Wednesday, November 1, 2017

TMNT (IDW) #75

Publication date: October 25, 2017

Story: Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, Tom Waltz
Script: Tom Waltz
Art: Cory Smith, Mateus Santolouco, Chris Johnson, Damian Couceiro
Colors: Ronda Pattison
Letters: Shawn Lee 
Edits: Bobby Curnow

"The Trial of Krang, Part Three"


In Dimension X, Queen Maligna unleashes the full fury of her Malignoid Swarm on the planet Neutrino.  Triceraton Commander Zom orders her fleet to take the front line and they're flanked by Zak, Kala, Ace Duck and a fighter unit he convinced to join his cause.  Unfortunately, the Swarm is so huge, many Malignoids slip through.

On the surface of the planet, Dask rallies an army of Neutrino soldiers to defend the capital.  He outfits the Leonardo, Raphael and Michelangelo with armor, jet-packs and energized weapons so they can help fight.

Meanwhile, Donatello and the Fugitoid guard the witnesses until the trial of Krang can resume.  B'een gives off an early warning, but too late, as Hakk-R bursts in and attacks, outmatching Donnie one-on-one.  Luckily, Polly's pollen blast stuns him and he runs back into Judge Gorath's quarters (where he'd killed the judge, earlier).  Anemon out-muscles the weakened Hakk-R and subdues him just as Malignoids begin to invade the chamber.  Leatherhead takes out some while the other Turtles swoop in and destroy the rest.

Knowing they'd need a plan to stop the invasion at its source, Donnie gets an idea from Polly's pollen.  He asks if she could release all of her pollen at once, and she reveals that she can, but doing so would put her into a coma and she would have to return to her homeworld to rejuvenate.   Donnie then convinces Stump to make a deal with Hakk-R who begrudgingly accepts.

Hakk-R then teleports onto Maligna's mothership and releases polly's pollen into the vent system.  The hallucinagen causes Maligna to panic and withdraw her Swarm, ordering them to retreat.  As the battle concludes, Donnie tells the others that he had Stump promise Hakk-R double what Krang was paying him, plus lifetime box tickets to Grappleganza.

The next day, the trial resumes, though King Zenter is called to preside in place of the late Judge Gorath.  Leatherhead is called to the stand to testify and he relates the story of his origin and imprisonment on Earth by General Krang.  His grievance has less to do with Krang's penchant for destruction but is instead aimed at his recklessness with creation, as Leatherhead resents being a freak of nature with cognizance of his existence.

General Krang is finally called to the stand and he defiantly admits to all of his actions, but proceeds to defend them.  He insists that everything he did was for the survival of the Utrom race and asks King Zenter if he would not go to the same lengths to protect the Neutrino people.  Closing statements are then made, as the Fugitoid relates the death of his family and his transformation at the hands of Krang and claims that there is no justification for genocide.  The defense reiterates that Krang did what he had to do to save his people from extinction and that there is no way to play nice in war.

King Zenter leaves to ponder his verdict and the Turtles, royal family and witnesses are allowed into the courtroom to watch the verdict be delivered.  Zenter soon returns and says that due to conflict of interest, he cannot pass judgment on Krang or sentence him on his own.  Instead, he sought counsel from Ma'Riell of the Utroms, who has agreed to imprison Krang for life on Burnow Island, Earth.  Lieutenant Kleve and Corporal Montuoro then enter through a portal to take Krang into custody.  Enraged at the verdict, Leatherhead promptly EATS Krang and then escapes to Burnow Island through the portal.

The two startled Utrom guards admit to King Zenter that perhaps a quick death was a better end for the General than a lifetime in confinement and return to Burnow Island.  Once there, they curse Leatherhead for taking their true leader from them and vow not to let Ma'Riell know what has happened.  Instead, they will work to revive Colonel Ch'Rell and finish Krang's work.

Back on Neutrino, Zak and Kala gather up the witnesses and help them all get home.  The Fugitoid decides to stay behind and help his people build a better defense against the Malignoids.  Dask then helps the Turtles teleport back home.

Meanwhile, the royal family contacts Commander Zom to tell her that their bargain will be honored.  Wanting to right the wrong the Utroms inflicted on the Triceratons by taking them from their homeworld long ago, he offers to teleport them all back to their proper dimension so they can return to Earth, where they belong.  Zom and her forces then cross through the portal and disappear.  Zenter hopes that all Earthlings are as kind as the Turtles and will find a place for their long-lost brethren.

On Earth, the EPF gets a warning of the invading Triceraton fleet and Agent Bishop is called to action.

Turtle Tips:

*This story is continued from TMNT (IDW) #74.  The story continues in TMNT (IDW) #76.

*The events of the TMNT/Ghostbusters 2 miniseries take place between this and next issue.

*To celebrate the release of the 75th issue of the series, IDW partnered with local comic shops for a TMNT Day event.  It was not widely promoted and very few shops in the country participated in the events.  The TMNT Day 2017 Sampler special was released as a giveaway alongside this issue.

*This issue was originally published with 14 fucking variant covers: Cover A by Cory Smith and Ronda Pattison, Cover B by Kevin Eastman and Tomi Varga, Retailer Incentive by Ben Bates, AOD Collectibles Exclusive by Hal Laren, Comics and Ponies Exclusive by Eastman and Varga, Fried Pie Exclusive by Veronica Fish, Giant Robot Exclusive by Casey Coller, Knowhere Games & Comics/Brave New World Exclusive by Deth P./Jesse Heagy and David Baron, TMNT Day Exclusive by Jon Lam, Planet Awesome Collectibles Exclusive by Eastman and Joe Sinnot, Planet Awesome Collectibles Exclusive black and white version, Planet Awesome Collectives Exclusive by Humberto Ramos, and Planet Awesome Collectibles Exclusive blank sketch cover.


I can say that this finale to "The Trial of Krang" left me wanting for nothing.  While the Turtles sort of sat out the previous installment, they got lots of action throughout this double-length finale.  The witnesses, too, got their licks in and I don't feel anyone was particularly shortchanged.

The first thing I feel I should address is how they handled Hakk-R in this conclusion.  He was introduced as being this unstoppable badass, but throughout the Dimension X miniseries, he got his ass kicked so much he sort of turned into a gag villain.  I was curious how he was going to be portrayed in this finale; if his decay in threat would be acknowledged, and if so, how they would work that out.  There's a happy compromise, as Hakk-R only goes up against Donatello in a solo match, and while Hakk-R may not be much of challenge for the Turtles in a group anymore, he can still trounce them one at a time.  Polly winds up being the hero of that confrontation, in something of a surprise, and then Hakk-R and Polly kinda-sorta team-up to be the REAL saviors of the battle!

Actually, all the witnesses get their chance to contribute, with B'een sounding an alarm, Amenon and Eyemo subduing the poisoned Hakk-R and Stump using his influence to convince the mercenary to switch sides.  And then there's Ace Duck, who skips out on the trial to fight the battle up in space.  No one introduced throughout this rather long arc gets left behind and this is a conclusion that definitely feels like the sum of all its parts.

I suppose the only character who gets a bit skipped over is Queen Maligna.  She's been a looming threat since this arc began, but she only appears for a few pages and is dispatched in a rather easy fashion.  But in this case, I see her as being more of a tease for a future storyline; whenever the Turtles decide to return to Dimension X, she'll be the Big Bad that's waiting for them.  And anyway, Krang using her to hedge his bets was a nice callback to TMNT Adventures #12, when he did the same thing.

The trial gets its due attention at the end of the book and the drama doesn't let up.  Zenter taking Gorath's place was a great example of misdirection, luring the reader into assuming what his verdict would be only to give us something that we didn't even know was an option at the end.  He's guilty, yes, but not to be sentenced by the Neutrinos, but by the Utroms.  When Kleve and Montouro show up, you start to guess that we won't be seeing the last of Krang and then CHOMP.  Nah, he's dead.

THAT was a kickass shocker and I ain't even a little bit mad.  I think Krang's gotten about all the attention he deserves in the IDW series and the trial was a natural conclusion to his arc.  And even so, with Ch'Rell waiting in the wings, we know that Krang's work isn't finished even if he's currently nothing but fragments in Leatherhead's stool.  I'm curious how Ch'Rell will be characterized in this series to differentiate him from Krang, but we've probably got a long wait to see how that rolls out.

Zenter's naivete in turning the Triceratons loose on Earth was maybe a bit annoying, but when his only encounter with Earthlings was through the Turtles, I can see how he'd make the mistake that we're all as goody-goody as they are.  Still, he maybe should've asked the Fugitoid for some counsel on human nature before setting a warrior race and their fleet of destruction on an unsuspecting planet.  The next arc should be a good one.

Also, Commander Zom is apparently female.  That makes her the SECOND female Triceraton in the franchise's history, coming in behind General Zera from the Half-Shell Heroes: Blast to the Past cartoon.  Maybe someday we'll be able to count the number of female Triceratons on more than one hand.  Maybe in another 30 years.

Anyhow, while I found the Dimension X miniseries stretch of this arc to be a little uneven, I think the ongoing's chapters of "Trial of Krang" were all superb.  As a "milestone" issue, #75 perhaps lacks the game-changing feel of TMNT #50, but it still ends up being suitably big in terms of what it does to the landscape of the universe (or multiverse, I guess).  Now, we all just have to dig in for that long march to TMNT #100.  Can't wait.