Prepare To Fall In Love With Ace Duck In TMNT: Dimension X #4

by James Ferguson

The Ninja Turtles continue their quest through Dimension X to find and protect the witnesses for Krang’s trial. Their journey brings them to Palmadise City, which is essentially Mos Eisley on steroids. The place is full of criminals, gamblers, and degenerates. Somehow, Michelangelo is the one that fits right in. It’s not long until they locate their target: the manipulative, but charming pilot, Ace Duck.

Let’s take a second to marvel at the incredible journey of a character like Ace Duck and how he was created as a result of the massive popularity of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Ace Duck originally appeared briefly in the ’80s cartoon as the Turtles were flipping channels. He then got his own action figure and now, decades later, he’s not only still kicking, but he’s the main focus of this comic.

Artist Chris Johnson’s design for Ace Duck is pretty great. He’s basically Ryan Reynolds…as a duck. His hair’s slicked back. His beak has a small crack in it and it somehow has stubble. He’s sporting a rather awesome jacket. Then there are the eyes. Move over, Zoolander. There’s a new blue steel in town.

Michelangelo becomes infatuated with Ace Duck and how cool he is. He tries to explain the different levels of cool to his brothers, putting Ace on the top. The kid just wants to hang out with the guy. It’s actually very sweet.

Although he is most definitely cool, Ace Duck has a tortured past of which Krang is wholeheartedly responsible. This has broken him, forcing him to look out only for himself. The last time he trusted a team, it did not end well. If he keeps friends and allies at a distance, there’s less pain if and when they get hurt or killed. As with the other witnesses, there are nuances here that the Turtles are not used to. Dimension X is proving to be a challenging place for them in more ways than one.

Palmadise City is like an amalgamation of every sci-fi setting ever. It has elements of Blade Runner, Akira, Star Wars, and Star Trek. Colorist Mark Englert gives it a permanent neon glow, permeating from the various large screens that appear on every street. The colors sway from blue to red and back again.

The assassin Hakk-R is less trouble than usual in this issue. I’m not sure if this is because the Turtles are getting better at fighting him or if the likes of Palmadise City just worked against him. This gives Ace Duck more time in the spotlight and that’s certainly a welcome occurrence.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Dimension X continues its jaunt through space. This series has been a fun way to introduce fan favorite characters to the comic series, even if only for a one-off appearance. Writer Ryan Ferrier gives a character like Ace Duck get a more formal background when he’s usually been nothing more than quick gag and an awesome action figure.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Dimension X #4 is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.