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Comic Review: TMNT Universe #13

by Dan Gehen

As Karai becomes embroiled in the Tokyo underworld, an ancient sword may show her the true path forward… if she can overcome the obstacles guarding it!

Comic Review: TMNT Universe #13

(W) Erik Burnham & Sophie Campbell, (A) Sophie Campbell, (C) Brittany Peer

It’s been quite a while since TMNT Universe has featured an extended (longer than 2 issues) story arc, and reading this second chapter of “Karai’s Path” serves as a reminder that there is a lot to explore in this world. Writers Erik Burnham and Sophie Campbell’s story sees Karai uncharacteristically act as an errand girl during a Yakuza power struggle, but the story ultimately is befitting the character.

If you take a step back, arguably the best thing to happen to this story arc is that IDW allowed Burnham and Campbell to spread it across four issues. This has allowed them to fully dive into Karai’s psyche, exploring her character in the post “Vengeance” world. With the Shredder dead and the Foot Clan under the command of Splinter, Karai has been absent from the TMNT comics and her story has been rudderless. This is something Burnham and Campbell directly address in a wonderfully rendered meditation sequence (also illustrated by Campbell and colorist Brittanny Peer). Here, we see Karai’s sense of purpose and resolved challenged by a higher, supernatural power. She comes out of it seemingly reborn with the fire and vigor readers have come to love about her.

It is the artwork by Campbell and Peer that really drives this issue. In performing writing duties in addition to providing the artwork, Campbell ensure that the issue is well paced from start to finish. While sequence between her rooftop drinks and wandering through the forest may have been little more than filler, the remainder is well executed. Campbell’s art is as dynamic and expressive as ever, keeping the reader fully engaged despite a notable lack of action. To keep things short and sweet, let’s just say that the colors by Brittanny Peer are simply stunning.

“Karai’s Path” is a must-read story, especially for those that are fans of the titular anti-hero. The writing is top notch, and the artwork is some of the best we’ve seen since the Turtles made their way to IDW. TMNT Universe has been a bit of a mixed bag, which is natural given the format of the series. While it may not be perfect, this is the most engaging this title has been in quite a while.


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