TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES DIMENSION X #1 BY PAUL ALLOR AND PABLO TUNICA
Plot
Art
Characterization
Summary
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES DIMENSION X #1 is a smartly written tale of deceit, emotions, and physics. While it's a bit hard to recommend to new readers, fans of the ongoing IDW Publishing TMNT series will enjoy it. Tunica's art alone is worth the price of admission because it invokes a bit of MONSTRESS.
90 %
A HEROICALLY FUN START
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Witness Protection Program

The turtles embark on an intergalactic adventure with IDW Publishing’s TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES DIMENSION X #1 written by Paul Allor and drawn by Pablo Tunica. This is a spin-off side story. It is not technically necessary to read TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES #73, though it is suggested. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES DIMENSION X #1 finds the turtles searching for witnesses to testify against Warlord Krang at his trial before an assassin named Hakk-r can get him. The witness turns out to be an empath named B’een, an alien from a race that can sense emotions and change colors based on them.

READ: What do turtles, rabbits, and Japan have in common? Find out in our review of TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES/USAGI YOJIMBO #1!

teenage mutant ninja turtles dimension x #1
Image courtesy of IDW Publishing

You’ve Got Colonialism in My Turtles

As a standalone series, I think TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES DIMENSION X #1’s plot is quite fun. Planet Go’mo’s physics are emotion based which the turtles graciously take advantage of once they figure it out: they use it to navigate the planet, rescue B’een, and defeat Hakk-r. We also get some backstory on how Krang and the Utroms colonized B’een’s planet and enslaved him and his people for nefarious purposes. I think it gives B’een a strong motivation to testify against Krang so it was necessary to contextualize his relationship with Krang.

READ: Curious about indigenous cultures? We recently had a round table discussion on MOONSHOT: THE INDIGENOUS COMICS COLLECTION VOL 1!

I think it’s fascinating to see Allor tackle themes of colonialism because it’s always been present in the TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLE mythos. For example, in the 2003 animated series, one of the later seasons featured the Shredder as a dystopian dictator who enslaved the Utroms and most of the Earth. As a result, it makes B’een a nuanced, tragic character that is implied to have PTSD given that, as the last of his species, he has trust issues. Because of said trust issues, B’een gets deceived and captured by Hakk-r. Eventually, the Turtles catch up to him and rescue B’een after an epic showdown with Hakk-r.

teenage mutant ninja turtles dimension x #1
Image courtesy of IDW Publishing

An Emotionally Driven Planet

Hakk-r bucks the assassin trope. While he is deceitful, he is a connoisseur of the arts. The first page of TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES DIMENSION X #1 finds him drinking tea, reading a book, and listening to music. Hakk-r reminded me of the Big Bad Wolf from “Little Red Riding Hood.” After B’een remarks that Hakkr has many weapons and books on how to use them, Hakkr replies “all the better to eat you with.” I found that moment particularly amusing because, in one of the panels, Hakk-r holds a tea cup with his pinkie out.

The emotion based physics also leads to some hilarious banter between the turtles as well as with Hakk-r. For example, when the turtles confront Hakk-r, Michaelangelo unintentionally reveals that the planet’s emotions makes them stronger — much to Leonardo’s dismay. However, Hakk-r unintentionally reveals his strategic advantage as well which Mikey points out to Leo, making it a funny scene.

READ: Mutants and SDCC 2017 have one thing in common: here’s our interview with NEW MUTANTS artist Bill Sinkiewicz!

That being said, I think readers new to the series will get lost with all the races and characters that get referenced throughout the story. The TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLE series combines characters introduced in the original Mirage Comics series, the 1987 cartoon series, the 2003 cartoon series, as well new characters introduced with this series. I think this series is hard to recommend to new readers. Having not read the ongoing series, I was confused at times. Still, I think the issue is written quite well thanks in part to the snappy, witty dialogue.

Shell Shockingly Great Art

Tunica’s version of the Turtles is realistic like the 1990 TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES movie. The panels have so much energy in them from the very first page to the last one. I love the sense of gravitas that each character has as each character has a distinguished silhouette. It is so much fun to look at Tunica’s art to the point where I think it would have worked well even without the balloons.

READ: For another comic book series with great art, we recommend MONSTRESS VOL. 2!

In addition, I loved how Tunica’s colors brought the action to life in TEENAGE MUTANT DIMENSION X #1. Hakk-r stands out from the turtles because of his ominous red outfit and glowing yellow eyes beneath his hood. As a result, his alien posture makes him an imposing figure in dynamic panels. I also quite enjoyed the way Tunica colored the turtles in distinct shades of green to differentiate each turtle. Michelangelo has yellow-green skin tone whereas Leonardo has a blue-green skin tone on the polar opposite end. All in all, the colors are a visual treat in this issue.

teenage mutant ninja turtles dimension x #1
Image courtesy of IDW Publishing

Closing Thoughts on TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES DIMENSION X #1

All in all, TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES DIMENSION X #1 is a fun spin-off series from the ongoing TMNT comic series. Fans of the ongoing series will love this issue. That being said, I think the art is a marvel to look at, and Hakk-r is a fun villain. I look forward to seeing what predicament the turtles find themselves in next.

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