The Turtles Learn Nothing in TMNT #72

by James Ferguson

 

In an effort to learn more about the Pantheon, the immortal god-like beings that have been playing with their lives lately, the Ninja Turtles crash their gathering. When their cover is blown, they’re forced into a fight with these creatures that have influenced humanity since the beginning of time. Now a group of four mutants hope to survive long enough to teleport back home.

I’ve seen Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Donatello battle alien brains, hordes of ninjas, countless mutants, and shadowy government forces, but somehow, I draw the line at them fighting gods. That’s definitely fighting outside of their weight class. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #72 from IDW Publishing is largely a fight scene, but I hesitate to call it that. It’s more of an elaborate chase as the Turtles run for their lives to avoid certain death at the hands of almost every member of the Pantheon. I half expected the Benny Hill theme to start playing in the background.

It’s not that these scenes aren’t exciting. They are. Artist Dave Wachter delivers some excellent fight choreography as the Turtles have to get creative in order to avoid getting impaled, sliced in half, or crushed. Since they’re physically outmatched, they have to use their wits and their speed to stay one step ahead of their enemies. Then, for some reason, Donatello tries to hit the giant mastodon guy with a stick. I thought he was the smart one.

In the scheme of things, I don’t know what this issue was trying to accomplish. The Turtles didn’t get any information that they didn’t already have so the whole trip feels pointless. Plus, thanks to the Free Comic Book Day issue, we know that they’re going to be fine since they’re heading to the Neutrino dimension for the Krang trial. This means they’re in no real danger. There was a moment where I though one of the Turtles would be in some big trouble and I had some real concerns, but they quickly evaporated.

The issue is made even more complicated with the inclusion of Baxter Stockman, who, after over 70 issues and numerous mini-series is still not a mutant fly. He seems just as confused by this whole mission as I was, but goes along with it seemingly because he had nothing better to do. This two-issue micro storyline feels like filler until the group could get to the larger Krang arc. It’s fun to explore the Pantheon as they’re visually interesting, but we don’t get much out of it.

This is a rare miss for IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. The comic has set such a high bar over the years with dynamic storytelling and incredible artwork. Writer Tom Waltz has steered this ship well. The latter is certainly on display here but the former falls short. This is a pitstop on the way to bigger and better things.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #72 is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.