- Writer: Chris Mowry (Main), Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, Tom Waltz (Backup)
- Artist: Michael Dialynas (Main), Bill Sienkiewicz (backup), Kevin Eastman (layouts, backup)
- Colorist: Tomi Varga (Main and backup)
- Publisher: IDW Publishing
- Release Date: December 21, 2016
This is the first issue back since the first four-issue story arc that kicked off TMNT Universe. Now the first four issues told an ongoing story for the issues concentrating on the turtles and their escape from Baxter’s building. This issue is more of a one and done story that wraps up some lingering story lines from the Main series and mini-series of TMNT featuring Old Hob and Leatherhead. It’s Christmas time in the TMNT universe and as Old Hob was not invited to the Christmas party (see TMNT #65), he is out to settle a grudge with former Purple Dragon leader and all around dirtbag Hun! After being trapped on Burnow Island (TMNT #58) Leatherhead has made his way into the New York City sewers. He overhears some thugs kidnapping a dog to bring it to an illegal dog fighting ring in the city! Leatherhead will not stand for this and wouldn’t you know it the dog fighting ring is being run by none other than Hun (told ya he was still a dirtbag). This seems like a perfect time for Old Hob and Leatherhead to team up! Well, they might not quite see eye to eye and Old Hob may or may not get a new recruit for the Mighty Mutanimals.
I was upset to see Paul Allor gone from writing the main story, he is fantastic and does great character work, but Chris Mowry is a staple on the TMNT team and he does some great work on this issue. He does a great job with the contrasting dynamics of Old Hob and Leatherhead and continues to expand on their characteristics.
In the back up I am going to have to eat my words, in my previous reviews, I really was negative about it! Well, it has completely redeemed itself in this issue! It built a very interesting story that has this reader very interested in where it goes. It definitely read better as one big story than little snippets at the end of this book but all together now I feel that it’s a fantastic little story, so I can say I was definitely wrong in my previous reviews of it (story-wise at least).
Michael Dialynas takes over on art duties in the main series from Damian Couceiro in this issue. He has a less detailed and more “flat” styling that is a definitive shift from Damian Couceiro’ more detailed expression styling. The art really does not fit well with the book, it’s not as crisp and lacks the energy and emotion this issue needs. Leatherhead looks good and imposing most of the time, but other characters lack detail and any emotion in their faces. There is one scene in particular where Old Hob is holding two guns in his hands and you can barely tell what they are. I had to look for a minute to tell what was going on; the guns are detail-less and are the same exact color as Old Hobs coat so they blend right in with it. The action lacks any energy to it and the characters look stagnate. It really is a sharp turn from the previous four issues.
The art in the backup is still the same team, it’s fun to still see the more “old school” looking TMNT character designs, but it being so dark things can get a little muddied at times.
TMNT Universe #5 is a good story and builds upon some loose threads left from the ongoing TMNT series and some of the mini/micro-series. I like the one and done story line and think that the next few issues may be like this. Following one or two characters on a little adventure and building upon some story lines from the main series. Hopefully, the art picks back up to what the standard has been set for this series as it continues on. For the first time, I can say I thoroughly enjoyed the backup story in this series and it was better than the main story! We finally have an answer to what was going on with Leonardo and it is great!
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