Lovecraftian horror has “infested” the IDW Universe (from Transformers to G.I. Joe), and while Infestation 2 may be hit or miss depending on what you’re into, this first issue of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles tie-in far exceeded expectations. It sounded cool to begin with- the TMNT going up against Lovecraftian horrors. Seems hard to screw up, and happily, Tristan Jones, Mark Torres, and Jay Fotos have done their jobs well.
Understandably, many Turtles fans may think of passing on this one, considering the Donatello one-shot came out last week and #7 of the new ongoing series the week before, but anyone who has ever loved the Turtles- or H.P. Lovecraft- should give this first installment of a 2 issue mini-series a go. You won’t be disappointed.
Torres draws with an almost Mignola-esque style, and the colors by Fotos really make his work pop. Both the art and the coloring are just as important as the writing in a horror story, and these guys really set the mood with what they present in this issue. From the detail in the background, to the expressions of the Turtles, the pacing of individual panels, and the look of the actual monsters themselves- this issue was a home run for the art team.
Jones does a solid job finding individual voices with the Turtles, and this is especially evident with a scared-out-of-his-shell-but-tries-not-to-show-it Michelangelo, and an overly-interested-in-the-science-of-the-matter Donatello. He also leaves at the sewer door any corny jokes or euphemisms that would otherwise spoil the horror vibe. Fans will be grateful that Jones and his artistic team allow the Turtles to actually wield their weapons as they’re meant to be used- yes, this means Leonardo cuts and stabs things.
This issue will also pique the interest of Lovecraft fans with references to Dunwich and Bloch, and the symbolism that goes with those proper nouns.
As a side note, I have it on good authority that the creative team wanted to make this mini much darker than it actually turned out to be, but Nickelodeon kept putting the breaks on it and demanding re-writes due to it not meshing with their “kids friendly” Turtles mold. While it would have been cool to see this story go a step further into the darkness, it still pulls off the horror angle with an “A” grade, especially when considering it’s incorporating the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Pick this up today and look forward to #2, because the ending isn’t a bright one. Also, hope for a TMNT/Hellboy crossover one day, because that would be totally rad. Rating: 5/5