Sophie Campbell’s first year on IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was a big success. Campbell did a great taking everything that Tom Waltz built over his legendary run on TMNT to create a status quo that has brought a new energy to the franchise. Everything around the Mutant Town that has been established has played well to evolve who the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are and move them to embrace being the leaders Splinter raised them to be. In the process we’ve been introduced to a lot of great characters and have had past characters be integrated into ways that grows what the TMNT are about. Now with so much groundwork established how will Campbell kick off her second year on TMNT? Let’s find out with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #113.
Story Consulting: Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz
Writer & Artist: Sophie Campbell
Colorist: Ronda Pattison
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: One month ago in the 79th Dimension of Null-Time, a future version of Lita steals the Time Scepter. Renet tries to stop Lita but Lita still takes off as she wants to fix her family.
In the present day, Karai has Koya and Bludgeon load up Tokka and Rahzar on a helicopter. While in the air Tokka and Rahzar get unruly and cause the helicopter to crash.
Tokka and Rahzar pop out of the wreckage from the crash and look for Karai, who they call “Mama.” Karai is shown heavily injured under debris from the crash.
Over at the Splinter Clan Dojo, Sheena tries to convince Jennika to continue her music career. Jennika says right now she has too much on her plate with things going on with dojo and Mutant Town community.
Jennika and Sheena then join the others for the day’s class. During the training Sheena’s wig comes off. Sheena leaves after this.
Jennika catches up to Sheena. Sheena opens up about how she feels losing her identity as a person. Jennika tells Sheena she is not alone as they all, including her, have gone through feeling similar after the mutation. Sheena thanks Jennika for talking and kisses her. This surprises Jennika and Sheena apologizes. As Sheena walks away Jennika is shown thinking of her old life.
Over in Michelangelo brings in Mona as a guest for his radio show. Michelangelo interviews Mona about the upcoming Mutant Town election and situation with the Mutanimals. Mona says that they have to create a place where people are held accountable and that starts with Hob’s and the Mutanimals, who are responsible for everything that’s happened to them.
Michelangelo then asks Mona about the criticism she and Jay (a mutant poison dart frog) have of the Splinter Clan. Mona says that while the Splinter Clan have done good in stabilizing things in Mutant Town but they need to use their power and skills to effect actual change. Michelangelo thanks Mona for being honest with him as that is what he wants to know so they can all improve things.
As the show is wrapping up April O’Neil, Sally Pride, Jay, and Hob are all shown listening to the interview.
After the show Michelangelo joins his family for the class but is told they already completed the training.
Lita from the future suddenly appears and tells everyone that they need to save Karai. Seeing Lita carrying the Time Scepter, Michelangelo immediately jumps at going with Lita but Jennika says they can’t just blindly trust Lita saying she is who she is.
Lita reveals that she has come from the future in hopes of having the Splinter Clan and Karai’s Foot Clan make peace and Jennika follows through with creating a band. She says that does not happen everything will fall apart in the future. Not everyone is convinced this is the truth. Lita then brings up what she knows about Leonardo and the others.
Seeing that everyone is still having hard time believing her story Lita reveals that in the year 2022 all of New York City is mutated and turned into Mutant City. She goes on to say that this causes everyone to be singularly focused on the war for power between the Splinter Clan and Foot Clan. During the war Karai is killed and this causes the rest Foot Clan to launch a full on offensive that destroys the Splinter Clan Dojo and slowly drive everyone apart.
After the Foot Clan win Raphael becomes a mercenary for hire, Donatellow is turned into a war-cyborg, Michelangelo becomes a famous journalist, Alopex leads an assassins guild and is mortal enemies with Raphael, Jennika turns into a crime boss, and Leonardo just disappears. This all leaves Lita alone until she is adopted by Renet, who trains her as a Time Lord.
As everyone is in shock over their future selves fate Lita says she came back to this point in time because this is where she discovered was a flashpoint. The Turtles argue what they should do but Leonardo convinces them to go with Lita to rescue Karai.
The team quickly finds Karai, Koya, and Bludgeon heavily injured and take them back to their Dojo to receive treatment.
As they treat Karai, Koya, and Bludgeon wounds Leonardo tells Raphael to keep an eye on Jennika as she is not handling everything Lita revealed well.
Lita finds Jennika and reveals to her that Jennika is the one that ends up killing Karai. This pisses Jennika off even more because she though she wasn’t that person anymore but Lita says she is. Jennika tells Lita that she does not like that Lita is telling her she has no control over who she is.
Around the corner Raphael hears this entire discussion between Jennika and Lita go down from the shadows. End of issue.
The Good: Continuing the momentum from her first year on this series Sophie Campbell kicks things off strong for what is to come this next year plus with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #113. Even as the cast in this series has grown beyond the core Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles every character is set up to have their own story. Those stories all are given a connecting thread that binds them together to create even more intrigue for what plans Campbell her ongoing run.
Starting out with a version of Lita, who in the future becomes a Time Lord in training was a strong way to start off. We already saw a glimpse of this version of Lita back in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #105. Bringing her back and expanding on why we saw the future Lita come to the present was a good way of setting the stage for what comes next. Handling both the writing and art duties for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles helped in bring more weight to the reason why Lita is in the present. Both her dialogue and facial expression helped explain why Lita felt risking changing the future was worth it to her.
Future Lita’s presence also helped to further bring Jennika into the world that the rest of her brothers have been so accustomed to by this point. We see that with how the other Turtles, particularly Michelangelo, was willing to trust Future Lita after her first explanation of who she is. It showed that while she has shared many experiences with the other Turtles that Jennika isn’t accustomed to the supernatural or multiverse elements of the franchise.
This also worked to further push how Jennika’s character arc is also about figuring out how to balance out her new life. We see that with how she is tells Sheena that she is putting her music career to the side while focusing on her job at the dojo and helping stabilize Mutant Town. Because of that hearing that she fully gives into her killer instinct by being the one who kills Karai in the future and becomes a crime boss is not what she wants to hear. Jennika feels like she has come far already and someone telling her she will eventually go back to her old ways not sitting well with her is understandable. It all comes back to if Jennika, along with her brothers, can find balance in her life in how she helps others and things she has fun with.
How much all of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are dealing with is nicely highlighted through the interview Michelangelo does with Mona Lisa. The conversation between Michelangelo and Mona lays out how the Splinter Clan Dojo was just step one in helping make Mutant Town a place that is safe for all mutants to live in. It all spoke to how the rush to wall off all mutants left it open for Hobs and the Mutanimals to get corrupted by the power they had as a group of enforcers that were already established. Having some system of actual governing will help everyone living in Mutant Town possibly have better lives.
This is a good role for Michelangelo to have as he will most understand that there is a lot of works his brothers and allies ahead of him. Being open to the criticism that Mona and Jay have show that Michelangelo does want to be part of positive direction for the future. Which worked well off how Mona character arc has developed to position her to be an activist within Mutant Town. It’ll be very interesting how Michelangelo and Mona each use their peaceful methods in the election that will be held for Mutant Town.
All of this set the stage well for how shocking the revelations that Future Lita brought to the present truly were. Because just as everything was looking like it was heading in a good direction we learn that the current Mutant Town status quo will explode into a full on war for control of New York City between the Splinter and Foot Clans. That throws a huge wrench in what everyone has been trying to do in their new roles.
Learning what everyone’s future possibly is makes what Karai decides to do next most interesting. We’ve seen how Karai has been trying to use the current mutant situation to strengthen her Foot Clan. That is once again shown with her forcing Hob to give her Tokka and Rahzar. Because of this direction she has been on, it’ll be interesting how she takes learning about the dark future they are all on right now. She is definitely the biggest wild card in all of this.
The Bad: Nothing
Overall: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #113 is strong start to Sophie Campbell’s second year on this series. The entire situation within Mutant Town has become even more challenging for the Splinter Clan as all of the Turtles deal with what their positions are within the community. The appearance of a Time Lord has thrown a major wrench into the current status quo that has created many questions for what will happen next. All of those question continues to position Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as a must read every month.
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