Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #129
Story by Sophie Campbell
Art by Tony Gregori and Ronda Pattinson
Published by IDW
Released May 25th, 2022
The Story So Far: Donatello and Alopex have been captured by mad surgeon Dr. Jasper Barlow. With Venus’s help,Donatello begins to explore the powers of the dragon scales, which he discovers give him access to the Astral Plane and visions of his past life in feudal Japan. Meanwhile, thanks to Ma’riell’s efforts, Regenta Seri has safely escaped Colonel Ch’rell’s clutches by blasting off in a Triceraton scout ship bound for New York City.
Donatello struggles to escape from the fiendish Dr. Barlow! The Turtles attempt to save him but first they’ll have to have a final showdown with the Punk Frogs!
Plus the long-awaited introduction of Sluggothy!
The Burnow Island story thread has been a slog and the introduction of Venus can go either way. After a disappointing previous issue, can IDW’s TMNT series pick up the otherwise solid momentum with Issue 129?
SPOILER: IT DOES.
Issue 129 exercises a great blend of action and drama with the wide range of characters and plots we’ve grown accustomed to reading about. From Donnie, Venus and the gang escaping the clutches of the twisted Dr. Barlow, The Turtles facing off with the Punk Frogs, and Raph and Casey at odds with each other the plot lines meet head on with the crash ending of a Triceratron ship! Let’s see what works and what doesn’t!
- Campbell balances action and drama at a great pace. I’ve given Campbell a lot of flack for focusing on petty interspecies drama and disappointing conclusions over ninja action and adventure; but her writing has been on a peak of late. And, thankfully, continues with #129.
- Punk Frogs origin is as punk as you’d think as I really dig these characters from the get-go. A Fort Lauderdale Punk band turned angsty Battletoads is a fun and cool premise that TMNT is built on. So I enjoy every panel they get.
- Barlow continues to be a worthy and interesting foe. And Venus is coming along to be a cool creature herself. I could see both of these characters leading to some upgrades to Donetello in the future.
- Solid ending with our Burnlow Island plot literally crashing into Mutant Town. Eager to see how this all plays out.
- Pattinson creates great moods with her vibrant colors.
- Saki is thrown into things for the sake of simply being there. I feel he’s a mostly forgotten character that’s conveniently written as a scapegoat of sorts.
- Raph and Casey have an awkward scuffle. It starts over something I perceived as serious: Raph being concerned with Casey’s drinking and wishing for him to not turn into his father. Yet they just laugh it off as horseplay. Oddly written. Campbell seems to really struggle when it comes to writing the character of Casey Jones.
- Gregor’s artwork works on some levels but mostly falls flat. The more novice look of his perspectives, character stances and expressions give a feeling of classic Eastman and Laird Turtle books. But I doubt it as an homage and often makes the book look amateur.
Notes: Campbell and Company gives us a well rounded exciting chapter of the current TMNT story. With an interesting array of villains and emphasis back on adventure (not to mention the return of the RAT KING) IDW’s TMNT seems to be back in a good place yet again. I hope everyone keeps up the good work for our trusted Heroes in a Halfshell!