Review – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #78 (IDW Publishing)

Publisher: IDW Publishing
Story: Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, Tom Waltz
Script: Tom Waltz
Artwork: Damian Courceiro
Colours: Ronda Pattison
Release Date: 10th January 2018

An issue of an ongoing series which spends its first four pages recapping events that we already know happened from the preceding two chapters is always going to rub me the wrong way. And, unfortunately, that’s exactly what happens in the latest installment of IDW’s ongoing TMNT series, an issue that sees the “Invasion of the Triceratons” continue.  Well… sort of.

Before I start, it’s worth mentioning again that the basic premise of this story is a solid one, with the Triceratons mistakenly thinking Earth is theirs for the taking only for Agent Bishop and the EPF to  step in, escalating things into all-out war in rapid fashion with their usual trigger-happy approach.  I mean, it’s space dinosaurs invading New York.  What’s not to like?

With this in mind, it’s doubly unfortunate then that the entire arc to this point feels like a bit of a jumble, switching between different characters’ perspectives on a whim, resulting in a confusing, unfocused narrative – and that’s before we even get to the pointless repetition of things we’ve already been told.

Honestly, this is pretty much a filler issue in every conceivable way, and with the exception of one moderately interesting plot development involving Bishop that could probably be covered in a single page, there’s absolutely nothing of consequence here, and we leave the issue in almost exactly the same situation as we entered it.  The scenes with Splinter are pretty much par for the course by now, and the inclusion of Casey Jones is definitely a welcome one, but for the most part this feels like little more than a flimsy attempt to bulk out the page count.

On the plus side, Courceiro’s artwork remains solid, if still perhaps a little cartoony for a story of this style, but he does an impressive job with the fluidity of action sequences – particularly those including everyone’s favourite hockey mask-wearing badass.  The lack of backgrounds in a lot of the panels does give things an unnecessarily sterile feel, but regular series colourist Ronda Pattison does her best to add some much-needed depth and expression to the proceedings, using red hues effectively show the anger and rage of the Triceratons.

Ultimately however, for one of the most consistent ongoing titles of the past six or seven years, IDW’s TMNT series definitely feels like it’s treading water here.  The mixture of nuanced storytelling and big-time blockbuster action has been replaced by what feels like an uninspired attempt to flesh a simple misunderstanding out into a full-fledged arc, and while there are some decent moments along the way, I honestly can’t wait for this arc to end – a sentence I never thought I’d write about this particular series.

Rating: 2.5/5.

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ceejThe writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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3 Comments on Review – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #78 (IDW Publishing)

  1. i was so excited for this arc. now that it’s here it’s beginning to feel lackluster.
    far too much melodrama and exposition from what i’d expect from an Alien Invasion.

    this is one of my favorite comic series, and to see it stumble on such a significant arc is very disheartening. i mean it’s not awful, but it’s far from amazing.

    • Right there with you, my man! Been loving the series since issue #1, and while it’s definitely had its ups and downs, this latest arc feels like one of the biggest “downs” in quite some time.

      • i still love this series, been reading/collecting it since the beginning.
        but i’d be lying if i didn’t say i’ve been a bit disappointed with it as of late.
        the Ninja Turtles have been feeling like guest stars in their own comic series for a while now.
        it just feels like the writers are bringing in too many characters, and opening far too many subplots. i get that they want to bring new characters in to drive the plot.
        but it’s starting to get to the point where the Ninja Turtles are inconsequential to the story, and just along for the ride.

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