Angel and Alopex continue their adventure in the Toad Baron’s wild and wacky world that defines “party hard.” And in the backup, we find out what kind of dreams a baby dinosaur like Pepperoni has.
Comic Review: TMNT Universe #10
(W) Sophie Campbell & Bobby Curnow, (A) Pablo Tunica & Sophie Campbell
The world of the Toad Baron is the realization of every Andrew W.K. song. Full of song and dance, flowing drinks, and copious amounts of the finest foods, the Toad Baron’s never-ending party is a spectacle to behold. Furthermore, the party to end all parties presents an opportunity for the creative team of Campbell, Curnow, and Tunica to unwrap the psyche of this newest member of the Pantheon.
Once again, the story centers around the dynamic duo of Angel (a.k.a. Nobody) and Alopex. Seemingly trapped forever in Toad Baron’s glamorous gala, the two are forced to think outside the box. Being primarily supporting characters in the main TMNT title, Campbell is given a lot of room to develop these two, and she makes the most of the opportunity. Their escape plan is one that only these characters would come up with, speaking to their unconventional and irreverent nature. The reactions from the Toad Baron’s other guests is also executed in a believable manner – including their desire to have the party resume upon Angel and Alopex’s departure.
On the art side, Pablo Tunica does a commendable job in constructing the dizzying scenery of Toad Baron’s ball. The decor is gaudy and screams “old wealth,” even if certain things are not of our world. He also is able to convincingly render motion, as the action is very fluid and dynamic. However, his color palette makes this issue very ugly to look at. The pages look as though they have been put through a sepia-toned filter, with a touch of vomit for good measure. In addition, character faces suffer from inconsistent rendering. Angel, for example, will have a slender face on one page, and then in the next will look like a squirrel gathering nuts for the winter. It’s unfortunate that these flaws take away from the story’s overall enjoyment.
The book does finish strong with a great short story written and illustrated by Campbell. Centering on Raphael’s pet dinosaur, Pepperoni, the four-page tale showcases Campbell’s range as an artist. While the backgrounds are sparse (or nonexistent), the foreground focus on Pepperoni and her dreams are varied, but equally gorgeous. After spending 20-plus pages with inconsistent or ugly artwork, this short story is a welcome palate cleanser. Hopefully, more opportunities arise where Campbell can write and draw the TMNT, because she has proven herself to be quite adept over the years.