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Comic Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #73

by Dan Gehen

The Turtles are off to Dimension X, where General Krang is awaiting trial for his crimes against the Neutrinos. But Krang has plans of his own as he begins to pull some strings from behind bars.

Comic Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #73

(W) Tom Waltz, Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow (A) Cory Smith (C) Ronda Pattison

Given the current state of the comics industry, with constant re-numbering and series relaunches, it is rare that you see comics with high issue numbers. With the exceptions of Image and DC Comics, how many current series have eclipsed 20 issues? Not many. So when IDW Publishing launched its Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series back in 2011, most were skeptical that it would even reach 50 issues, let alone become the longest-running Turtles series of all time. And yet, here we are at Issue #73, eclipsing the 72 issues of TMNT Adventures published by Archie Comics. While this comic is a landmark issue for both the franchise and its dedicated fans, at the end of the day, one question lingers: is it any good? In short… yes, it is good.

Once again, this series continues to deliver gorgeous artwork. This time, it’s Cory Smith at the helm, and he knocks this issue out of the park. Smith has quietly developed his craft to become arguably the best artist to work on this title. His designs for the Turtles and their supporting cast embrace a classic, clean aesthetic while simultaneously embracing the weirdness that a story within Dimension X entails. The most notable character design is that of the assassin Hakk-R, who’s unique take on the classic shapeshifting ability is visually striking.

With each review, I’ve made it a point to highlight the work of colorist Ronda Pattison, and this is no exception. With this story taking place literally in another dimension, Pattison is afforded the opportunity to truly stretch her creative muscles, using a wider color palette than the streets of New York City could allow for. Even with scenes that take place in a stone prison or a sterile, metallic command center, Pattison manages to infuse them with splashes of primary color that makes the issue pop in the reader’s hands.

For such a milestone issue, the writers play it a little too safe. Being the opening issue to a new arc, much of what Waltz, Eastman, and Curnow do is setup for both the remainder of this arc, but the tie-in Dimension X miniseries. While this issue does very little to alleviate my initial thoughts on the miniseries itself, the idea of the Turtles serving as legal process servers is certainly entertaining. With a title like “The Trial of Krang,” I was worried that this would be more of a courtroom drama. It’s not that such a story cannot be done well (12 Angry Men is a captivating film, for example), but that it would slow down the forward momentum of this series. Thankfully, there are no brakes on this train, as the writers march ahead and deliver an action-packed, extra dimensional crime thriller. Hopefully with the setup taken care of, the following issues can elevate this story even further.

While this issue is significant, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #73 does very little to differentiate itself from the rest of the series – and for good reason. It maintains the same level of consistent, high-quality storytelling that has made it one of the best comics currently being published. With no end in sight, let’s hope that quality continues long into the future.

What did you think of TMNT #73?

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