If you're a Turtles fan and not reading the current IDW series, then shame on you. It's terrific and it's your duty as a TMNT fan to give it a shot. There's a chance for you to rectify your mistake, though! A brand new story called 'City Fall' is kicking off (written by Tom Waltz and Kevin Eastman) and it's looking like it'll be quite awesome. Shredder's emerging from the shadows to take over the Big Apple's underground and -- I kid you not -- he'll apparently have Leonardo at his side. How will this impact the Turtles? What will Karai do in response? I had the chance to ask writer Tom Waltz these questions and more.
Comic Vine: Sadly, not everyone has read TMNT: Secret History of the Foot Clan or even the primary series. So, for all of the people out there who want to jump onboard for 'City Fall' but are afraid of feeling left in the dark, what are the basics they need to know? Additionally, would you say #22 can serve as a jumping on point?
Tom Waltz: Well, although I always recommend reading prior arcs in the ongoing series as well all the ancillary mini- and micro-series for the best understanding of what we are doing with TMNT, I can confidently say that #22 does serve as an effective jumping on point for fans new to IDW’s TMNT. We do our best to set the stage early on in CITY FALL as it pertains to prior chronological events for both the turtles and the Foot Clan, and new readers will have no problem figuring out who’s who and what’s what as CITY FALL progresses.
CV: What does the return of Kitsune mean for Shredder? Also, how is this take on Shredder different than what we've seen before?
TW: The easy answer is that Kitsune is yet another potent weapon in the war Shredder plans to wage against NYC and, eventually, the world. He considers her a vital ally and intimate confidant (as readers of TMNT: Secret History of the Foot Clan are aware) and her inclusion in the ongoing series adds a new layer of formidability to the already dangerous Shredder – though, unbeknownst to Shredder, Kitsune may have more up her sleeves, so to speak, than even he realizes, and the threat she poses may not only be to his enemies. Speaking of Shredder, I like to think our Shredder is a potent combination of the Shredders who have appeared before in TMNT canon – in comics, cartoons and movies. Up until now, he’s been like a venomous snake in waiting, making his sinister plans and patiently biding his time as he’s waited for the most effective moment to strike. That moment has arrived and his enemies (and readers) will learn that he is not to be underestimated – and that what may have seemed like pitiful failures on his part in the past were all part of a greater plan he’s been concocting.
CV: Shredder wanting Leo -- not Karai -- directly by his side is a fascinating twist. What made you want to go down this road, and what does this mean for Karai? Naturally, I have a lot of difficulty believing Leo would ever betray his father.
TW: As mentioned above, Shredder takes a long-view when it comes to planning and strategy, and that extends both backward and forward. Once he realized Splinter (Hamato Yoshi) and the turtles were the reincarnated spirits of his ancient enemies (see TMNT #12), he was immediately aware that Leonardo represented the return of Yoshi’s eldest son – a boy Shredder always believed to have all the makings of an adept and powerful warrior. Karai has certainly earned the right to stand at Shredder’s side, but although Shredder’s planning skills are sophisticated, his personal sensibilities tend to be stuck in Feudal Japan, prompting him to take a misogynistic stance in regards to Clan hierarchy, etc. Karai, however, is a modern woman and deadly warrior, so don’t think she’ll give up her rightful place at the head of the Foot Clan table without a fight – even if that means fighting her resurrected ancestor to make her point. As for Leo – we all know he’d never betray Splinter willingly… Shredder knows this, too. But, he’s got a plan for that, don’t you worry. That’s all I’m saying.
CV: If there's one thing many Turtles fans love, it's a solid Leonardo and Raphael fight (personally, I'm a Donny guy). With Leo switching sides (or at least making us believe so), is it fair to say this will happen?
TW: CITY FALL will feature much conflict between a wide variety of players/characters. The tension will be heated on all fronts, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Raph and Leo bump heads before this thing is over. And they won’t be the only ones. To say any more would be to spoil the fun. Sorry.
TW: Casey and April are always ready to help the TMNT in any way they can and that won’t be any different in CITY FALL. Thing is, it might not always be easy for them to help because… well, read CITY FALL to find out more. As for the TMNT, they are going to have to fill a huge leadership vacuum left behind when Leo disappears and each turtle will have their own idea about how that should be accomplished… and by whom. The answer (and how it comes about) may surprise readers!
TW: CITY FALL is firmly set in NYC, though, rest assured, we haven’t forgotten about Burnow Island and will be returning there ASAP. Just because we’re not seeing Krang, Stockman and Fugitoid, don’t think they aren't up to their own shenanigans!
CV: We saw a human version of Bebop and Rocksteady in an older Micro-Series issue and after a brawl, they definitely felt inadequate compared to a mutant. Was this just fan service or will we eventually see their return as mutants?
TW: Bebop and Rocksteady? We've seen them before? Really? I must’ve missed that. Sorry… I’m not able to comment. Next question… (heh)
TW: What? You think Shredder can throw an all-out war in NYC and Old Hob would miss it? C’mon!
CV: Can we expect to see any other classic characters from the franchise make a return in the main series?
CV: Please describe 'City Fall' in five words or less.
TW: A kick-ass game changer!
CV: Thanks, Tom!
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES #21 is out now. #22 hits stands May 29th.