*This review contains spoilers for TMNT #22*
'City Fall's' premise has been on my mind for quite some time now. IDW has been promoting how Leonardo will be standing by Shredder's side in this event. Since learning that, I'm sure I haven't been the only one wondering how and why that happens. Could it be Leo has been brainwashed? Is Shredder blackmailing him? Or is the blue masked Turtle possibly faking the allegiance for the time being? This issue finally answers that key question, and while I refuse to spoil it, I will say they've handled it quite well and the result is thoroughly entertaining and packed with potential. Additionally, I love how the talent juggled this plot point with Casey's development -- it's creatively presented with side by side panels and corresponding dialogue.
Mateus Santolouco once again provides absolutely stellar artwork. The man does a tremendous job giving each character their own particular attributes and simply nails it with all of them. From Mikey's lovable look to Raph's rage filled expressions, they all bring a blatantly distinct look to the table. No longer are different colored masks or different weapons required to easily tell who's who.
Yes, Santolouco's work is a real treat, but what's really impressive and certainly unexpected is seeing the return of various artists from the series. Each one lends their talents for a page or two in a sequence of super trippy and engrossing events. The constant switch between artists doesn't come off at jarring at all. Instead, each adds their own unique style to the standout moments and it successfully keeps the reading experience legitimately exciting. Some of the moments are seriously cool, especially if you've been following along since the first issue.
I understand it needs to be done for some characters, but this issue was a little heavy on exposition at times. Also, Casey's fate is still up in the air and I feel like this is the third or fourth time I've heard something along the lines of "He's lost a lot of blood. We're not sure if he'll make it!" On one hand, I'm happy to see there's some degree of tension regarding the character... but on the other hand, it feels like we're being hit by the same remarks a bit too frequently.
Tom Waltz, Kevin Eastman and everyone else clearly know what they're doing when it comes to TMNT's first big event and they're doing it masterfully. The first chapter lured us in with gorgeous visuals, fun action and a jaw-dropping cliffhanger. Now, the second chapter slows things down a tad to focus on moving all of the key pieces into place and once again delivers some great visuals as multiple TMNT artists provide some awesome pages. The momentum is quickly building up and by the time I finished the final page, I was insanely anxious to read the next issue. Despite being only two chapters in, I can say with full confidence that 'City Fall' is a must read for any TMNT fan.