Courtroom Drama And Political Negotiations Abound In TMNT #74

by James Ferguson

With all the witnesses gathered, the trial of Krang can begin on the planet Neutrino. Since the original prosecutor was killed, Fugitoid and Donatello step up to handle the case. While one is a super smart robot and the other does machines, I don’t believe either of them have law degrees. The Ninja Turtles are about to learn how lucky they’ve been in recent years to not have to deal with habeus corpus as they primarily just punch mutants in the face and call it a day.

We’ve been tricked by court procedural shows into thinking trials are interesting and/or entertaining. They are not. I’ve served on a jury and it is one of the most boring, mind-numbing experiences of my life. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #74 is several steps above that, but there’s probably a reason why the team hasn’t entered a courtroom before. This can be very dry and there’s virtually no action as it’s all arguments.

That’s not to say that there aren’t any fight scenes. There are some exciting moments in the beginning of the issue as the Turtles and the witnesses finally arrive back on Neutrino amidst an attack by a swarm of alien bugs. We’re shown how strong the Triceratons are in battle which is always a welcome site. These creatures look so cool and are a fitting addition to the TMNT world.

That’s the main highlight for this issue as the rest of it involves the court case, including cross examination of most of the witnesses. It’s frustrating that we spent five issues in the TMNT: Dimension X mini-series painstakingly gathering each witness and learning their story only to have them all tripped up by the defense attorney in about two seconds. Everyone knows that Krang is a monster and deserves to rot in prison for the rest of his days, but that’s just not how the law works.

We don’t see how the Turtles react to the trial, but I can imagine they’re gritting their teeth in anger. They did everything they were supposed to do. They saved the day, protected the helpless, and stopped the bad guy. Now the villain is going to walk free because there’s no real evidence of any of his crimes, despite all of the terror he’s rained down upon everyone he’s come into contact with.

Adding to the dry trial are equally dry political negotiations between the Triceratons and the Neutrinos. It’s obvious that these are going to come back to bite them, causing further conflict which could be very interesting. Right now, it’s like those Trade Federation scenes in Star Wars: Episode I.

Cory Smith’s artwork is the saving grace for TMNT #74 as it crafts an incredible world of science fiction. The aliens are varied and impeccably detailed. I particularly like the design of Krang’s lawyer. You can tell he’s a total slimeball and quite possibly a super villain from his look alone, so when he starts tearing through the witnesses, you can’t help but hate him.

Ronda Pattison’s colors create a clean, futuristic tone. It makes sense that this is a world with flying cars and space ships. This is the future we’ve dreamed of and it’s in another dimension. The colors are vibrant and really bring the artwork to life.

Based on their performance here, it’s safe to say the Ninja Turtles won’t be appearing on Law & Order anytime soon. They feel out of their element here, despite their best intentions. There’s a reason why we rarely see the trial of super villains in comics. There are some exceptions, of course, but this is the part that can get rather boring and it’s where the super hero story can come apart. We just take for granted that the bad guys are caught and sent to a prison somewhere that they will inevitably break out of.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #74 is currently available at your local comic shop or digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.