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Comic Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #76 – Invasion of the Triceratons Pt. 1

After a bunch of dimension hopping, the Ninja Turtles return to the friendly confines of New York. One problem: they aren’t the only ones “returning home.” Mass hysteria erupts as the Turtles, the Foot Clan, Bishop’s EPF, and a new party converge.

Comic Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #76

(W) Tom Waltz, Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, (A) Damian Couceiro, (C) Ronda Pattison

With the debacle that was “The Trial of Krang” and the Dimension X miniseries, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has had a rocky few months, very uncharacteristic of a series that had earned comparisons to some of the greatest superhero comics of all time. Now that the Turtles have returned to Earth, so has the series’ high quality. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #76 is a welcome return to form featuring several series favorites, including the delightfully loathsome Agent Bishop.

Right away, the creative team puts the Turtles back in the sewers, greeted happily by Pepperoni. In a ways, its both the creators and readers welcoming them back home. However, this is pretty much the extent of their involvement here, as the issue shifts focus to the invading Triceratons. Despite being a battle-hardened people, the Triceratons appear to be coming in peace. Unfortunately, those peaceful intentions are challenged when they are greeted first by a fearful populace, and ultimately the Earth Protection Force (“EPF”).

The entrance of the EPF and Agent Bishop leads to one of the most entertaining sequences this series has provided. Waltz does the unexpected and has Bishop actually act… nice. Although he is concerned about the fact that they’re wielding weapons, he’s welcoming to the Triceratons. Of course, if you think it’s an act, you’re right. While this isn’t unexpected, the buildup to this moment is entertaining. Even though he’s malicious, he oozes charisma. The reader knows he’s going to cross the Triceratons, it’s just a matter of when. He actions are reprehensible, but we are never disgusted with him because we want to see more.

One thing this series has made difficult to review is the artwork. It seems whoever is placed on this title does a great job. One of these days, I’m just going to copy/paste one of these paragraphs from a past review – that’s how consistent this series has been. This time, it’s Damian Couceiro’s turn to get some praise. His art is a big reason that Bishop conveys so much charisma. Moreover, the his renderings are dynamic and full of life, especially once the action heats up. But he’s also capable of handling the quieter, tender moments like when Raph and Pepperoni are reunited. Also, we can’t go without a shout-out to colorist Ronda Pattison. She yet again proves to be an invaluable member of this creative team, bringing Couceiro’s art to life.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #76 is an excellent palette cleanser for the series. The battle between the EPF and the Triceratons sets up an interesting dynamic. I’m curious to see where the Turtles – and the Foot Clan – will fit in as their city becomes a battle field. But one thing is for certain, the TMNT we’ve known for the past several years is back!

Editor's Rating

Invades With Awesomeness 8.5

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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