TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES DIMENSION X #5 BY DEVIN GRAYSON, CRAIG ROUSSEAU, AND LEONARDO ITO
Plot
Art
Characterization
Summary
The final issue of the series tackles themes of individualism versus collectivism, marginalization, and the impact of war. While TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES DIMENSION X #5 doesn't quite go out with a bang, the stage is set for the Trial of Krang in TMNT #74. As a standalone series, DIMENSION X has been a great expansion of the TMNT universe.
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The fate of planet Totus’ ecosystem lies in the shells of the Turtles. Only one problem stands in the Turtles’ way: another band of mutants who threatens to destroy Totus. The Turtles look for their fifth and final witness to testify in the Trial of Krang. Welcome to TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES DIMENSION X #5, written by Devin Grayson, with pencils and inks by Craig Rousseau and colors by Leonardo Ito.

In the previous issue, the Turtles escaped from Palmadise City with Ace Duck, a fugitive who was on the run from a very angry mob boss. In issue five, Hakk-r arrives on Totus before the Turtles and searches for a witness named “Occuli.” He is immediately greeted by a polyglot, a humanoid plant who offers to give Hakk-r a guided tour of the planet and bring him to Occuli. However, Hakk-r soon discovers that to find one witness is to find many. Every denizen on the planet Totus is part of a single organism that shapes the planet’s vision.

READ: Need a recap? Catch up with our review of TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES DIMENSION X #4!

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES DIMENSION X #5
Image courtesy of IDW Publishing

The Occuli Collective

The Turtle crew arrives and get mistaken for tourists by the aforementioned polyglot. After the Turtles reveal that they are here for a matter of intergalactic justice and ask to see Occuli, the polyglot reveals how Totus works. The Occuli are eye-flowers and the driving force behind the planet. They also cannot speak. The polyglot exchanges pleasantries with the Turtles. Then the polyglot gets a distress call: Hakk-r is laying siege on the Occuli. Hakk-r manages to flee after the Turtles thwart him. Compared to previous issues, I think the battle feels anti-climatic because, evidently, Hakk-r has a much larger role to play in TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES series’ issue 74 — which this series ties into.

After some more exposition, we learn that Krang did illegal weapons testing in the planet’s jungle and created a wasteland. As a result, Krang altered the biology of the environment, and its inhabitants either died or mutated. The polyglot host takes the Turtles to the wasteland, where the area’s lone mutant named Poly-95480 ambushes them and incapacitates Michaelangelo. Poly-95480 turns out to be the witness that the Turtles need to testify against Krang. They manage to convince Poly-95480 to become Totus’ ambassador and leave the planet with the Turtles.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES DIMENSION X #5
Image courtesy of IDW Publishing

Zak and Kala Finally Shine

One of the biggest complaints that I’ve had with this series is that the Turtles’ Neutrino companions, Zak and Kala, haven’t been characterized aside from being mechanics and the Hot Rod’s pilot and navigator. Thankfully TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES DIMENSION X #5 finally gives Zak and Kala a chance to shine beyond a few lines in one panel.

READ: New to the series? Start with our review of TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES DIMENSION X #1!

Zak and Kala are in charge of shaking off a swarm of alien insects that chased the crew to Totus while the Turtles investigate the planet. At one point, Zak and Kala humorously decide to play hide and seek with the swarm. As a result, I think it’s nice to see Zak and Kala given a subplot (even if it’s basically to pick up the Turtles) since the pair has been along for the ride (no pun intended) since issue #1.

If anything, with the focus of the issue being strongly on Totus, I think the Turtles work well around the plot. Mikey references ATTACK OF THE KILLER TOMATOES at one point in the story. In fact, Mikey gets some funny moments throughout this issue including making a reference to the THREE MUSKETEERS. Once again, Raphael becomes a voice of reason in this issue. He explains to Poly-95480 that the Turtles are a family, after having captured her. The Turtles retain their unique personalities without being the focus of TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES DIMENSION X #5’s plot.

Totus-ly Colorful Art

Craig Rousseau’s pencils and inks are cartoony and lively compared to issue# 4’s more realistic style. The Turtles wear over sized masks and look like the Nickelodeon animated series versions of themselves. Rousseau’s art feels energetic with his use of sketchy lines and angular backdrops. It has been fascinating to watch the art change over the course of this series with each new team. The art feels fresh every time the Turtles enter a new planet.

READ: Want another licensed comic series to check out? Here’s our review of ANGRY BIRDS: FURIOUS FOWL!

Rousseau’s art works incredibly well with Leonardo Ito’s simple, flat colors because it reinforces the feel of a cartoon. In fact, sometimes I felt like was reading a webcomic such as PENNY ARCADE. Sometimes, simple is better. I quite like how Ito renders colorful panels with the use of green, red, yellow, and orange to emphasize the planetary theme of this installment. As a result, I think the colors give this issue a dream-like quality.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES DIMENSION X #5
                                                                                           Image courtesy of IDW Publishing

Closing Thoughts on TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES DIMENSION X #5

All in all, this last issue does a fine job wrapping things up. Although the plot isn’t quite as strong as in previous issues, I think TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES DIMENSION X #5 makes up for this by having solid characterization and good, colorful art. Additionally, we finally get a female witness for a change! Still, I would have liked a more epic showdown with Hakk-r and a more fleshed out backstory for Poly-95480.

If anything, fans of the main TMNT comics can look forward to seeing how this storyline pays off in TMNT #74. In the current arc of TMNT, Krang orders Hakk-r to do his bidding from prison while he awaits to stand trial for his war crimes at the titular Dimension X. Now that the Turtles have all the witnesses ready to testify, I’m excited to see how events unfold.

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