The Triceratons have descended upon Manhattan and are immediately involved in a battle with the Earth Protection Force and the Foot Clan. This race of dinosaur creatures was hoping to re-establish themselves on their homeworld of Earth after fighting for ages in Dimension X. Now the Ninja Turtles get involved in this dispute as lines are drawn and unlikely alliances are created.
I had criticized the Triceratons inclusion in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise at first, but my opinion is drastically changing as time goes on. This was helped by the latest issue of TMNT Universe, as well as the events in this book as it brings the internal conflict between the Turtles and their father, Splinter to the forefront. The mutant rat is leading the Foot Clan and he’s definitely trying to make the city a better place, however the ends don’t yet justify the means. This puts him on one side and the Turtles on the other which is sure to create an awkward Christmas gathering.
The art team of Damian Couceiro and colorist Ronda Pattison create a moody atmosphere cloaked in shadows. It’s reminiscent of classic Ninja Turtles in both look and feel. The city is a dirty place and the sewers where the Triceratons seek shelter is even dirtier. This makes for a perfect blend of the sci-fi elements of the dinosaur creatures and the street level heroics of the Turtles.
The shadow adds to the intrigue of TMNT #77 in every scene, particularly as Splinter begins negotiating with Agent Bishop, the head of the EPF. These are backroom dealings that the public is not aware of. Splinter is portrayed almost like a mob boss and less of a wise old sensei. He uses the Foot Clan’s muscle to intimidate his opponent and presents a compelling argument for an alliance.
The sheer size and strength of the Triceratons is on display in the opening pages of TMNT #77. It’s interesting to see how adept the Foot Clan is in fighting these foes as they present a very large and intimidating obstacle. This is not the cheesy and easily dispatched Foot Clan that we’ve seen in cartoons over the years. This is an efficient fighting force.
The Turtles learn why the Triceratons have returned to Earth and they take it surprisingly well. King Zenter on Neutrino awarded Earth to them after they helped fight back the Malignoid Swarm, but the planet was not his to give. It was a desperate move by a man out of options. You’d think the Turtles would have a bone to pick with the King after that move because he turned Manhattan into a powder keg. Instead, they just kind of go with it because they know the Triceratons are good people.
I started out this arc disliking the Triceratons and now I’m completely enthralled by their journey. The close ties to the Ninja Turtles and their current “daddy issues” up the stakes considerably. I can’t imagine what the fallout will be when the Triceratons and Turtles show up on one side with Splinter and Bishop on the other. It could have devastating effects for both these personal relationships as well as how all of them are seen in the public eye.