Last week, the highly anticipated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #100 hit shelves with a surprise teaser: the reveal that series co-creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird will be teaming up with Tom Waltz and Andy Kuhn for The Last Ronin. The series is set to arrive in the summer of 2020, according to the image, from a team of bona fide TMNT veterans.
Laird and Eastman are the two grandfathers of TMNT. Back in 1984, they were the duo that self-published the series’ first issue in black and white, under the guise of Mirage Studios. Although both Eastman and Laird have both stuck with the series in their own ways, the two haven’t worked together on a Turtles comic since 1993. Eastman himself sold his share of the franchise in 2000 to Laird, who would subsequently sell the entire franchise to Viacom in 2009 (hence the Nickelodeon cartoon, which Laird had a minor part in).
With The Last Ronin, that 25 year separation ends. The Beat reached out to IDW for comment – but the publisher is hoping to let that teaser (and the hype) speak for itself for the time being. That said, Eastman, Waltz and series editor Bobby Curnow did mention the series briefly in the following interview. They discuss heading back to Mirage’s classic oversize formatting and hoping to create something evergreen, in the vein of The Dark Knight Returns with The Last Ronin.
And, we can always speculate.
Spoilers for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #100 below!
If you’re up to date on the series, landmark issue, you know the tragic fate of Master Splinter and you also know this last issue heavily featured a samurai B-plot that would tie into the story’s climax. Presuming that these samurai are related to The Last Ronin and noting that Splinter appeared in these images post-mortem, would it be safe to assume our Rat Dad will be taking the spotlight? Or is the TMNT crew really sending him off into the sunset?
Time will tell! Hold onto your pizza boxes; we’ve still got half a year between us and this series. In the meantime, we’ve got Sophie Campbell’s upcoming run to look forward to, along with a Jennika mini-series.