Volume 5 collects the final collaboration between Eastman and Liard (so far) on their signature creation The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Issues 56-63, the second half of the “City at War” storyline, which deals with the legacy of The Foot Clan and The Shredder, and seems to be a sort of last hurrah for the group.
The Turtles agree to hunt down the last of the Shredder’s elite guard who are loudly destroying all of the other factions of the Foot in New York City. The Japanese representative of the Foot recruits the Turtles, telling them that the Foot would forgive all past grievances and not hunt them were they to succeed in killing these men. Thus allowing the Turtles to forge their own destiny. Simultaneously Casey Jones, April O’Neil, and Splinter are traveling through their own journeys. Casey now has to deal with being a single mother. April is looking for some kind of direction without much success. While Splinter is on a dangerous quest for spiritual fulfillment. None of them go where they expect to.
As before, the art is crisp and clean, making for easy and fast reading. The violence is off the charts here. One thing that the creators always stressed is that the ninja turtles are not superheroes. Their mission isn’t to “fight crime”, most of the time they’re just defending themselves. At that mentality is certainly shown here- probably why the comic is still so popular. No moralizing on killing, no bullshit. They have their goal, they get in a kill the enemy. Just like most people would do.
For more readings, try books by Rex Hurst.