Infestation 2: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (#1 – 2) – Tristan Jones

4 out of 5

I sort of want to laugh at how much fun these two issues are.  The TMNT ongoing was still sort of finding its footing after a clunky beginning, and event books, in general – like Infestation 2 – don’t often engender much confidence from m’self.  You’re taken away from whichever tie-in title’s main storyline for something only tentatively connected, and you often get a different set of creatives who similarly don’t match the “tone” of the main book.

And while some of those facts are in place, here: writer Tristan Jones and artists Mark Torres are new to IDW’s Turtles at this point, and excepting a passing reference to character Hob, there’s no linking to the parent book.

But Jones did do some work on Mirage’s Tales, vol. 2, and I think that’s important here: Tristan chooses to treat these two issues not really as part of an Infestation event (in which Lovecraftian creatures take over the IDW-verse), but as a standalone incident, much like a Tales book.  And it’s a hecka good time as a result.  Yes, the springboard is Donnie studying the appearance of Cthulhu creatures across newspaper and TV reports, but that’s just to get us to a place where the lights in the sewer can shut down and the boys can go investigate the source… which has a lot of tentacles.  We get fight scenes, good TMNT characterization, and a good ramping up of bigger and badder tentacle creepies which justifies expanding to two issues.  Mark Torres’ work is bad ass – I can’t remember if he reappeared in IDW after this, but damn, his Mignola-esque negative space mixed with his dynamic framing and Henry Flint-esque angularness is a marvel, page to page, with really effective use of flat colors by Jay Fotos to support the underground nature of the tale.

The only real remnant of this being a crossover / event book is that the baddie (the man behind the tentacles, in this case) doesn’t get a proper build-up; I would’ve loved one more issue to pad out the setup that much more and to give more room to the final confrontation, but still, I love being proven wrong in my hesitations toward reading this book, as I found myself flipping through it a couple more times afterward.

And while I loved Torres’ interior art, the creepy, moody covers by menton3 need posters.  (And needed four issues so we could spotlight all four boys!)