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COMIC REVIEW: TMNT Universe #4

With tensions running high and their backs against the wall, the Turtles prepare for their last stand against Agent Bishop. Can they trust Baxter Stockman and Zodi to have their backs?

COMIC REVIEW: TMNT UNIVERSE #4

(W) Paul Allor, Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz (A) Damian Couciero, Bill Sienkiewicz, (C) Ronda Pattison

When there is more than one comic series following the adventures of a hero or team, there is a tendency among readers to pick out the “A” series from the “B” series, with the former overriding the latter. That is not the case here. TMNT Universe continues to deliver quality writing and art for those that may be scared off by a 60+ issue comic series. Whereas Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles currently feels more like a Shakespearean drama, TMNT Universe unabashedly dives headfirst into the wild and weird elements which have permeated throughout the franchise.

The IDW-verse has given way to many new and enjoyable additions, such as Old Hob and Alopex. This issue solidifies the latest mutation creation, Zodi, as a character that readers will want more of in the future. Her sharp tongue adds to the already entertaining banter between the characters, as do her actions when “thinking on the fly” is required. Furthermore, the issue’s closing pages indicate that there is more to her character than what is presented in this story arc, which they will hopefully unpack in the future. It also highlights the unwavering hope and optimism of Michelangelo, who sees her as not just another mutant, but as a potential friend too.

This book’s big strength is its character work. Each character, be it Donnie or Baxter Stockman or April or Bishop, are afforded the opportunity to stand out from the crowd under Allor’s pen. For a book titled “TMNT Universe,” it does a commendable job building the world that these characters inhabit. We are now aware of the genuine threats that exist aside from General Krang and the Shredder. There are more mutants out there aside from the Turtles and the Mutanimals. Unfortunately, while the book absolutely shines from a character standpoint, it drops the ball when it comes to actually progressing the plot. Taking a step back to examine the arc as a whole, the Turtles attempt to stop a break-in at TCRI and fight to get out of the same building. That’s it.

What does not disappoint is the art from Damian Couceiro and Ronda Pattison, who have truly been this title’s shining stars from the beginning. Their artwork continues to be the driving force behind this book’s quality, with Couceiro’s visuals providing visceral thrills and tension (with a side of slapstick comedy) as the Turtles and Zodi fight for survival. That same praise can be extended to Bill Sienkiewicz’s efforts on the back-up story. The “Inside Out” story continues to be a fascinatingly weird experience thanks to Sienkiewicz’s stunning visuals.

TMNT Universe #4 might be the best-looking Ninja Turtles comic to be released this month. The efforts from Couciero, Pattison, and Sienkiewicz alone make this worth checking out. And while the narrative itself may not reach the highs of the other TMNT title, Paul Allor’s writing is satisfying nonetheless.

Editor's Rating

7.5
The first arc of TMNT UNIVERSE comes to a satisfying, if unspectacular conclusion.
Leftover Pizza 7.5

The Author

Dan Gehen

Dan Gehen

Dan Gehen is a lot of things, but one thing he's been for his entire life is a TMNT fan (this has been verified by watching embarrassing home videos of his formative years). Though the classic 1980s cartoon caused his 3-year-old version to drive his parents insane via the constant repetition of "cowabunga dude", his true appreciation for the heroes in a half-shell came from the 1990 feature film as well as the comics by Mirage Studios. Today, he continues to enjoy comics from a variety of publishers, including the current TMNT series from IDW Publishing.

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