Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #76

Cover Rank: 8/10
This issue kicks off a new arc for the Turtles called ‘Invasion of the Triceratons.’ Damien Couceiro’s literal interpretation of the title for this new arc is great. The image of a Triceraton looming over the city sets an ominous tone for what may be in-store for the people of New York City and eventually earth. Rating these covers for these book is always hard however because with multiple variants for each issue I can’t help but fall in love with another variant and wish that it was the cover instead. The final choice however is good and fits the story being set up to be told.

Best Variant:
The best variant easily goes to Kevin Eastman. As co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ha just always has a way of depicting them in the most badass and perfect way. Sure this cover doesn’t quite convey what happens in the book especially with the Turtles practically taking a back seat this issue but it is fantastic none the less. If you can find a copy of this one pick it up!

What I Like:
This issue does a lot to set up the state of New York upon the Turtles return from their recent trip to Dimension X. Yes, this book takes place after the events of the Ghostbusters crossover so if you haven’t given it a read then maybe start there first. We see them in only the first few pages and learn quickly that something major is happening in the city and we see them take off towards it. This book begins ‘now’ and then quickly flashes to ‘earlier.’ I like it when books do that and this one does a great job at handling the transition.

The flash to earlier shows us the Triceratons arriving on Earth in the City expecting a grand welcome. I love seeing the Triceratons return to the book in a major way. Their first appearance in the original Eastman and Laird run years ago is one of my favorite storylines and having them back to play a major role in the IDW series on Earth is going to be interesting. I really like how they represent them as coming home. We learn that the Triceratons were originally from Earth and that the Utrom Empire snatched them up and turned them into Soldier slaves. I’m sure this isn’t going to end well for both sides but I really like this concept that they were here first and now they’re back. The interesting thing is that they ultimately come in peace but of course Agent Bishop and the Earth Protection Force won’t have it.

The sneak attack by Agent Bishop and the EPF is just down right wrong but is so great on so many levels. Attacking the Triceratons who are there in peace seems like the wrong thing to do but with them claiming that this is there home could lead to further conflict down the line. The ethical decision that Agent Bishop had to made is honestly a difficult one that in a real life situation as this would have a lot of gray area. I can’t help but feel sympathetic for the Triceratons but I see both sides. One final thing, Slash it just the best. He plays a small part in this issue but as the enforcer for the EPF he’s just a beast.

What I didn’t like:
The small role the Turtles play in this issue is a bit of a bummer. Sure this issue was meant to set up the conflict that the Turtles are now headed towards but I think another page or two of them would have fleshed it out a bit more. I think it should have ended on a scene of them arriving at the conflict and realizing what was going on. Oveeall this was somewhat of a setup book to set the stage for the rest of the arc. It’s not a page turner but does it’s job.

Best Moment:
My favorite moment is definitely Slash unleashing on the Gord. We see him in a few panels on other pages leading up to this scene and he is just standing there stone faced filling the role as a an enforcer just through his presence. When he see’s Agent Bishop injured he snaps and just reacts with pure violence and in one motion just ends one of the Triceratons. This of course leads to one of them proclaiming that the entire city will now die and thus setting off a war that will rage through the next set of issues.

Ending: 8/10
The ending leaves us with a cliffhanger. Immediately after Slash disposes of Gord the other Triceraton is set to take out Agent Bishop but is quickly subdued by Foot soldiers and Master Splinter arrives proclaiming that the city belongs to him and the Foot. What role will Splinter and the Foot play in defending against the Triceratons and will they be on the side of the Turtles. Like I said before, I wish there was a scene at the end with the arrival of the Turtles but Splinter and the Foot leave it with a somewhat satisfying endind especially in the way in which they subdue the Triceraton.

What I’m Looking Forward To:
I’m interested to see what side of the gray area the Turtles fall on. Knowing the history the Triceratons have with them and the fact that they’re originally from Earth I can see the Turtles being torn between both sides. Clearly there is no way both humans and Triceratons can live together on Earth but what will it take to convince them off this and to what length will they go to to ensure both sides can move on unscathed by the other. I know Eastman and staff have a plan and I’m confident it’ll be one hell of a ride.

Publisher: IDW

Review Score: 7.9/10