Comic Review – Mutanimals #1

Originally written for Flickering Myth.

“Old Hob, Slash, Herman the Hermit Crab, Mondo Gecko and Pigeon Pete have become a force to be reckoned with in the TMNT ongoing — and now they’ve got their own miniseries, in which their teamwork will be put to the ultimate test! When someone close to the group is kidnapped, the Mutanimals end up on an adventure more wild and dangerous than they could have imagined! What mysteries lurk at…The Null Group?”

IDW have made of the most of their TMNT license. Not only have they kept on top of releasing the trade paperbacks (making for a lovely collection), but they’ve released several mini-series that flesh out the world beyond the immediate dangers the turtles face.

With this new series though, things are different. In a really positive way. We’ll get to that a little bit later.

In the past I’ve struggled with Andy Kuhn’s art. Each time he’s come on-board it’s taken me some time to get into it. With Mutanimals #1 though I think he’s a great pick. His heavier lines and less detailed style works really well with not just the characters themselves, but the humour peppered throughout the issue. Pigeon Pete gets the majority of the laughs, and there is plenty of witty dialogue, but one scene between Hob and Mondo is just perfect. The marriage of dialogue and art is brilliant.

So it’s got humour, but it also approaches a couple of more mature subjects in respectful and more importantly, natural, ways. Well as normal as you can have in such a story.

Lindsey is the first confirmed LGBT character in the series, and her reveal is handled so normally that it almost went unnoticed. So you’re ex is a woman? Yeah, what of it, moving on. In a DC or Marvel comic you’d expect a massive fanfare about how modern they’re being. This is how it should be done!

It’s very pleasing to see Old Hob being a dick. The biggest call he has to make this issue leads to him making the right choice, but he’s still willing to lie, threaten, and change his mind. The best characters aren’t black and white. Hob is full of grey, always looking for an opportunity.

The enemy of this series is very intriguing. The Null group’s portfolio ranges from cola to mutant experimentation, so they’ve got their fingers in a lot of pies. A huge test for a group of mutants to come up against. But they’ve got a war on their hands now. Hopefully the rest of the story can match this impressive start.

The body of work built up so far meant I had a lot of faith in IDW and their creative talent. But this issue alone handles everything it turns to so deftly that it could be one of the strongest stories they’ve done yet.

If you enjoyed this why don’t you check out my other reviews and pass it on 🙂

I also have interviews with TMNT artists Ross Campbell and Mateus Santolouco!

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