After an action-heavy opening issue, Paul Allor and Andy Kuhn’s Mutanimals returns for issue number two. Is it good?
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutanimals #2 (IDW Publishing)
The issue opens with perhaps its two most ridiculous characters, Mondo Gecko and Herman the Hermit Crab, having a deep, introspective conversation. No seriously, they do…and it’s actually pretty good.
Meanwhile, Lindsey Baker is in the middle of the most awkward job interview ever. Not only is her ex-girlfriend there, but the potential new boss is red and has horns.
“And what would you say is your greatest weakness—BESIDES BEING HUMAN?!”
Outside the Null facilities, Hob and Slash scout the heavily guarded area, looking for any sort of weakness they can exploit. That weakness ends up presenting itself as a Null employee, who they capture and intimidate into spilling the needed intel (along with some other choice bits of information). Hob attempts to tie up loose ends with a bullet to their hostage’s head, but Slash stops him, desiring to be a bit more ‘heroic’ in their mission to free the other mutants being held at the facility.
Back at the house, Mutagen Man begins to bond with Mondo Gecko and Herman via video games and (for the first time ever) some actual conversation. When Hob and Slash return, he volunteers for the mission to free his former Null prisoners/experiments.
Unfortunately, Slash’s decision to not kill their hostage ends up biting them in the ass. The Mutanimals walk straight into a trap, leading to another huge brawl. This time, however, nearly all of them are captured except for Slash and Mondo, who now must find a way to rescue their friends.
Is It Good?
My synopsis covers the main parts of the story, but doesn’t do any justice to how good Paul Allor’s writing is on this one. For starters, the ‘uneven’ humor/drama quotient from last issue is perfectly balanced this time around. There are some truly hilarious moments in this one along with a sizable amount of real drama.
This issue also serves as a fascinating character study, especially with regards to Old Hob. At first glance (and after the first issue) he seemed completely ruthless, fueled merely by a desire for revenge. By the end of this issue, however, it’s clear that he truly does care about his team beyond just the muscle they provide him. Also, his desire to kill their previous hostage might not have been right, but it would have saved them all a lot of pain. Instead, his decision to listen to Slash’s plea for mercy has some disastrous results.
There’s also the great job interview scene with Null, Lindsey, and her ex, which deftly (and humorously) explored the type of questions many superhero stories skate over when someone switches from one side to the other.
About the only issue I had with this one was the art. Now don’t get me wrong—I love me some Andy Kuhn pencils and I loved them here, too…after a while. The first few pages weren’t nearly as tightly drawn as the rest. I also thought that Null was a bit too static of a villain (especially with the whole ‘invulnerability’ thing), but I trust Allor to pay that off down the road.
Aside from that, however, it looks like Allor/Kuhn are one again on track to give us another fantastic TMNT miniseries. Just like Utron Empire, it’s incredibly well written, beautifully drawn, and adds an impactful layer to the overall series’ mythology. Add in some genuinely funny moments, and Mutanimals might end up being even better.