Raphael and Alopex are trapped in Null Industries and face brand-new enemies that force them to question their future!

If you thought the Tricretaons in the main turtle book were pissed, you don’t even want to know how ticked off Raph and Alopex are about Null’s organization and the genetic experiments they’re doing.

First Read Reactions

  • I know Zodi is a bad guy, but her ability to throw shade is impossible not to like.
  • “DON’T CALL ME TOMATO!”
  • Gotta love it when there’s a break in the fight long enough to wax philosophical about whether or not your should find common ground with your enemies.
  • Okay, I was kidding before, but this is getting ridiculous…
  • That’s right, Raph. You can’t die until all foosball debts are settled.
  • Krisa has got to be the most emotive snake ever.
  • When in doubt, hotwire a van with your sai.
  • Kind of weird seeing Zodi be a somewhat good person mutant, but I dig it (even if it is still in service to a substantially horrible type of evil).

The Verdict

Ugh. And the the last issue was so good, too.

Look, I like a good moral quandary as much as the next reader, but having one take place via massive amounts of exposition during an otherwise great fight sequence is painful. Making things even worse is just how easy it was for Alopex and Raph to swing the moral pendulum of one of their adversaries from one side to the other. I guess you could make the argument that Krisa (the giant snake) was still confused from only recently being mutated, but that doesn’t square with her deep level of flyby introspection in the middle of a life or death situation.

The issue’s saving grace is Zodi, who continues her evolution into one of the best villains occupying this version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle‘s mythology. In addition to a cool design and deadly skill set, she also has an incredibly dark and sharp wit that can make you laugh in even the most dire of situations.

The art by Dave Wachter is superb as usual. Unfortunately, his knack for making anthropomorphic characters emote only help to bring Krisa down even further. Vulnerability is one thing, but the reptilian mutant’s drastic changes in demeanor and identity stretch things well past the point of absurdity.

(And yes, I realize that we’re talking about a giant snake with humanoid features. That doesn’t change the fact she’s still a weak character in an otherwise solid narrative).

Combine all that with a fairly ho-hum backstory, and this issue is a big letdown from the brilliance of last month. Let’s hope the cliffhanger at the end leads us into a bit more excitement this spring.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe #20 Review
Is it good?
An exciting narrative gets derailed by ridiculous character moments and exposition.
Zodi is becoming one of TMNT's best villains.
The artwork by Dave Wacther is superb.
A great fight scene (and even better narrative) is halted by painfully stilted exposition.
The new character (Krisa) has a moral compass that spins her character arc from interesting to absurd.
5
Average