Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Macro-Series: Leonardo (#3) – Sophie Campbell

4 out of 5

As chief architect of the current IDW TMNT world, Sophie Campbell has grown very comfortable with our main foursome. They speak more like the young “adults” they’ve grown to be; they’re not as quick-fire to misunderstandings and scrappings; and they’re allowed to express they’re particular traits – y’know, Mikey as the goofball and etc. – without having to resort to eye-rolling excesses. While Campbell, as a creator, may be prone to her own indulgences, she has brought an appreciated maturity to some aspects of the strip that a more soap-opera type writer like Tom Waltz often did not. And all of that extends well to her one-person act on the Leonardo macro-series, in which the boys are gathered at Northampton, trying their best to relax amidst recent family drama, only to find themselves somewhat at odds as to how to do that. Leonardo goes off into the woods to figure that out for himself.

…Which, sure, results in him going toe-to-toe with Koya, so it’s not like we’re bereft of mutant-vs.-mutant square-offs, but Campbell employs it with narrative purpose, each character using the fight to work through their own business, and thus calls it off when it’s logical to do so. Along the way, it’s excitingly and cleanly choreographed, and Campbell is mindful not only of a single page’s structure, but also how each page reflects the ones next to it. Along with Brittany Peer’s careful, flourished colors, it’s a very emotive issue, but wields those emotions at appropriate peaks and valleys, balancing things out so that we’re never too navel-gazey or without some action or comedy to enliven things.

The extra pages of the macro seem to necessitate this stretching on a bit too long, unfortunately, as after the Koya battle, Kirai steps in, and we sort of cycle through similar conversations and beats again, but it pays off with some solid final pages that summarize lessons learned – it’s less cheesy than it sounds – and appropriately uses the one-shot as a springboard for events in the ongoing.