With TMNT #30, Tom Waltz jumps from character to character, further helping us experience and understand how they're feeling post-City Fall. On paper, this could sound like a totally dragged out concept since we already got a glimpse of that in the last issue, but thanks to some strong writing, it's a legitimately moving experience.
Without blatantly giving anything away, each character has their own unique and effective scene. We know how each is handling the situation, but watching it all unfold is honestly engrossing, especially when it connects to another character. They're able to juggle the cast very well and, despite a serious lack of action, there's never a dull moment. Having this all motivated by Mikey's caring letter really helped sell each scene, too. Right as things begin to look up, Waltz and the IDW crew leave us on a note that'll make you want to get your hands on the next issue right away. It's also interesting to see Waltz making a connection to UTROM EMPIRE, but it's unclear just how much interaction we'll see between the two books.
Ross Campbell's artwork matches the tone perfectly. There's such a strong look of innocence and compassion with every character and it really brings the story's atmosphere to life. This issue is likely to have you caring about these characters more than ever before -- you almost want to jump in and give them a hug. The visuals aren't all sympathy and sadness, either. The dynamic changes drastically during one of Leo's scenes and truly impresses. There's another visual change with Splinter that's praiseworthy and impactful. It's also worth nothing he does a fine job making Alopex and Raph look particularly fierce at times as well.
As much as I love this issue, a lot of it is exposition and it's definitely noticeable. It almost feels like it's a jumping on point despite being the second chapter of the story. It makes total sense in the context of Mikey's letter, but recapping everything we just experienced -- even in his lovable voice -- feels a bit redundant.
It's a relatively minor gripe, but I'm not the biggest fan of how the Turtles' ankles are illustrated. Compared to the previous story, they almost seem swollen.
This issue is guaranteed to put your empathy into overdrive and is one of the best character-driven issues yet. Each individual gets a more than fair amount of focus and they all have incredibly humanizing voices. Throw in Campbell's powerful imagery and you've got one heck of an effective issue. This was a great insight into each character and beyond recommend to any and all TMNT fans. Even if you missed out on City Fall, there's more than enough exposition here to fill you in (but seriously, get around to City Fall at some point). Now it's time to see how Waltz plans to switch things up in the next issue...