Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Volume 1: The War to Come cover image
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (also known as TMNT and Ninja Turtles or sometimes as “the Turtles”) are a media empire that began with characters created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird for the comic book, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 (cover dated: May 1984). Donatello, Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael are four teenage anthropomorphic turtles who walk and talk like humans). IDW Publishing has held the license to produce Turtles comic books since 2011 and has essentially rebooted the Turtles comic book universe.
Launched in August 2016, the comic book series, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe, explores characters and story-lines that are pivotal to the IDW TMNT universe. The first trade collection of the series is entitled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe, Volume 1: The War to Come. It reprints Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe #1-5.
The opening story arc of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe, Volume 1: The War to Come is “The War to Come” (written by Paul Allor and drawn by Damian Couceiro; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe #1-4). The Ninja Turtles are facing increasing threats against their existence. An organization called the “Earth Protection Force” (EPF) is determined to wipe mutants from the world. Led by Agent Bishop, the EPF launch an attack on the Turtles and others it considers mutants and freaks.
The Turtles find a reluctant ally in a murderous scorpion-like mutant named Zodi. Meanwhile, Turtle ally, April O'Neil, goes to her former boss, the mad scientist and Turtle adversary, Baxter Stockman, who is also reluctant to help them. However, the full-on assault of the EPF may force some to become the saviors of those who would be their enemies.
This trade paperback contains two stand-alone tales. In the story, “Inside Out” (written by Tom Waltz; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe #4), Leonardo fights the Foot Clan, Utroms, Koya, the Rat King, and his own fear. In the story “Urban Legends” (written by Chris Mowry and drawn by Michael Dialynas; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe #5), two mutants, Hob and Leatherhead, raid a dog-fighting tournament, but being on the same side does not mean being on the same side.
THE LOWDOWN: First, let me say that the two short stories, “Inside Out” and “Urban Legends,” are not particularly special. “Urban Legends” is the better of the two, but “Inside Out” features the art team of Kevin Eastman (layouts) and Bill Sienkiewicz (pencils and inks), which is something of a big deal... at least, for me.
The main story, “The War to Come,” is a really good story. From the start, the stakes feel high, and the Ninja Turtles are very much in peril. The EPF is a collection of mean, murdering bastards, and the Turtles allies are questionable, at best, so the story is edgy and intense. Writer Paul Allor also plays up the conflict within the Turtles as a group, so the readers get complications on top of the threat to the heroes. That certainly makes for a riveting read.
The art team of Damian Couceiro (pencils-inks) and Ronda Pattison (colors) is gritty and reflects the stinginess of hope for salvation that Allor depicts in the story. I would say that “The War to Come” is the kind of story TMNT fans will want to read, and it alone makes Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe, Volume 1: The War to Come a worthwhile purchase.
I must say that I am surprised. When IDW sent me a review copy of this book a while back, I did not expect much upon first glance.
I READS YOU RECOMMENDS: Fans of IDW's TMNT comic books will want Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe, Volume 1: The War to Come.