Chris Cooper reviews Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe #11…
Man Ray and Sally Pride journey to New Jersey to investigate rumors of a mysterious monster… who happens to be new mutant Dreadmon!
IDW’s TMNT has proven itself pretty capable of handling both large arcs and one shots. The trickiness usually comes down to whether or not a story has been given enough issues to breathe. In this case we have a mostly well-judged one-shot that not only introduces a classic Mutanimal, but also introduces new ideas for mutagen and how it can be used.
Half-man, half-jackal Dreadmon originated in the Archie series. I’d not seen him before so I went back and did a little research. There are similarities but the character is changed to better fit the IDW world. On one hand he seems like he’d be a good addition; he seems pretty well-adjusted, he’s fast, and his moral compass is facing the right way. I like him!
His back-story is covered very quickly, and that’s where there’s a problem. His history is so tragic, so real, that it clashes pretty strongly with everything else were presented. How could he possibly be the guy we see when he’s been through so much? It either undermines him as a well-written character or makes light of the real-life events that are used for his past. It doesn’t completely overshadow the issue for me, but the more I think about it, the more it’s a misstep.
However! There is still plenty to like. Newcomer Aaron Conley nails the feral qualities of Dreadmon (and others), whilst also serving up some exciting action sequences. Dreadmon himself looks a bit wild-eyed at times but I can forgive that when so much of the art is on point, especially when it marries so well with the characters.
Ray flip-flops a bit quickly on his opinion for my liking, but overall he and Sally are given great voices by Rich Douek. They’ve been a lot together and that camaraderie really shines through. Obviously I have issues with Dreadmon’s backstory but he’s a cool jackal. I’d like to see him join the team, even after this limited exposure.
I can’t go far into it, but the enemies we see this month are extremely interesting to me. They look cool, like someone was playing Altered Beast whilst working on the issue! But the real thing to note is the use of mutagen and the implications it could have for characters down the road. I want to know about this!
TMNT Universe #11 has its problems but still comes out the other side as a solid one-shot that introduces a character that I can’t help but think will get on amazingly with Mondo Gecko. Hopefully we get to see that.