City At War Once More: Reviewing ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ #134

by Scott Redmond


Fallout from the Armageddon Game continues to hit Mutant Town as ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ turns its focus toward a smaller cast of characters by truly delving into their situations and what lengths they’ll have to go to in order to save themselves and their home. Per usual the series great character voice remains as the artwork quickly sets a dire but powerful tone, highlighting just what shape Mutant Town and the world are in as the Rat King’s game takes shape.


Rat King’s Armageddon Game has begun and chaos is spreading through Mutant Town, leaving the members of the Splinter Clan left scrambling against an array of forces including their own neighbors. 

One of the things that has been praised about this book month after month is how well Sophie Campbell juggles such a large cast while making sure to not lose any chances at great character work/development along the way. Here though we get the really nice ability to pare down the cast and focus even more on their moments since most of the Splinter Clan is appearing in the main Armageddon Game series or the other spinoff material. Pairing us with Donatello and Jennika as well as Seri, Carmen, Lita, and a few others helps us get to see more about how these two Turtles and their allies are doing, as their world teeters on the edge. 

Leonardo has always been my favorite turtle, with Donatello right behind, but over the past year or so Jennika quickly moved to tie with Leo as a favorite so getting to read more of her and Donatello trying their best and fighting back is a joy. 

A lot of plotlines and characters that Campbell has seeded into things for almost the last two years are paying off or getting some more focus here, as Mutant Town reaches a breaking point. Having spent so much time building this place and its residents up has made it far more impactful and emotional to see it in such danger, and the people within lashing out because of anger and fear. This was as much home for the reader as it was for the characters we follow, so its suffering is a pain for us as well because of just how much great work has been done to make it a living breathing realm. 

Fero Pe’s artwork is very fitting for this story because not only is it very detailed with quite a bit of weight, it has a very smooth kinetic feeling to it that allows us to live in and feel the moments. Great emphasis is put upon emotions through great facial work helped by great paneling choices that give us close-ups as well as great wide shots that make sure the stakes are clear. All the opening page panels underneath the shot of Mona Lisa narrating what has been happening set the tone and make sure we feel how dire everything is from the word go. 

Colorwise, Ronda Pattison does fantastic work as always allowing brightness and pop to appear swimming within the really prevalent shadows and darker shading put into play that speaks to how dark the times are for the characters as well as it happens to be night around them. There is an almost overwhelming, in a good way, heavy feeling that comes from these shadows and darker tones mixed with the more hopeful more vivid pops of color scattered throughout. They also really highlight and enhance a lot of the very detailed bits that Pe has added, like how Donatello’s metallic carapace really feels metal here and we can see the bits holding it on and how it stands out. 

Always nothing but good things to say about the work that Shawn Lee does across so many of the Turtle-related books, making all the variety of dialogue work and sing with energy/personality. Pe gives us great facial expressions but it’s through Lee’s work that we can ‘hear’ how the characters are feeling at any given time. Making it clear when they are normally talking or louder (bigger/bolder fonts) for happiness or anger as well as when they are softer/quieter (smaller almost faded font). Especially still loving the work done to differentiate the astral projection/telepathic talk moments between Donatello & Venus from the regular variety of dialogue in the issue. 

All of it just works and makes sure that our mood matches whatever is on the page because hearing it puts things in a better position for us as we move forward with these characters/moments.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #134 is now available from IDW Publishing. 

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