REVIEW: TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES – UTROM EMPIRE / AUTHOR: PAUL ALLOR / ARTIST: ANDY KUHN / PUBLISHER : IDW / RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 5TH
The genius behind IDW’s handling of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles mythos is that they’ve done their utmost to fuse all the different versions of the Turtles Universe into one coherent and believable world. At least as believable as a world with talking, oriental weapon-wielding amphibians and trans-dimensional alien menaces can be.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Utrom Empire serves to give the reader grounding in IDW’s brave new world, one where the Fugitoid robot from the classic Eastman and Laird books rubs shoulders with Krang and his ultimate weapon of doom, the Technodrome, elements that first appeared in the original children’s cartoon. The story focuses mainly on the alien conqueror Krang and how he came to be the deadly pan-dimensional menace he is today, restoring the grittiness of the original books without taking away any of the fun.
Andy Kuhn’s art fits the book incredibly well, fusing the messy, stark and over-drawn styling of Eastman and Laird’s original ideas with a cleaner and more accessible artistic method that is both familiar and new. Kuhn particularly excels at his interpretation of the turtles themselves, using clean lines and simply expressions to emulate the over-detailed style that made them so iconic in the first place.
This volume works best as a ‘story so far’ style tale, wrapping up and clarifying various plotlines from the ongoing IDW series. Fans will know that at some point the Turtles will have to face both Shredder and Krang, and it looks like the entire collection of A-list TMNT villains are coming to the party. This isn’t that battle; instead it’s a summary of the build-up to that epic showdown, explaining exactly what the stakes are for all the major players. It works well as a prelude to war and is a timely introduction to the new series, released just in time for the new movie to come out.