The Trial of Krang Ends in the TEENAGE MUTANT NINJAS TURTLES #75 Review
Story by Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, and Tom Waltz
Written by Tom Waltz
Drawn by Cory Smith, Mateus Santolouco, Chris Johnson, and Damian Couceiro
Published by IDW Publishing
IDW’s crack at the TMNT universe hits a new milestone with this week’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #75. And despite an uneven story and average art, the issue tells a tale worthy of its milestone billing.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #75 Continues to Tell Great Stories
For 75 issues, TMNT has delivered solid stories told well and that remains true with this issue. Characterization, action, and fantastic concepts continue to drive and define this series. Some areas of this issue, however, risked dragging down the quality of the book. Smart decisions, though, helped to avoid disaster.
In the first half of the story, the TMNT battle against the hive-mind aliens, The Malignoid. Defeating a hive-mind enemy as a plot point verges on cliché these days, but Waltz and company found a way to make it fresh for this book. Using a combination of story elements, the TMNT defeat of The Maignoid in a way no reader could see coming. As a result, a tired plot point becomes an interesting take on an old favorite.
In the second half of the issue, the book returns to the courtroom drama that has been at the forefront of this arc. If there’s one thing working against TMNT #75, it’s its dialogue-heavy script. In fact, most issues of series suffer from being a bit of a slog to get through.
But, in fairness to Waltz, courtroom dramas need lots of exposition. With testimonies, statements, and verdicts, courtrooms are settings where people sit and talk. To Waltz’ credit, though, the courtroom scenes in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #75 thrive on discussion. What should have been a clear-cut verdict becomes an intriguing debate about ethics that twists and turns. Instead, Waltz abandons the obvious outcome and the result surprises more than once.
In true TMNT‘s fashion, the end of one story seeds the threads of the next. In this issue, Krang’s story closes and new plots establish themselves for the future. The end of this arc even sets the stage for next week’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters #1.
Four Artists Tackle TMNT #75
As an anniversary issue, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #75 receives the over-sized treatment with extra artists contributing to the interior art. The regular artist on this arc, Cory Smith, gets help from Mateus Santolouco, Chris Johnson, and Damian Couceiro. The combined efforts of these artists result in a good-looking, if dull, comic book.
The art is the same quality art that TMNT readers have come to expect after 75 issues. It’s serviceable, with clean lines and clear storytelling. But it’s just that. With four different artists, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #75 looks dull, considering it opens with a space battle.
As mentioned above, TMNT #75 is an uneven issue. That unevenness includes the art, too. While Waltz’ script made the second half of the issue interesting to read, the art does not deliver in the same way. The artists inject little variation into these talking-head scenes. In fact, some pages feature many repeated panels with slight variations to them. Had it been a single artist illustrating all 40 pages of this book, this might have been forgivable. But with four capable artists, it feels lazy.
The Bottom Line
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #75 offers another solid entry into the TMNT franchise at IDW. With double the page count, writer Tom Waltz delivers a story with two very different, but satisfying, halves. Artists Smith, Santolouco, Johnson, and Couceiro draw the issue well, but fail to elevate it. If TMNT #75 proves anything, it’s that these Turtles have lots of story left and capable creators behind them.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #75 hits comic shops Wednesday.
Frank Gogol is a comic book writer who dabbles in reviewing as a way to learn his craft. His approach to reviewing comics is equal parts critique and analysis. For more from Frank, follow him @frankgogol on Twitter.