Review – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Armageddon Game #3 (IDW Publishing)

Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: Tom Waltz
Artwork: Vincenzo Federici (pencils), Alex Sanchez (inks)
Colours: Matt Herms
Lettering: Jake M. Wood
Release Date: 7th December 2022

IDW’s sprawling ‘Armageddon Game’ TMNT event continues this week with two separate issues, and things are most definitely heating up in the main miniseries.  To bring you up to speed, Pantheon member Rat King has enlisted the help of Baxter Stockman, General Krang (currently inhabiting the somewhat willful body of Leatherhead), and Madame Null as pawns in his deadly “game”, prompting the Splinter Clan to do some recruiting of their own – including the former Shredder himself, Oroku Saki – in order to fend off the coming apocalypse.

It’s a fun, sprawling concept that touches every last corner of the TMNT universe, both on planet Earth and beyond, but as with most of these large-scale events, it runs the risk of becoming too convoluted and ending up watered down by its own ambition.  Thankfully, TMNT maestro Tom Waltz is at the helm of this six-part Armageddon Game mini, providing a much-needed backbone to the events of the ongoing series and the “Alliance” spin-off.

There’s a lot of different plates being spun here as the narrative zips around our splintered (no pun intended) group of heroes as they each try to get a handle on a different facet of Rat King’s “game”. For me, the most intriguing thread is Raphael trying to enlist the help of Hob, a situation which is made even more tense by their somewhat complicated (to say the least) past which led to the formation of Mutant Town. Madame Null’s TMNT “imposters” are also an interesting addition to the proceedings as they continue their localized terrorism with the intent of fueling anti-mutant sentiment while also boosting Stockman’s designs on the White House.

It’s definitely a personal preference thing, but I’m really not a fan of the Dimension X stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a bit of space swashbuckling as much as the next guy, but I always find it a little jarring compared to the familiar, well-established ‘street level’ vibes of the vast majority of TMNT comics.  As a result, the whole ‘Nova Posse’ subplot really isn’t landing for me with all its intergalactic alien smuggling and colourful-but-instantly-forgettable characters.

On the visual side of things, Vincenzo Federici and Alex Sanchez continue to do a solid job alongside Matt Herms to bring these diverse characters and locales to the page.  There are some wonderfully dynamic sequences here, the aforementioned imposter terrorism in particular, and while Sanchez’s inks are perhaps a little heavy in places for my tastes, there’s an impressive fluidity to the proceedings from the entire art team that keeps everything moving coherently in spite of the constant jumping from scene to scene.

Honestly, it’s always a tricky thing reviewing a single chapter of a sprawling event like this, as each issue really only gives you a snapshot of such a rapid-fire succession of events. And, as with so many of these events in the past, there’s certainly a little ‘hit and miss’ at play here in terms of the different storyline threads. Thankfully however, with so many ideas being thrown at the wall and such an extensive cast of characters, there’s guaranteed to be something here to satisfy any TMNT fan’s tastes.

Rating: 4/5.


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