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Comic Review: TMNT Universe #12

by Dan Gehen

It’s ladies night in TMNT Universe, as a couple of badass ladies take center stage. As the cover indicates, Karai is the focus of this latest arc in an issue dominated by the artwork of Sophie Campbell.


(W) Erik Burnham and Sophie Campbell, (A) Sophie Campbell, (C) Brittanny Peer

I’ll be frank: I honestly forgot about Karai’s story in the current IDW-verse. It feels like it’s been forever since she’s been seen, and even though that’s an exaggeration she has not popped up since Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #51. Creators Erik Burnham and Sophie Campbell finally give us some answers on her whereabouts, and what she’s been up to during this time.

Unsurprisingly, the creators use her absence from the Big Apple to place her back in her home country of Japan. It is here that we find out she has been… largely inactive. As a result of her ninja sabbatical, she ends up in the crossfire of a Yakuza-related shootout and gets bested in hand-to-hand combat by someone who is clearly her lessor. It is an interesting decision because at first it causes readers to question the creative team’s handling of the character, only for the story to unfold naturally. Without the Foot Clan, which she had dedicated her entire life to serve, she finds herself without either a purpose or motivation. It is only when trouble finds her that she is reinvigorated with the desire for vengeance and respect.

For the brief interlude the issue takes away from Karai, there is a warming sequence in which Koya and Bludgeon are taught by Toshiro that just because they are physically disabled does not mean they are incapable of fighting. While they may be unconventional role models, this sequence can have an impact on those readers with limitations of their own. This sequence only takes up two pages, but it is certainly one of the book’s more memorable moments.

Campbell’s art is pretty much what you’d expect at this point. That is to say it is gorgeous, as is the coloring by Brittanny Peer. This is an action-filled issue, and Campbell provides a fitting, high-energy aesthetic. Every movement is fluid, and each blow is brutal. Peer compliments the fighting sequence’s raw energy with vibrant splashes of red blood, adding to their already vicious nature. Although there is an occasional consistency hiccup, their ability to work together in lockstep carries on through the story’s closing pages. TMNT Universe #12 is an all-around satisfying experience.


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