After seeing aliens of all shapes and sizes, the Ninja Turtles reach the last stop on their intergalactic tour, gathering witnesses to testify at Krang’s trial on Neutrino. This is perhaps the strangest one yet as the entire planet is living in perfect harmony, like a hive mind. Plus, they’re all plants. How can they bring someone that has literal roots off-planet?
There is no doubt that the Turtles are incredibly skilled fighters, however this mission has required more diplomacy than fisticuffs. There are still plenty of battles, as the assassin Hakk-R is hot on their trail and working to silence the witnesses before they have a chance to speak. What stands out here is how the Turtles have to use their minds to persuade each person to join them. It’s like they’re playing a sci-fi version of Dungeons and Dragons and they have to continually roll a saving throw for charisma.
This persuasion is required because everyone they encountered, including Occuli, the plant creature in this issue, is emotionally scarred in some way. Krang has done despicable things to each of them, leaving them as broken husks of their past selves and definitely suffered from PTSD. The Turtles’ natural good nature has to cut through all of this scar tissue to convince the witness to work with them.
The issue takes a turn when they meet a different kind of mutant. This is where the lesson of the comic comes in. Since this planet lives in harmony with everything on it, something that’s cut off from that is ostracized and treated horribly. The Turtles know that feeling intimately. They could be treated like monsters because to the average person, that’s what they are. It’s their ability to look past that and to still do good in this world that makes them the heroes they have always been.
This could have come across as rather heavy-handed and preachy. Fortunately, writer Devin Grayson handles it with grace, presenting it in an almost Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer way. This poor little creature is cast aside because it’s different. He may not have a shiny nose, but he’s still just as important, if not more so, than the others on his planet.
The message is balanced well with some great humor, primarily from Michelangelo. I grew up a Raphael fan because he had the funniest lines in the cartoon, but that honor has been going to Mikey more and more in recent iterations of TMNT. You can’t help but love his innocent jokes. They’re a tad immature, however they work well within the context of the situation and his brothers just go with it.
The design for the Turtles in this issue is a little less expressive than we’ve seen in the series to date. I think this is due to the lack of pupils. This gives them all blank expressions, relying solely on their mouths to show emotion, which doesn’t always come through. They all appear almost identical too. There isn’t a personality in their design. If they didn’t have the colored masks and weapons, you wouldn’t be able to tell them apart.
The design for Occuli and the rest of the inhabitants of the plant planet are reminiscent of Pokemon, especially the Polyglot. They’re these little flying flower creatures with leaves for arms and roots for feet. It would be at home in a Pokeball. There’s one panel in particular where the botanical creatures all come together that’s a real stand out. Artist Craig Rousseau creates this creepy image as the plants come together to form a face floating in the air. It’s like the Wizard of Oz standing before the Turtles.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Dimension X stretches different muscles for the heroes on a half shell. They’re used to punching out their enemies and calling it a day, but that doesn’t work in the court of law. They have worked tirelessly to ensure that Krang stays behind bars and pays for his crimes. The comic is an interesting showcase for the Turtles, as well as a number of different creators to take a crack at them. It’s also introduced a myriad of new creatures that I hope to see revisited again soon. Now, we turn our attention to the trial of the century with some courtroom drama featuring the Ninja Turtles. That is a sentence I never thought I’d type.