Long time readers of this column will be well aware of my love for all things Lovecraftian, a word that has come to mean far more than simply the works of one very verbose author; but few will know of my growing passion for a quartet of mutated animals.
No, this time I do not refer to any particular Fantastic Foursome, but the heroes in a hard-shell themselves, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
(Even typing that tag line sets my spine crawling.)
As a teenager myself, my first exposure to the Turtles was through the role-playing game, describing an almost post-apocalyptic world of mutated animals evolving out of nuclear and chemical waste. Yes, this was the Eighties, not quite out from under the shadow of the bomb but just beginning to become aware of our effects on the global environment. I was too young to read the original Eastman and Laird comics, not that in the rural counties of Britain I had a chance of getting hold of any, and I still mourn that loss
Then came the travesty of the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, sanitised for a new generation. Ugh. Obviously ninja’s were considered too unsavoury for youngsters, but no one told Marvel, nor for that matter, Saban, looking at the Power-Rangers. Insipid cartoons and considerably bad movies, my initial love affair was stymied before it could ever fly.
Having recently discovered the 2003 cartoon series, I was mollified a little. And now, in IDW’s tradition of bizarre not-quite-crossing-over-but-connected-storyline crossovers, we have Infestation 2 reaching out a tentacle for the Turtles.
Like the other TMNT comics from IDW, this is dark, atmospheric, and little sign of a bad pun in sight. This is what I imagine the original series were like, the (admittedly-constant) spirit of the Turtles shining through the darkness, and what a glorious darkness it is.
On offer this time, rather than zombies, we have the Outer Gods reaching into the universes of the Turtles, the G. I. Joes (of course), the Transformers, 30 Days Of Night; the Covert Vampires Operatives are no doubt in there somewhere; and as quite the surprise, the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons title, Eberron.
If this series of interlocking stories is anywhere near as good as the last one (once I overcame the disappointment that all the various casts did not actually meet up), then I advise you dive in, for a brief tour of the IDW multiverse. Oh, and for monsters in the walls that would send you mad!
Oh, and I don’t care what you say, Mr Michael Bay – they are not supposed to be aliens!