Review – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #75 (IDW Publishing)

Publisher: IDW Publishing
Story: Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, Tom Waltz
Script: Tom Waltz
Artwork: Cory Smith, Mateus Santolouco, Chris Johnson, Damian Couceiro
Colours: Ronda Pattison
Release Date: 25th October, 2017

The double-sized conclusion to TMNT’s ‘The Trial of Krang’ story arc is set for the release this week, providing a mostly satisfying conclusion to what has been an ambitious departure from the usual street-level exploits of our four brothers.  There have been overtones of Star Wars and Guardians of the Galaxy throughout this storyline so far, an event which has also included an enjoyable five-part miniseries featuring the Turtles hopping from planet to planet trying to round up witnesses to testify against the Utrom despot.

This milestone issue is effectively split into two parts, the first dealing with the Malignoid invasion and the second providing us with the tense conclusion to Krang’s trial.  If you’re a fan of wild, chaotic space battles, the first half of the chapter is most definitely for you.  We have Malignoids, Triceratons, Neutrinos and Ace Duck all zipping around blowing each other to pieces, giving the multi-headed artistic team ample opportunity to flex their creative muscle.

It’s a fun enough obstacle to the progress of the trial, but does feel like it resolves itself a little too conveniently, even if the resolution itself does manage to throw an unexpected wrinkle into the way the trial eventually unfolds.  And unfold it does, with a new judge taking over proceedings and some impassioned statements from the remainder of the witnesses – and even Krang himself.  It all doesn’t quite hit home however, with the excessively dialogue-heavy conclusion slowing the pace to a crawl and the Turtles themselves feeling like little more than audience members as these pivotal events unfold.

The artwork in the second half is also a little flat in places, with some uninspired layouts and all sorts of complications being caused the people giving the statements lacking any real facial expressions as a result of their masks, mutations and, well, one of them being a robot.  The verdict is suitably unexpected, however, as is the utterly shocking moments which follow its delivery, and the issue ends on a high note, scattering itself into several sub-plots in classic Eastman, Curnow and Waltz fashion.

Ultimately then, while it’s fun to take a peek at a larger universe filled with aliens, talking trees, humanoid triceratops warriors and genocidal pink blobs, it does feel like IDW’s TMNT ongoing series is a book that flows a lot more smoothly when it keeps its feet on the ground.  A fun diversion then, and one that leaves a lot of interesting unanswered questions, but I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the Turtles getting back on terra firma in the weeks and months to come.

Rating: 3.5/5.

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