Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Vol. 19: Invasion of the Triceratons – Comic Review

Following the events of the Trial of Krang story line, as well as the TMNT/Ghostbusters 2 crossover mini-series (both great stories and well worth checking out), the Turtles finally return home ready to finally relax and take a break. Unfortunately for them, this is just a few hours after the Triceraton arrive on Earth hoping to make the planet their home once again.

Despite being a race of soldiers that were literally bred for war the Triceraton are a very peaceful people, and simply want to come back to the planet that gave birth to their ancestors millions of years ago, but thanks to the evil Agent Bishop of the Earth Protection Force, the Triceraton are forced into a fierce battle.

With so many science fiction stories having aliens come to Earth wanting to conquer or enslave humanity, bringing violence and war with them, it’s something of a refreshing change to see the aliens as the peaceful party for once; with humanity being the warlike race that causes the violence to ensue. It makes the ‘Invasion of the Triceraton’ story feel somewhat fresh and different.

This isn’t a story of an invading force coming to Earth to do us harm, it’s about a people that were stolen away from their home, experimented on, enslaved for longer than human history, having finally winning their freedom and having the peace they’ve long desired denied them. Despite the Triceraton fighting fiercely throughout the book, and causing a lot of death and destruction, you can’t really see them as the villains of the book. If anything, they’re victims. Victims of human hatred and fear.

Agent Bishop, the mutant hating cyborg, is the perfect antagonist for this story, as he represents every hateful prejudice and fear that humanity has. He hated those that are different, he wants to destroy anything that isn’t like him because he sees them as a threat, and will go to extreme lengths to do so. Yes, he’s a cyborg with an army behind him and an enslaved mutant turtle at his command, but he feels like a very real antagonist because of his views and beliefs.

‘Invasion of the Triceratons’ isn’t just about conflict between the Triceratons and the Earth Protection Force, however, as the story has some amazing moments for the ever deteriorating relationship between the Turtles and their father, Splinter, who now commands the Foot Clan.

One of the best things about the IDW run on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is the relationship within the family, and how Splinter has changed over the course of the stories, going from a beloved father to something of an antagonist. He believes that he’s doing the right thing, and that he is doing it for the benefit of the Turtles, but it’s leading him down a very dark path.

The moment when the Turtles finally stand up to him, refuse to let him kill the leaders of the Triceratons, and put their lives on the line to defy him is an amazingly dramatic one. The scene is full of tension and emotion as both sides know that this will forever change their relationship, but refusing to back down from their beliefs. This is the Turtles at their best, and it elevates an already great story to fantastic heights.

The artwork throughout isn’t the neatest and most detailed, and certainly not my favourite that I’ve seen on a Turtles book, but it’s sharp angles and somewhat messy style work very well for the story presented. It gives the story more energy and a sense of movement and speed to the panels, especially in the action sequences. Despite the art changing in the last two chapters the two styles work well together, and the change isn’t the most noticeable or distracting.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Invasion of the Triceraton tells story that on the surface appears to be a very straight forward and violent story, but has a lot more going on than you’d first think, with some incredibly well layered characters with more complex motivations than first apparent. With some great action sequences and some downright brilliant character moments, this is easily a contender for one of the best volumes of the series yet.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Invasion of the Triceratons is now available from IDW Publishing.

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