Michelangelo and Mondo Gecko are in EPF headquarters to try and steal some equipment to save Mutagen Man’s life. They’re under fire by soldiers and Agent Bishop himself. Mondo Gecko is going to have to quell his rage long enough to snag these supplies if he hopes to keep his friend from shuffling off this mortal coil.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe #24 opens in the midst of a firefight. Artist Pablo Tunica captures this action and excitement perfectly. Lasers are flying every which way and Mondo Gecko is in the thick of it. Mikey is trying to work some ninja moves and stick to the shadows, but his buddy’s brash attacks force him out into the open.
Tunica draws these really expressive faces on Mikey and Mondo. The former is a concerned, yet innocent kid, while the latter is a rough, yet carefree ball of rebellion. This is amplified by the incredible amount of detail that goes into each panel. You can see each individual bump and spot on both characters. It’s probably one of the most realistic portrayals of mutant reptiles ever.
Patricio Delpeche’s colors add some additional excitement to the opening pages. It’s like alarms are blaring so there are the action is shone in different colored lights, flashing from yellow to red to orange. Things calm down a bit once Mikey and Mondo get past the soldiers. The colors get calmer too, with more blues and greens.
My favorite part of this firefight is Mondo Gecko’s line on the very first page. Letterer Shawn Lee makes this statement big and bold to match the character’s intensity as he leaps into battle shouting “Eat lead, EPF Pigs!” The words are so large they pop out of the balloon.
TMNT Universe #24 starts out strong and builds to an insane battle as Mikey & Mondo bust out of the EPF building. This is something that only these two characters could do. It’s a special pairing that seems like it would be too much of a good thing at first. They’re too similar on paper, but after the hard time Mondo Gecko has been going through, Mikey grounds him in a very complementary manner.
The closure to the Mutagen Man story is fitting and more than a little sad. Mondo Gecko went through all this trouble because he didn’t want his friend to die. He’s lost enough in this life already. Mutagen Man has already accepted his fate and has been living a torturous existence. He is resentful of Mondo at first because he’s been living a life of constant pain and agony for ages.
It’s pretty awesome how this issue is an allegory for loss and dealing with a sick loved one. Writer Ryan Ferrier has used these literal mutants to really get a point across. You’re not hit over the head with a theme, but you are moved by what these characters are willing to go through to support one another.
The backup story “Life at Sea” brings some levity to TMNT Universe #24. Writer Rich Douek and Artist Buster Moody tell a tale of Pigeon Pete and Ray sharing a moment of peace and quiet. Ray explains how great life at sea can be and Pete imagines it as a pirate adventure. It’s this quick, fun story full of cameos. This reminds us that even though these characters are constantly getting into fights and all kinds of life-and-death situations, they’re still just trying to live their lives and get by.