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Tales of the TMNT #52 [Review]

Quick Rating: Good
Story Title: The Crystal at the Heart of the World

Investigating a worrisome shutdown of an important machine, the Turtles and Utroms find themselves on Moo Mesa, where they encounter a plot that might just be bigger than the TMNT and C.O.W. Boys of Moo Mesa combined can handle…

talesofthetmnt052Plot: Murphy, Brown and Laird
Script: Murphy
Thumbnails: Ryan Brown
Art: Dario Brizuela
Letters: Eric Talbot
Frontispiece: Michael Dooney
Back-Up Story: The Mission by: Dan Berger
Editor in Chief: Peter Laird
Managing Editor: Dan Berger
Design: Eric Talbot
Front Cover: Dario Brizuela and Steve Lavigne
Back Cover: Fernando Leon Gonzalez

The issue opens with the traditional frontispiece with one of the Turtles in cowboy getup, fixin’ to tell us a story…one that begins with the opposite of a certain cliche, as a figure on horseback in the desert rides toward us–OUT OF the sunset rather than off into it. We quickly see that it is an Utrom, who has infiltrated the place known as Moo Mesa. He shuts down a device to spark his own agenda into motion–though the shutting-down of the device draws the attention of Utroms on Earth who soon journey to Moo Mesa (with Turtles and Casey in tow) to investigate the device’s shutdown. (Re)uniting with their now “old allies”, the C.O.W.Boys of Moo Mesa, and a new (deja-vu-inspiring) ally, the immediate threat is faced, while yet a greater threat is revealed.

This is the third issue to unite the Moo Mesa crew with the Mutant Turtles crew, and I’m certainly enjoying the recurring crossover. Writer Ryan Brown has done plenty of work in the TMNT-verse, and created the C.O.W. Boys (you might remember them from a two-season animated series). It seems only natural to bring the two properties together for another go-round, and it’s done so to great effect. While perhaps part of a larger meta-arc, this issue stands alone fairly nicely–we have a good introduction bringing characters to the forefront, rising into the action, a climax, and then things settle out…both closing this story and setting up the next (due next year).

The art works very well here–visually, it has the appearance of an “animated” sort of style, without losing the feel of being its own original comic work. While I don’t know any of the C.O.W. Boys characters well enough to recognize individuals, I do notice how hard it is to tell the Turtles apart–it’s only dialog or visible weapons that allows that discernment. Still, all fits together quite well, and neither set of characters seems out-of-place in the presence of the others.
For me, the highlight of the issue is a guest-appearance by a certain transdimensional Cowlick. This has me totally chomping at the bit for the next part of this series of issues and itching for the long-promised Forever War–I actually got my hopes up that this issue would actually kick that off, but we’re left with a simple “To Be Continued in Tales of the TMNT #58…”

There’s also a two-page micro-story of no small amusement to close out the issue…which is another thing this title has going for it. As a package, we get a nice cover, an extra artist’s work on the frontispiece, a 28-paged story, a 2-page backup story, a pin-up page with another artist’s take on characters found in this issue, and a full-color image on the back-cover worthy of being a poster…with nary an ad to be found. A comic this pure to its title/self–and for the (relatively low) price point–is hard to come by, and such a real treat.

If you’re looking for decompressed, deep character-studies, you’ll probably be disappointed. Looking for a simple, old-fashioned TMNT adventure with the bonus of having the C.O.W. Boys of Moo Mesa along, this issue’s for you. Recommended to any TMNT fan, C.O.W. Boys fan, someone contemplating checking out “a” Turtles book, or anyone just looking for an enjoyable single-issue that packs the value in under a single cover.


Story: 4/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

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