Group Review: TMNT – Utrom Empire #1 (of 3)

Each of the participating writers/reviews of Comic Bastards will give the issue a score of: Buy, Borrow or Pass along with a short reason for the score. Here’s a blurb about the issue from IDW before we begin: Intrigue and betrayal abound on Burnow Island! This mini-series takes us to the Technodrome where Krang’s plans to destroy the Earth are ramping up. Little does he know that Baxter Stockman plans to harness its power for himself! As the two villains scheme, one imprisoned robot holds the key to success—Fugitoid!  Will he be able to reach out to the Turtles in time? All this plus the long awaited story of the alien Utrom race!

Samantha: BUY

Honestly, there probably isn’t a TMNT issue I will not tell you to buy. But if you just lightly read the whole TMNT universe, then I would probably skip out of these issues. If you are a huge mutant freak of a fan then the comic has got everything.

When starting to read this comic, I realized how little I remember about Krang and the other universes. That statement probably constricts the former but oh well. I will have to brush up on my whole technodrome and Fugitoid trivia. The issue is a tad confusing for those of us who need to brush up. The story jumps between plots, time, and character motivations quite often. Although this was a negative insight, it also is what the made the issue so much fun. After doing some catching up within the issue, I found myself enjoying the different dimensions. Krang has a huge background story, if not the biggest. The issue takes us around some of that history but mostly hones in on two major points: Stockmen trying to destroy the Krang and Triceration taking down the Krang. Triceration is more on the universal scale while Stockmen focuses on the personal scale. Both are interesting, and can only lead to one conclusion in my mind….this will be our next big story arc for TMNT. We haven’t experienced the dimension jumping enough with this new series and having the Krang be our main enemy fits in perfectly.

The whole issue and Utrom Empire had this old school vibe to it which added to the pleasure when reading it. If I open a new TMNT issue, it is obvious that I opened something adapted. When reading this issue, you feel 6 years old again dying to dig out your old action figures. For me, I think the art had a lot to do with the overall feel. The series has played out well with its introduction, so hopefully we can keep up the beat.


Eric: BUY

This is a very interesting spin-off. Mainly it focuses on the Rise and Fall of Krang and the relationship that is told through Fugitoid and Baxter Stockman. Really Fugitoid holds the answer to bringing back the Utrom Empire. This is all very interesting and makes it point but I feel it a little lack luster.  I love the history here behind Krang and why he has to move to earth. I just preferred that he was just an evil master mind bent on domination.  This in essence is what he is. The interesting is how he lost his home planet by the revolt of the Triceratons or at least the beginning of it. There is some nice action seeing Krang actually fight in his suit is pretty damn awesome.  You also see Fugitoid actually have some emotion and take action instead of running away in parts of this book. But the story doesn’t hold my attention very well though.

The art style works but is just a little flat on some characters. The biggest is the Turtles I’m not a fan of these turtles. The main character of Stockman, Krang, and Fugitoid are very detailed but when you get to some characters like Mikey and Donny it goes flat because it’s only a page or two of them. I guess you can tell where the time we spent in the art. On plus side of that detail you can see a lot of expression of Krang, the Triceratons, and Stockman. You can feel the deceit, pain and scared emotion each one of them put out. All in all I would have to say borrow this book it captures my interest but I would feel bad missing out on it too.


Dustin: BORROW

It’s not a bad issue, but I don’t really see how it fits in with the events that just took place in the ongoing TMNT series. Also it’s the side of TMNT that I never got into; the parallel universe junk never really added anything to the Turtles story other than Krang. I like it when they’re moving and shaking on Earth, but I could care less about them before earth. I know that sounds like a contradiction, it’s because it is. That’s the problem with that side of things… they’re weak and so it takes a lot to make them good and so far they’re still the weakest aspect of the TMNT reboot.

Also I hate Fugitoid. He sucks. He’s not an interesting character and his action figure is boring. I remember I got him when I ran out of figures to buy… I was still disappointed with my purchase. Let’s just say he’s not much better in the comics. Also I hate to bag on Andy Kuhn again, but I don’t like his Turtles. He seems to be able to illustrate everything else in the TMNT-verse but the Turtles. Someone must like him though because they keep giving him Turtle books. Personally I think this issue could have been amazing if they had put the artist from the Bebop and Rocksteady special on it. As it is, you only kind of need to know what’s happening so that you’re not out of the loop on the core TMNT book and so it’s a “borrow” for me.

Score: 2 Borrows and a Buy

Writer: Paul Allor Artist: Andy Kuhn Publisher: IDW Publishing Price: $3.99 Release Date: 1/22/14