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Review Brew: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #76

  1. Published By: IDW Publishing
    Written By: Tom Waltz
    Illustrated By: Damian Courceiro and Ronda Pattison
    List Price: $3.99

One of the reasons why Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is such an enduring pop culture icon is because it is simply incapable of taking itself too seriously. It’s in the name! TMNT gives us outrageous scenarios with high stakes to invest in, without losing any of the fun or the magic of it being a comic book yarn. Fresh from their harrowing adventures in Dimension X, our boys make their way back to their sublevel living quarters all ready for weeks of relaxation, but of course- it’s not to be had. A mighty tribe of mutant dinosaurs, called “Triceratons,” have invaded the planet and their mere presence has begun to trigger all manner of chaos.

So great right?
It could ONLY exist in a comic book!

I love it. The writing is at once informative and engaging, never pushing beyond the confines of the story itself; this is a good thing, because there are few experiences less enjoyable than a story whose dialogue has left it behind. Each of the turtles has a subtly distinct personality that plays through their speech bubbles, and when the lens shifts over to the Triceratons, we find them remarkably easy to connect with for the same reason. We find out that these horrific beasts are not, in fact, monsters, but genuinely sentient creatures with a peaceable will towards humans.

Their authentically humble disposition, despite their warlike demeanor, immediately calls into question why humans always consider the “other” beastly without any proof. It’s like some sick instinct for manufactured self preservation, predicated upon deception, thinly veiled hatred, and murder. The Triceratons are the extraterrestrials with the horns, but their exchange with the American government in New York unearths a genuine question-

Who are the real beasts here?

The artwork hearkens to the better stylistic renderings of the mutant brothers over the years (and there have been many). They’re muscular, not too bulky, but ALSO not too thin! The NYC detail was fitting, but at the same time I noticed there were no wasted scenes of rampant city scenery which I believe is because we already know what New York looks like. Assuming the intelligence of the reader always pays marvelous dividends. One really unique scene that I’m stoked to return to in future issues is the depiction of a bio-techno mutant turtle controlled by what appeared to be some variant of virtual reality goggles. Making something like that work in the frame-by-frame imagery of comics is just talent showing off and I loved every nuanced pixel of it.

Really fun and immersing read.

4.5 Splinters out of 5

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