When I first read this title, my brow arched in curiosity.  I have seen Turtles go a lot of places and do a lot of things, but this was something I never expected to see.  Was The Shredder truly dead or was this a dimensional portal that he stumbled across?  If this is Hell, does that mean this is the end of The Shredder, or will he find a way out of Hell?

What Lies Within

A couple of things before we get to that though.  First off, I hope you are not a collector that likes to get all the variant covers for an article or series.  If you do you are about to spend a month’s worth of comic book money on this one title.  There are several!  Some are magnificent covers.  A couple are not very good.  Make sure you get the one you want.

Secondly, the artwork in this issue I found amazingly well done.  Mateus Santolouco gives great detail when he closes in on his subjects, but when he pulls back, he gives detail where needed and provides rich environments.  The bouncing in and out of color has a big impact on the feel of the story as you move along and in places adds to its depth.

As for the story, this is an issue you will either love or hate depending on what you like to read.  If you are looking for action and fast pace, this may not be for you.  The story is very internal in a lot of ways.  Shredder is dead, but he has to choose what from life will now control him in death.  Will he fall prey to the same demons as he did in life? Or will he find his way back to his roots he shared with his brother Himato Yoshi?

The Fight Within

I thought this was a brilliant issue depicting his struggle.  He very much wants to get back to the forest of peace with his brother Yoshi (Splinter), but his demons are so strong, Himato has a hard time getting away from them.  Takeshi Tatsuo, founder of the foot clan, beats Oroku down and sends him to a watery grave, but before he can drown the spirit form of Yoshi saves Okoku and takes him to their childhood forest. 

Yoshi then shows the choices before Oroku.  He must choose where he goes and who he is.  When he chooses, Splinter takes off after him, only to be transformed into pure rat form.  Splinter rides Oroku’s shoulder.  As Oroku heads deeper into hell, he is attacked by the dead, the ones he put there.  Splinter helps as best a small rat can.

They fight their way through the mob until they are greeted by a bunch of smart mouths, four smart mouths, four smart-mouthed brothers…with glowing red eyes.

This series looks to be a fabulous trip inside the mind of The Shredder.   This promises to be a soul-searching journey to find out whether Shredder can overcome his past demons are renew himself, or if he will always be subject to the Dragon.  I highly recommend checking this series out.