The fourth trade of IDW's TMNT series.
SOME SPOILERS AHEAD
We get a hint at how Shredder came back as he dismisses his second-in-command and decides to find another. A future twist which was sadly spoiled for me although I'm still excited about reaching that arc. Shredder talks about the past and it further confirms the turtles (or at least one version of them) age rankings. Their the same ones I saw before elsewhere and always assumed were canon. Oldest to youngest: Leo, Donnie, Raph and Mikey. Anyway Shredder reveals that he's always known Leo was highly skilled and a natural leader.
I'm impressed with how Caseys' story not only strengths his bond with April but how it connects Splinter with Raph. The level of understanding between father and son has been shown in the past but it's never been shown in this light. It makes perfect sense and imparts wisdom through past experience. This also makes is more apparent that Casey and April are really our leads family.
I already knew Krang's "secret" but now that I think of it I'm not sure if he used his mech suit for anything other than carrying him around before this series. I figured out what he wanted Baxter Stockman for and I still felt gleeful at seeing the project in question. Moments like this show the amount of love the creators have and the many ways they give these nostalgic bits weight when their revealed.
I'm still not enjoying the way Donnie is being written and that especially grates on my nerves because he's usually my favorite. Some versions have him being overly dorky, more inclined to settle things peacefully or with his mind and his humor is more apparent. Here he's kind of pompous about his high intelligence reminding his brothers that Leo is the second smartest. He also seems oddly in favor of Splinter's decision that Shredder needs to die and thinks they need to kill Slash? What?! I'd expect that from Raph and maybe Leo once he realizes there's no other option.
This just reads like their trying to hard too make Donnie only work on logic alone and not his heart. You'd think he'd sympathize with Slash since he's a turtle that was mutanted like them but no. If Raph made the case and Donnie reluctantly agreed if they couldn't take him down by other means that would work too. This just really feels wrong for the character. Did they think they needed to split up the turtles onto kill or be killed sides? There's some nice character work for Leo and Mikey I just wish I could say the same about Donnie.
I'm glad more was done with Woody and I like Hob making another appearance. There was some good humor and fun moments in this one. I particularly liked the little bit where Casey reacted to Splinter watching his "stories." Leo had a sweet moment where he decided to give up on being mature to play a game just to cheer Mikey up. I have one more trade on hand before I need to track down the other ones online. I think I'll save it for another week.