Review – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #73 (IDW Publishing)

Publisher: IDW Publishing
Story: Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, Tom Waltz
Script: Tom Waltz
Artwork: Cory Smith
Colours: Ronda Pattison
Release Date: 2nd August, 2017

After a brief, slightly unfocused diversion over the last couple of issues, IDW’s ongoing TMNT series gets back to the meat of things here with ‘The Trial of Krang’, a brand new arc which sees everyone’s favourite Utrom facing a war crimes tribunal in Dimension X as a result of his despotic actions around thirty or so issues ago.

“Attempted Genocide on two separate dimensions” is a fairly tough rap to beat, but Krang has a typically nefarious plan to avoid him having to pay for his actions.  I won’t delve into that plan too deeply here for fear of spoiling its impact, but suffice to say that it involves the introduction of a fantastic new villain in Hakk-R, an assassin and bounty hunter tasked with bringing the legal proceedings to a screeching halt.

Cory Smith is back on artwork for this arc, and his looser, slightly more cartoony style works wonders alongside the large-scale cosmic shenanigans.  He’s clearly also having a blast with the wonderful array of character he gets to play with here, from the Neutrino inhabitants themselves to the unexpected return of a familiar adversary (or should that be ally?).

The style and tone of this arc feels like it has been ripped straight from the classic ‘90s cartoon, and both Smith and colourist Ronda Pattison lean into that here, packing their pages with bold colours and dramatic visual sweeps.  Extra credit should also be given to the pair for the design of Hakk-R himself, whose menacing appearance and unconventional physiology make him a truly formidable – not to mention visually dynamic – foe.

It does feel like a bit of an abrupt shift in tone, providing a sharp departure from the street-level ninja and thug-based storylines we’ve enjoyed over the past year or so, but it doesn’t take long for us to get into the cosmic groove as our brothers find themselves thrown headlong into this intergalactic courtroom drama.  It also sets up the new “Dimension X” limited series beautifully,  a series which sees the Turtles journeying around the galaxy trying to recruit witnesses for Kang’s upcoming trial before Hakk-R can get his tentacles on them.

“The Trial of Krang” provides yet another showcase for the genius of Eastman, Waltz and Curnow’s ongoing series – now currently the longest-running TMNT book of all time – where storyline seeds can be planted years previous before being gradually nurtured and brought to bloom, transforming into full-fledged arcs like this one.  And with our four brothers set to embark on a dramatic, in-your-face bout of cosmic witness wrangling in the weeks and months to come, this latest arc has the potential to be one of the most enjoyable TMNT storylines for quite some time. Here’s to the next 73 issues

Rating: 4.5/5.

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