Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #76 – Review

With the last issue of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles nicely wrapping up the Trial of Krang story, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters 2 mini-series covering what happens to the Trutles on their way back from Dimension X, one of the last remaining plot threads hanging over is that of the Triceraton and their return to Earth.

This story reminded me of Doctor Who, and the stories involving the Silurians. Much like them, the Triceraton are evolved from triceratops’, and have returned to a world that was once theirs and is now the domain of humanity. I was expecting this story to follow a similar path, with the Triceraton and humans both unwilling to share the planet with the other faction.

Because of these preconceptions I was pleasantly surprised when the warlike Triceraton turned out to be the peaceful faction, approaching humanity with caution, but also friendship. Unfortunately, thanks to the Earth Protection Force and Agent Bishop, a peaceful first encounter between the two races turns into a vicious conflict that soon turns into a fullscale war in downtown New York, one the media report as a terrorist attack.

The issue focuses on this first meeting, and the Triceraton leader Commander Zom rather than the Turtles, who only appear briefly as they return from their crossover with the Ghostbusters. The time spent with Zom and her companions means that by the time Bishop turns on them and the battle starts the reader has come to care for the Triceraton, rather than them just being a group of faceless combattants.

This is most evident in the moment when Sergeant Gord sacrifices himself to save his commander. Despite having only known the character for just one issue his death comes as a saddening shock. Perhaps it’s also partially down to the face that we learn the painful backstory of the Triceraton this issue, that they were used as slaves for thousands of generations and simply want a home to live their lives in peace, but seeing them met with open hostility and being called monsters is a lot more shocking and painful than you’d expect.

The issue also manages to pack in the action, with the clash with the Earth Protection Forces incorporating gunfights, helicopters, and even jet packs to give a good variety. With this being only the first part of both this particular storyline, and the fight between Earth and the Triceraton, the skirmish is short lived, but will surely expand over the coming issues.

Whilst this issue does lack the titular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in any particularly important content, it does spend it’s time making a very strong foundation for the story to come, and clearly defines some of the main players and the stakes that are on the line. A strong start to what is sure to be an interesting an engaging storyline.

TMNT #76 is now available from IDW Publishing.

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