Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe: Volume 3

If you’re like me you love pizza, superheroes, and pop culture. Naturally, this led me to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I like many have come to love the four mutated brothers. Even though this book says Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on the cover, the key word here is Universe. Despite what some folks may have believed this book does not star the Ninja Turtles, and it barely even includes them at all. I would’ve thought that I would’ve been annoyed with a book set in the TMNT universe without the turtles. Fortunately, it looks like I was wrong.

This volume of TMNT Universe stories collects 3 tales within their amazing world. The anthology features a multitude of creators. Rich Doueck, Erik Burnham, and Sophie Campbell have writing credits in the book. Doueck writes the first story (“The Jersey Devil”), Burnham and Campbell write the second (“Karai’s Path”), and Sophie Campbell does pretty much everything on the last story (“Prey”). In fact, Sophie Campbell does the majority of the art in this book, although her work is colored over by Brittany Peer in “Karai’s Path”. The art for the first story, however, is Aaron Conley, with Triona Farrell on colors. Overall I thought the creative teams performed respectably.

I loved the first standalone feature of this volume. I really thought the story stood by itself well, and the characters interacted great. “The Jersey Devil” made for a very entertaining story, and I would enjoy a series with these characters. I really like all of the various mutants seen throughout the book. Between solid character development, cool equipment, awesome mutants, and a little bit of a car chase, the first story hit a lead-off home run.

The second story, however, was a little bit mediocre. The art was good enough, I enjoyed the characters, the action was cool, but the plot was hard to get behind. The story didn’t flow correctly, and there were a couple of plot holes, and things that didn’t make any sense. These kinds of things bug me, but I can get over it if there’s enough legit material surrounding the story. In this instance, there may have just barely been enough in the story for me to hang on. Parts of the tale were cool, but overall the story lacked. This middle story happens to be the majority of the book so that aspect was disappointing. The story wasn’t horrible it just wasn’t that good. Fortunately, there was decent art, and I liked the characters.
The last story in this volume seemed rather sort, but that was fine with me. The story was very strange, but it was still worth the read. Even though the art on the second story was okay, I really loved the art in the last story! It may seem strange since Sophie Campbell did both stories, but she really nailed it with the last one. I could’ve cared less about the story, but the art was amazing. I noticed that Campbell seems to do a better job of drawing mutants and monsters than she does people. For this kind of story, it was great. I loved loved loved the visuals for the last story. Sophie Campbell shows great talent in the conclusion of volume 3 of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe”.
Overall it was an entertaining read. I wish that the second story could’ve given me more of what the first tale offered while maintaining the artistic-level of the last story. That anthology would’ve been amazing. Nonetheless, this book intrigues me and has opened my eyes to the rest of the TMNT Universe, which is largely what I think the series tries to do. I love the Ninja Turtles to death, and this book helped me accept the idea of exploring deeper into the TMNT universe without the Turtles.
 (W) Rich Douek, Erik Burnham (A) Aaron Conley (A/CA) Sophie Campbell

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