Review: Living Here In Mutant Town In ‘TMNT #109’

by James Ferguson

The Turtles have settled into their new lives in Mutant Town, but they’re not without their own set of troubles. Mikey is starting up a pirate radio station to tell the stories of the mutants in the area. Donnie is helping Mona set up a school for mutant kids. Meanwhile, Jennika is struggling with an inner rage.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #109 takes an interesting approach, telling three separate, yet interconnected stories. Writer Sophie Campbell moves from one to the other with ease, keeping our interest levels high as we dig into this new status quo. This is not about fighting ninjas and aliens like some of their past adventures, however the same themes that have made this franchise so relevant for over 30 years are still shining through.
This is shown very well in the opening scene as a journalist barges into the area under the guise of telling the mutant side of the story, but comes off as ignorant and offensive. There are parallels to how the trans community is treated with questions about things like mating behavior that are more than a little demeaning. You wouldn’t ask anyone else a question like that, so why is it ok to ask the residents of Mutant Town?

This comes across as very aggressive, despite the reporter’s smiles. Letterer Shawn Lee makes her words appear overwhelming, like she’s speaking a mile a minute and suffocating Mikey and Lina as she continues this line of questioning.
Artist Jodi Nishijima imbues Mutant Town with life. While these folks have been through the wringer, they’re enjoying their new lives, despite the challenges they face. Again, this isn’t quite the same as the adventures these characters have had previously, however it’s the next logical evolution. What do you do when your greatest enemy has been defeated?

You can still see those warrior instincts at play. There’s a fierceness to them as they settle into what passes for civilian life in this world. That is lurking just beneath the surface as they’re always ready in case trouble arises.
Colorist Ronda Pattison adds to this tone with a fantastic palette. These characters are used to hiding in the shadows. For the first time, they’re out in the light and they don’t have to be ashamed or scared about who they are. It’s a great, life-affirming scenario.

As a life-long fan of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I am loving the direction this series is going. It’s uncharted territory and shows a maturation of the characters and their lives. We’ve seen them go through all kinds of adventures across the world and other dimensions. Now we get a chance to see them live their lives on their terms and it’s a wonderful sight.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #109 from IDW Publishing is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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