Friday, September 2, 2016

Review - TMNT Universe #1 (@IDWPublishing)


"This is our world."

If we were lucky enough to live in a world where the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles patrolled the streets (and sewers) we'd all be better off. That scenario is currently outside the realm of possibility so we just have to read about them in comics for the time being. IDW Publishing has another comic to read with them in it called TMNT Universe #1. The main story is written by Paul Allor, illustrated by Damian Couceiro and colored by Ronda Pattison. "Inside Out" is written by Tom Waltz, layouts by Kevin Eastman, illustrated by Bill Sienkiewicz and colored by Tomi Varga.

When a mysterious new mutant targets Baxter Stockman, it will be up to the TMNT to reluctantly save him. Little does everyone know that a larger trap is being laid by a new arch-foe.

The main story in TMNT Universe #1 doesn't waste any time in throwing the Turtles into the thick of things, with Allor leveraging the enigmatic Dr. Baxter as a catalyst for bigger things to happen. The Turtles are typically able to get out of tough situations relatively easily and Allor paces the issue in a way that gives them a standard battle to fight out of as well as something behind the scenes to contend with. His take on the Turtles is very apt and he does a fantastic job of summing up their personalities--this is evident from the start with Donatello and Michelangelo debating the finer points of the bo vs. nunchuks. The back-up story by Waltz is another look at the Turtles and more focused (on Leonardo), but still captures what makes the Turtles tick. Both stories pay great homage to the Turtles and both Allor and Waltz clearly want to do them right.

The illustrations in TMNT Universe #1 are very frenetic and keep up with the action well. Couceiro illustrates the characters with an emphasis on style, presenting them in a way that clearly detaches them from the realm of reality. It's a pretty simplistic approach that still allows Couceiro plenty of room to allow the Turtles to display a wide range of emotions--some of which are tied to the situation and others which are tied to the specific Turtle. Sienkiewicz takes a slightly harder, edgier approach in "Inside Out" as the characters are given more weight. The colors in both stories by Pattison and Varga are excellent and rely on washed out hues to highlight the panels.

TMNT Universe #1 is a pretty solid foray into the world of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Both stories offer the characters in familiar settings, but appear to have something up their sleeves for taking them in new directions. Allor and Waltz both know what the Turtles are all about and craft stories that respect their abilities. Couceiro and Sienkiewicz (and Eastman's layouts) convey the action cleanly and give the reader plenty to take in. TMNT Universe #1 is an enjoyable read that will fill older readers with nostalgia and give younger readers a glimpse at some pretty awesome amphibians with ninja capabilities.

TMNT Universe #1 is in stores now.

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