Chaos Comes Home: Reviewing ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ #133

by Scott Redmond


‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ keeps doing what it does best, building up the world of the Turtles as the Armageddon Game is unleashed and a variety of plots built up over the last year come crashing together. Not a bit of the series’ fantastic energy is lost as it ties into the main event, providing a great story of its own even as it dances through the proverbial raindrops with ease.


With comic book events, they are at their best when all of the various series that are part of the said event have weight and purpose to them and are overall important to the event. That’s not saying that it has to be a situation where every issue/series is a must-read outside of the main event series but providing a deeper understanding or view of the event is key. Hitting character notes & providing great world-building depth is exactly what the main Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series is good at doing these days.

Years in the making, the big event TMNT: The Armageddon Game kicked off recently and here we get to see what some of the characters get up to between the moments in that first event issue. Sophie Campbell has done an amazing job over the past almost two years building up Mutant Town and the characters there, giving us some really great moments here that pick up on stories from previous issues as well as the event’s first issue. With the main cast of turtles dwindling down to Jennika and Donatello in these issues, we get to see more of the other characters and get to see how the two of them handle their assigned roles in this event, as everything comes crashing down around them.

We move around a ton in this issue but Campbell, like always, handles it so smoothly. Everyone gets their due and the varying moments just blend into one another so that we’re bouncing around but in a controlled order with hints of chaos. She hits all the right notes here to allow this to both be a tie-in to the event but also just a natural progression of events that were happening in the series prior, which to me is a great way to do tie-in style stories. Have them complement the event that is going on but not so much that they lose their identity in any way.

One of the things about this series is that we get a ton of artists coming and going, but all of them bring such great unique fun energy to the series which is fantastic. With this issue Fero Pe comes aboard to tackle art, after recently doing the two TMNT: The Armageddon Game – Opening Moves issues that were the prologue to the event. Regular series colorist Ronda Pattison worked on those issues too, and just like in those issues the duo creates some really awesome work.

Pe has such a smooth visually dynamic style, that can take elements and build them up in a spectacular way. In those opening move issues, there was a page where Shredder’s flashbacks were showcased in his billowing cape and here the bold example is a page where the astral protections of Venus and Donatello emerge from them and come together against a completely black backdrop in a stunning fashion.

It’s not just those moments though as Pe has a great eye for facial work and emotions, as the characters look amazing and it’s clear how anyone is feeling in the moment. Whether action scenes are those full of more dialogue, it all just has a natural energy and flow to it that grips the reader and keeps their eyes focused on where they need to be.

Pattison does an amazing job in every single issue, able to switch up her style without losing anything unique to it no matter who the artist might be any given month. In previous issues there was a roughness to the artwork therefore her colors were darker and rougher, but here we have a smoother slicker artist on board and the colors match that energy beat for beat. While there are a lot of bright colors, as well as plenty of shadows or darker tones, it’s not an overwhelmingly vivid brightness. All of the colors have a bit of a toned-down nature to them that is more befitting of a natural sort of look, making this world resonate and appear similar to our own as it should.

Personality and energy are reflected in all aspects of the issue, including the always powerful lettering work that Shawn Lee provides to the Turtle line of books. He brings such a great shared continuity of sorts between the books of the line, able to capture voices and feelings in every bit of lettering work. Whether it’s the dialogue with shifts in font style or size to showcase volume/tone, fonts of various colors for different characters either in dialogue or captions, or the really unique ways that some dialogue is put on display it’s all great. Taking Koya’s yelling Bludgeon’s name and elongating the letters through a series of connected dialogue bubbles was great and got a fantastic chuckle from me as I could easily imagine how she was screaming his name.

No matter what is going on Lee manages to make the lettering fit the mood of the pages, while never dominating any one space as it allows itself to become one with the panel/page. There is a natural order to the way it all flows, feeling correct always.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #133 is now available from IDW Publishing.

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