Sixty-one issues of TMNT. That’s not even counting the various mini-series and crossovers that have popped up around the core story. To build such a cohesive universe and keep the quality consistent overall is a fantastic achievement by IDW.
There is a problem though. Such a well-built universe (pun intended) has led to TMNT having too many characters to effectively use in one comic. It’s great that there are so many cool characters, but they need to be used!
So here we are. A second monthly title.
I must admit to feeling some trepidation. Even with the aforementioned resources to pull from can two titles be maintained? Will one come across as a poor relation or will they manage to complement each other?
In a rather safe but still very cool way ‘Universe’ doesn’t immediately jump away from the turtles. It’s a strong start as it actually makes a great change to have the four together again (I’m not completely sure where it fits in time-wise). Their banter and interactions are well handled by Allor, who has more than proven himself in the past. Turtles arguing over whose weapon is best is never a bad way to go. There’s a strong vein on humour here to balance out some of the violent aspects of the story.
Pattison’s colours give the series a commonality with the main series whilst the teeth that Damian Couceiro gives the turtles are the only real issue I have with the artwork.
Time for some bad news though. The prospect of seeing a short story by Eastman is enough to get many a turtles fan excited. Sadly I can’t count myself as one of them. The art is messy and the dialogue awfully cheesy, as though we’re still in the nineties. Maybe I should be reading it as a throwback? Maybe it will grow on me; I feel pretty bad not to be glowing about the co-creator. But between this and the two annuals we’ve had so far I can’t escape the feeling that TMNT has outgrown Eastman as we’ve seen much stronger interpretations.
Back to the main story. Overall I think I was looking at this wrong. Universe isn’t a secondary title; it might end up being an equal. Some people won’t want to follow two titles which could become a problem but if you like the main series I see no reason why you wouldn’t like this one either, especially with the way this one has started.