In last month’s opening issue, we learned a great deal about the history of Krang’s race, the Utroms. In the present, Fugitoid is no longer suicidal and wants to stop Krang from unleashing the late 80s/early 90s awesomeness of the Technodrome upon the earth. Unfortunately, he partnered up with Baxter Stockman, who is a genocidal douchenozzle. Now Fugitoid finds himself in a position he could have never imagined: On the same side as Krang. How does the new dynamic between the two play out…and is it good?
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Utrom Empire #2 (IDW Publishing)
The issue begins with Fugitoid predictably getting his ass kicked while trying to approach Krang about helping him. Once the reason is stated, however, the alien warlord decides to look into things. Sure enough, the remaining members of his species are dying due to Stockman’s meddling. This leads Krang to show a noble side of his character that would make just about anyone sympathize with him.
It’s a powerful scene enough on its own, but writer Paul Allor does a great job justifying it with another look into Krang’s past. As the Utrom ruler valiantly charges into the face of near certain death for the very survival of his race, we flash back to Krang as an idealistic creature with an eye towards the greater good rather than simply reveling in his own royalty. Yes, he has the mind of a dictator, but his heart genuinely beats for the betterment of his people.
“I can play this little P.R. game, too, Lex Luthor…”
Okay…I just reread that and realized that I actually waxed poetic about Krang (or at least attempted to). I was about to hit the backspace button, but I’m leaving it in. The face that Allor can make me actually look at this character with a strange sense of heroism is a credit to his outstanding work.
Back on opposite end of the ‘villains with redeemable qualities’ scale, Baxter Stockman wakes up and unleashes his latest weapon on Fugitoid. The issue has one of its few missteps here as Fugitoid seems shocked at just how ruthless/douchey Stockman really is. Fortunately, he also delivers a solid/cathartic beat down on the sociopathic scientist.
The issue ends on a hell of a cliffhanger, which will make the wait for next month’s concluding installment almost unbearable…oh yeah, and the Turtles show up for a few pages, too, but whatever…
Is It Good?
I’ll repeat what I said in my review of the last issue of this series: I am not a very big fan of cosmic stories like this (The only reason I asked to review it was because I felt like I should to keep on top of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles titles).
I am a huge fan, however, of great storytelling, which is what Paul Allor has used to make this a fantastic series so far. The looks we get into Krang’s past, along with their congruency to the events happening in the present, weave an incredibly gripping tale. The universal themes being explored (and the ways they are being turned on their head) are so good that even those who are relatively unfamiliar with the TMNT franchise will enjoy this one.
“COWER IN THE PRESENCE OF MHY DADDY ISSUES!”
Andy Kuhn’s pencils also continue to add a great deal of beautiful kinetic energy. Where he really shines in this issue, however, is his rendering of the characters’ faces and reactions to the terrible things happening around them.
About the only thing not to like about this book is Fugitoid’s surprise over Stockman having a giant turd where his soul should be and the shoehorning of the Ninja Turtles into the story (I get why it has to be done in a TMNT book, but it still feels forced).
Otherwise, this is a series that any self-respecting Turtle fan or lover of great science fiction will want to read.