In last month’s stellar issue of this miniseries, Krang proved he wasn’t a complete douche by attempting to sacrifice himself for the survival of his people. This month, the series finally wraps up the storyline explaining Krang’s past while revealing his current fate. Is it good?
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Utrom Empire #3 (IDW Publishing)
In the present, Krang survives his perilous brush with death (perhaps a bit too easily) and drags himself back inside the base. While the Utrom general is off playing hero, Baxter Stockman pisses and moans about yet another plan of his failing. Fugitoid, on the other hand, has yet another personal crisis over being in league with such evil men. He finally decides that the best course of action is to covertly send a message to the Turtles (who FINALLY have a good reason to show up in the book) while pretending to officially join Krang’s side.
The past, however, is once again where this issue really shines. While Krang’s father continues to lead his people spiraling downward towards defeat and extinction, Krang himself executes a secret plan to save his race. He even extends an olive branch to his petulant and dishonored dad, only to be rebuffed, causing him to leave his father on their home planet to die.
“…oh, and I showed Mom where you hide your porn. Have fun dealing with that, asshole.”
That’s not the worst of it, though. In a particularly heart breaking scene, we see Krang putting his fellow Utroms into their stasis tanks, sincerely promising to be relentless in his quest to give them a viable planet on which to live. If it wasn’t for the whole ‘destruction/genocide of the human race’ thing, it’d almost be hard not to root for the guy.
The end of the issue treats us to a couple of pretty cool twists, one of which involves Baxter Stockman getting screwed even worse than before (which is always fun to see) while the last page hints at an incredibly unlikely alliance forming in the near future.
Is It Good?
If you’re looking for a blueprint on how to create a wonderful series that explores the villain of an established universe, this is it.
Paul Allor delivers not only a great cosmic tale, but perhaps the best villain-based character study we’ll see in all of 2014 (and yes, that includes any of DC’s Forever Evil books). He manages to masterfully juxtapose the story’s current timeline with Krang’s personal history, giving the reader so much more than just a ruthless villain on a trope-filled quest for ‘dat power’ or fueled good old fashion revenge.
Instead, we get to see a being who despite being incredibly misguided (and even more homicidal) wants more than anything to do right by his people…even if the price to be paid is his own life.
Add in Andy Kuhn’s fantastic art work (including a poster-worthy Triceraton splash page)…
“DIE YOU MEAT EATING BASTARDS!”
…and you’ve got a real gem of a chapter in IDW’s TMNT mythology. The series not only delivers on its own potential, but also shades the rest of the Ninja Turtles universe with fascinating back story and depth.
Even if you’re like me and normally don’t dig cosmic stuff, I implore you if you’re a Ninja Turtles fan this one up. You won’t be disappointed.