Issue #109 of TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES hits stores on Wednesday, September 9th, bringing readers to the heart of Mutant Town—the freshly irradiated suburb of New York. As its citizens begin to cope with their predicament, multiple outside pressures make their lives even more difficult. What unfolds is a social commentary on our culture’s negative attitudes toward marginalized groups.
Writer Sophie Campbell, with consulting by Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz, set up this issue with multiple plots, each focusing on various characters in Mutant Town. Readers find that even though the mutants have their own community, it’s severely impoverished. What’s more, the media and public at large is circulating hyperbolic myths about this marginalized group—much like certain outlets in our own world.
This tendency to mischaracterize affects Michelangelo and Lita directly when a reporter attempts to get a story out of them. Rather than listening to their perspectives, she seeks to confirm preconceived narratives.
Readers will find prejudices within the mutant society as well. A killer whale humanoid attacks Donatello and Mona, and later readers find that Jenny, solely out of fear, escalates a situation with a former villain. It becomes clear that even within groups on the edges of society, prevailing attitudes of prejudice linger still.
This issue portrays the mutant society’s oppression with a realism one finds in our own world. We clearly see how prejudices can hit a marginalized community from all sides.
Jodi Nishijima’s penciling and ink work, Ronda Pattison’s coloring, and Shawn Lee’s lettering crafted beautiful artwork for this issue. The mutant characters are full of personality and life, which is contrasted by the slum-like buildings that surround them. This helps to juxtapose the unique beauty of their new forms with the poor conditions they’ve been forced into. In addition, the lettering boxes help frame each important feature of the panels, helping to tell the story without taking way from the illustrations.
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES #109 provides readers with a unique perspective on mutant society. Seeing the differences between their living conditions with those of the rest of the city is a good wake-up call.
Do you think Mutant Town will ever find peace? Let us know in the comments below!