaction is every bit as good. It's clear these writers have a strong passion and understanding of the characters and the result is absolutely in the pages.
The coloring by Joao "Azeitona" Vieira helps make the pages particularly pleasing to the eyes. The coloring is distinct and fitting for each tone the book offers. There's a volley of downright stunning images in the final act and those are hugely complimented by the vivid use of colors.
Oh, and there just happens to be one of the coolest Shredder vs. Splinter panels ever (followed with a short fight, of course) in this issue. That alone should warrant a must buy for any long-time fan of the Turtles, no?
Overall, I'm a big fan of Santolouco's art, but the Turtles' heads might be too exaggerated and therefore jarring for some. It's definitely a unique take on their anatomy. Additionally, there's a scene where April slugs the professor (which is of course joyous), but his reaction to the hit seems blown out of proportion. If the scene ended on that note I would have honestly thought the guy's neck was snapped from the strike.
Loaded with fast action, hysterical interactions and a fantastic conclusion, this mini-series is a must read for any fan of the franchise. With 'City Fall,' just around the corner in the main title, this run does nothing but help build the hype for more of Shredder and I'm especially excited to see how things will go from here now knowing the huge changes to his origin. Despite owning the issues, this is without question a series I'll purchase again when a trade (or even a hardcore) hits because it's just that good.