Review – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #71 (IDW Publishing)

Publisher: IDW Publishing
Story: Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, Tom Waltz
Script: Tom Waltz
Artwork: Dave Wachter
Colours: Ronda Pattison
Release Date: 28th June, 2017

Following on the heels of the red-hot conclusion to the ‘Desperate Measures’ arc a fortnight ago, IDW’s ongoing TMNT series tries to keep its momentum going here as we take a closer look at the mysterious group of immortals known as the Pantheon during one of their once-a-century “family gatherings”.

We get to see the various members of the group, each resplendent in their own fantastical eccentricity – from the rodent-chomping Rat King to the hulking, panel-crowding Manmoth – arriving for what is essentially a dinner party, and bickering back and forth the way families tend to do during long overdue reunions.

Unfortunately, the main problem I have with this issue is that it feels so utterly disconnected from the existing continuity – a continuity that the team has worked so tirelessly to develop and maintain – that it’s difficult to see what the actual point of it is, other than to showcase the impressive skills of returning artist Dave Wachter.

Storyline aside, Wachter attacks the artistic smorgasbord with gusto, providing us with dazzling visual recreations of the different Pantheon members, and using his typically fine-lined and detailed style to great effect as he marries up the outlandishly cartoony (in the case of the robe and hat-wearing Toad Baron) with the genuinely horrific (in the case of the cloaked and tentacled Gothano).

Sure, it’s nice to find out a little more about the Pantheon, and both Wachter and regular series colourist Ronda Pattison are clearly having a blast with the visual side of the comic, but fact remains that there’s really not a lot of substance to be had in this twenty-odd pages of drawn-out introductions, needless exposition and superfluous bickering.

I mean, it’s not a bad issue per se, but it does feel a bit like I’ve accidentally picked up an entirely different comic, save for the final page. I’m all for trying something different to flesh supporting characters out, and the overall experience isn’t exactly an unpleasant one, but as an issue of IDW’s ongoing TMNT series, this falls down significantly and is far from essential reading as a result.

Rating: 3.5/5.

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ceejThe writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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