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Old 12-24-2017, 02:07 PM   #1
Vegeta
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TMNT Universe Thoughts

I took a few year break from TMNT IDW after following it from 2011-2016. I'm been catching up and I'm nearly to the Trial of Krang Arc. Its good to see the main series never suffers from a big dip in quality which really speaks to the longevity of the TMNT and how strong the creative team are.

I started on the universe series as the main series keeps referencing it and I'm having a difficult time with it. I've read about 8 issues and the art, story telling, and entertainment factor just aren't there. The quality compared to the micro series or the flagship book feels like its not even in the same universe. Does this get better? Am I being too picky or should I just stick with the main title?

What are your thoughts on the universe series? Also why are issues 5 dollars?
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Old 12-24-2017, 02:57 PM   #2
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Well, imagine if all the IDW TMNT miniseries prior to universe had all been part of a numbered ongoing rather than isolated, and you'ce essentially got what Universe is. I enjoyed a bunch of those minis (Secret History of the Foot Clan, Mutanimals, the Microseries), felt lukewarm about some others (Turtles in Time, Utrom Empire) and only outright disliked one of them (Casey & April).

So Universe is gonna get the same reaction. Better to view it as a collection of miniseries and one-shots rather than a consistent ongoing and judge each story arc by its own merits. I mean, I really dug The War to Come and Metalhead 2.0, and I've REALLY REALLY dug some of the one-shots (The Rot in the Shell) but other arcs have left me feeling mixed (Toad Baron's Ball, Karai's Path).

I think one aspect of Universe that is unique from the previous isolated miniseries and does deserve some criticism is the back-ups. While they've all had story elements that tie into the ongoing narrative, none of them have been very appealing to me and are sometimes strung out way too long in comparison to the substance they're trying to say. If the book has to cost $5, I'd much rather the page space be given to the main story and the back-ups eliminated entirely. They did that with They Jersey Devil and that one-shot benefited tremendously from the extra elbow room.

So in regards to the question as to whether or not it gets better, that is sort of subjective, since I already admitted to liking some of the arcs you didn't. But you can expect some variety and just like the minis, the story arcs and creative teams don't stick around for long, so if you don't like something then you might like what comes after it.
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Old 12-24-2017, 06:06 PM   #3
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DrSpengs covered most of my thoughts. It's not an ongoing in itself, it's a companion book that houses all the mini-series and one-offs.

It's accomplished some awesome things in its own right: introduced Bishop, made Baxter Stockman a reluctant ally, brought Null back into play (three times by the end of the forthcoming Issues #19 and 20!), reintroduced Dreadmon and Wyrm, introduced a badass scorpion mutant, followed up on Karai and her two hench mutants...
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Old 12-24-2017, 09:00 PM   #4
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Well since Universe has completely different writers and artists than the main ongoing, of course it's going to be a mixed bag and some issues will be better than others. Tom Waltz writes every issue of the main series so that's why it feels more cohesive and the characters feel the same issue after issue.

That being said I loved most of Universe. The opening 4-parter with Bishop/EPF/Darkwater against the Turtles teaming up with Baxter was excellent. The Wyrm issue was a fun filler. I LOVED the Toad Baron 2-parter with Alopex/Angel because of the visuals. The Metalhead 2 parter was alright. The recent Karai 4-parter was very good and shockingly violent.

So it depends. The recent Triceraton backstory issues were kinda dull, but no harm done. I'd say I enjoyed at least 80% of Universe's issues.
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Old 12-25-2017, 09:02 AM   #5
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My only problem is that resources (time, money, available and willing artists) would have been better spent just used to crank out a second issue of the ongoing every month, which has so many sub-plots that seem to get dragged out forever because there is so much going on.

Now we've got another series introducing more characters and storylines to a TMNT legend that is already extremely cluttered.
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Old 12-25-2017, 03:26 PM   #6
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Well so far the Metalhead arc has been my favorite. A complex and dark sci-fi plot that I found pretty good. Have to agree that the back up stuff just isn't up to IDW'S high standards, I would prefer the main stories just be longer.

No offense to Eastman as he is a creator and his covers are my favorite but his modern writing makes me cringe and just doesn't fit IDW'S tone at all. In volume one I'm guessing he wrote that Leo stand alone story.

Thanks for the responses.
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Old 12-25-2017, 04:07 PM   #7
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My only problem is that resources (time, money, available and willing artists) would have been better spent just used to crank out a second issue of the ongoing every month, which has so many sub-plots that seem to get dragged out forever because there is so much going on.

Now we've got another series introducing more characters and storylines to a TMNT legend that is already extremely cluttered.
How would you have the IDW team double their output each month?
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Old 12-25-2017, 04:32 PM   #8
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It's my personal opinion that the back-ups have been mostly terrible.
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Old 12-25-2017, 07:07 PM   #9
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No offense to Eastman as he is a creator and his covers are my favorite but his modern writing makes me cringe and just doesn't fit IDW'S tone at all. In volume one I'm guessing he wrote that Leo stand alone story.
Kevin did do that Leonardo short, but for the most part he barely does any writing in IDW these days. His last annual was in 2014 and he's not done another once since, and all he's done is some short back-ups.

Universe is great because we're also getting 2 TMNT comics every month, but also it covers so many plot points the main series just doesn't have enough room for. With each issue only being 20 pages long, it takes a long time to cover an arc let alone give the huge cast of characters spotlight. If Universe didn't exist I don't know how they'd fit everything in.
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Old 12-25-2017, 11:37 PM   #10
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I wish Universe would shift back towards the turtles or something else at least. I am not digging this triceraton arc too much. I liked the initial arc with the Turtles and I liked Karia path a lot as well.

I agree with everyone else that the back story is necessary and not needed. The price is also killing this book as well. This book should honestly be a $2.99 book. The reason I say that is bc the product is inferior. And what I mean by that is the art and even the writing. I do not want to insult anyone who works on the book, but IDW's more experienced employees work on the main book and put out a more consistent and better quality. Or am I just crazy with my 2.99$ price idea/theory haha.

I will keep picking Universe up, bc it has produced good stories for the most part. Despite the $5 price
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Old 12-26-2017, 12:52 AM   #11
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The Karai arc I am enjoying more right now and I love Campbells art always so thats a plus but was disappointed she has left the foot behind.

I'd like to see more of Splinter leading the clan, the turtles were conflicted too quickly. It would have been fascinating to see them leading with Splinter longer. I'd argue side characters like Hob an amoral terrorist and Splinter, a loving but often obsessed and psychopathic mob boss are more complex and flawed characters making them more interesting than the actual turtles. I'm binge reading this stuff so I don't have the month to month perspective but this is definitely the first tmnt anything where I want to see more of Splinter than I do the turtles. Mikey is self righteous and means well but sometimes I just want to tell him to stfu with the no kill batman stuff. You're ninjas in a very hostile and violent story. We dont need to hear his sense of morality during every skirmish.
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Old 12-26-2017, 01:38 AM   #12
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I find the quality sways from story to story.

Karai's Path was awesome and surprising. It introduced new characters, got us caught up on Blugeon and Koya's traumas and how they were coping. It gave Karai the ability to reclaim her own agency and be in charge of her own group - where she had either been second in command or stripped of rank in a clan that she worked herself to the bone to resurrect. Of the Universe stories, Karai's Path was absolutely the best.

From The Heart, For the Herd is at the end for me. It was a disappointment and had a lot of contradictory information in backstory and character motivation from previous issues (and there's just something really squicky about Zog being romantically involved with his clone. Sure options are short, but...)
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Old 12-26-2017, 01:47 AM   #13
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I would like to see Bishop's backstory explored in Universe, it'd probably be easier to do there than taking up time in the main series. We still don't know what Bishop is given he seems part cyborg, but we know he had a human father.
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Old 12-26-2017, 01:53 PM   #14
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I find the quality sways from story to story.

Karai's Path was awesome and surprising. It introduced new characters, got us caught up on Blugeon and Koya's traumas and how they were coping. It gave Karai the ability to reclaim her own agency and be in charge of her own group - where she had either been second in command or stripped of rank in a clan that she worked herself to the bone to resurrect. Of the Universe stories, Karai's Path was absolutely the best.

From The Heart, For the Herd is at the end for me. It was a disappointment and had a lot of contradictory information in backstory and character motivation from previous issues (and there's just something really squicky about Zog being romantically involved with his clone. Sure options are short, but...)
Yes I am definitely appreciating the koya and Blugeon stuff as well. Long term consequences to losses in battle aren't often analyzed in comics with villains.
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Old 12-27-2017, 08:31 AM   #15
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The Karai arc I am enjoying more right now and I love Campbells art always so thats a plus but was disappointed she has left the foot behind.

I'd like to see more of Splinter leading the clan, the turtles were conflicted too quickly. It would have been fascinating to see them leading with Splinter longer. I'd argue side characters like Hob an amoral terrorist and Splinter, a loving but often obsessed and psychopathic mob boss are more complex and flawed characters making them more interesting than the actual turtles. I'm binge reading this stuff so I don't have the month to month perspective but this is definitely the first tmnt anything where I want to see more of Splinter than I do the turtles. Mikey is self righteous and means well but sometimes I just want to tell him to stfu with the no kill batman stuff. You're ninjas in a very hostile and violent story. We dont need to hear his sense of morality during every skirmish.
I wouldn't call Splinter 'psychopathic' and, ironically given that, I am more generous to Mikey's concerns but I actually would have enjoyed a longer arc with the Turtles as leaders of the Foot. That scene with Leo and Alopex teaching Foot Soldiers was really neat. How cool would a dark arc with the Turtle led Foot balancing alliances with the Purple Dragons, and perhaps the Mutanimals, against other threats, not unlike what we saw with the Phantoms? However...

The problem with this is that a situation where that happens would require a pretty drastic change to the status quo. Let me explain...sorry, this is going to take a bit:

Okay, first off, it seems clear by now that the Turtles are not going to start killing people. That's been the direction pretty much since day one of IDW. Mature storylines and all, the tension of resisting losing oneself to the urge to kill, even in the name of what would otherwise seem right, has been there since Raph and Splinter tracked down Hun, since the flashback to Japan where Yoshi, Teng Shen and their sons were killed and Splinter, in his micro, explicitly stated he would end the Shredder even if it cost him his soul, etc. If you think the Turtles should be the Punisher, or even Wolverine, the comic is going to be at odds with you.

That said, I, theorhetically, would be okay with say, a Turtles Clan who kill in self defense, to protect other, and in the heat of battle as part of the dark reality of war. However, as I've said a few times in other posts, the Turtles exist in an odd place. Theoretically, Shredder and Darius Dunn (to name two) should have been hauled off to the police to be tried for their crimes. Instead Splinter played out 'feudal era' justice in line with what he knew. Splinter is a crime boss, but in his mind I can see him viewing himself as a feudal clan lord. Which shouldn't, key word shouldn't, be how the Turtles operate. Splinter himself seems to realize long term his sons need to seperate themselves from the Foot's ways, given how he intentionally drove them off. The Turtles and Mutanimals should be seeking acceptance from humanity, and that's not going to happen with the Foot.

Now, what if society broke down? What if the Turtles found themselves in a Shredder, or Krang (or other, Triceraton?!) dominated future like we saw in the Time Travel mini series? Perhaps a straight up post apocalypic future. In a return to a more severe time and civilization, Splinter and the Turtles running the Foot Clan might actually be a beacon of hope to survive a new dark age and rebuild a new civilization. But...again, that's a totally different story.

There's things I would have liked more of. I would have liked more Dark Leo stories, more time with the Turtles running the Foot, etc, but I'm happy with the stories we are getting and tend to let the comics tell the story they want instead of insisting they make my fanfic ideas real
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Old 12-27-2017, 12:13 PM   #16
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What is weird is Splinter is now calling NY "his city." I mean...how do you take over a city, especially one with 8 million people living in it like New York? And you have all the real world politics like the Mayor, government and being part of the U.S. I obviously know he really means behind the scenes stuff of keeping it safe, but I tend to wonder if the Foot will start influencing politics.
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Old 12-27-2017, 12:27 PM   #17
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What is weird is Splinter is now calling NY "his city." I mean...how do you take over a city, especially one with 8 million people living in it like New York? And you have all the real world politics like the Mayor, government and being part of the U.S. I obviously know he really means behind the scenes stuff of keeping it safe, but I tend to wonder if the Foot will start influencing politics.
It's especially funny when he says it while a 'legitimate' (big quotation marks) authority in Bishop is laying right there. To be fair, New York's 'actual' government has been rather toothless. I mean, one thing that went into my thoughts on Splinter killing Dunn (and the Shredder for that matter) was that if had tried to have them put in jail I figured they'd be out on the street instantly. During the City Fall story they flat out said the police "know better" than to interfere with the various super gangs having a literal war in the middle of their city. I think we've seen the police break up a Purple Dragons attack once (but only with the aid of random citizens joining in), and cause the Foot to leave the Turtles when they were in pursuit a few times, but I'm having a hard time thinking of many cases, besides of course Bishop, where any government does anything. Splinter could be forgiven for assuming he can still operate under old feudal customs.
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Old 12-27-2017, 02:49 PM   #18
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Now, what if society broke down? What if the Turtles found themselves in a Shredder, or Krang (or other, Triceraton?!) dominated future like we saw in the Time Travel mini series? Perhaps a straight up post apocalypic future. In a return to a more severe time and civilization, Splinter and the Turtles running the Foot Clan might actually be a beacon of hope to survive a new dark age and rebuild a new civilization. But...again, that's a totally different story.
I'm pretty convinced that society IS going to break down as a result of the Triceraton invasion. Especially if all of Manhattan has to evacuate - and maybe parts of states around it. The problem there is that it's an enormous financial hub for the entire world and I'm not sure if there's a plan in place in case such a thing does happen.

And what would keep the Triceratons from going beyond New York eventually?

And why won't anyone tell them about the KT Extinction!?
Sure, we could get into the uncomfortable semantics of suggesting that even with the unsavory intents behind it, the Utroms technically would have saved the Triceraton ancestors from extinction until Quanin decided to start from scratch because they were able to breed. Which I imagine would have p*ssed off a lot of the scientists, who would pretty much have just wasted years of their lives just for their hard work to literally get blown up.

Speaking of that, I do want to know if there were any Utroms against destroying the first herd and were powerless to stop Quanin. The Triceratons could even have had some allies among them.

Regarding the KT extinction, I can imagine a scene of them in the museum like in Mirage Vol 4 where they're a little creeped out by the displays of dinosaur skeletons - but especially the Triceratops.
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Old 01-04-2018, 02:22 PM   #19
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I find the quality sways from story to story.

Karai's Path was awesome and surprising. It introduced new characters, got us caught up on Blugeon and Koya's traumas and how they were coping. It gave Karai the ability to reclaim her own agency and be in charge of her own group - where she had either been second in command or stripped of rank in a clan that she worked herself to the bone to resurrect. Of the Universe stories, Karai's Path was absolutely the best.
Well, thanks!
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Old 01-04-2018, 04:50 PM   #20
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What is weird is Splinter is now calling NY "his city." I mean...how do you take over a city, especially one with 8 million people living in it like New York? And you have all the real world politics like the Mayor, government and being part of the U.S. I obviously know he really means behind the scenes stuff of keeping it safe, but I tend to wonder if the Foot will start influencing politics.
Probably the same way Wilson Fisk or whoever has taken his place for any length of time "runs" New York?
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