The invisible invasion has already begun. They walk among us. All of the cliches and frantic superlatives can be extended because the Utroms have been living amongst us on Earth for years now. Happy #TurtleTuesday!
Don’t panic, though – despite the shared grotesque form, the Utroms from original TMNT Mirage comics aren’t necessarily like Krang. They are actually (mostly) peace-loving aliens, and are ultimately responsible for the creation of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles themselves. The T.C.R.I. company was their front, and as you know, that is the origin of the mutagen ooze. They are pretty interesting characters and the comic stories are, obviously, foundational to the overall TMNT mythos.
The return to the Mirage Comics figures by NECA is such a great thing, and this year’s offerings, coupled with what we have already seen for next year is very exciting. If you have been collecting these for awhile now, you know this is not NECA’s first dip into the original Utroms, they were a part of the NYCC villains set from several years ago, but this new figure is really giving them their due. The good news is that, stylistically, these new Utroms are quite different from those pack-ins, not to mention the fact that the android bodies are in plastic really for the first time.
This new figure is number 3 in the order of the Mirage figures, and is starting to hit retailers now. It follows up Fugitoid and Renet, and Casey Jones should be along shortly. That makes for a pretty diverse first year, and the fact that Kevin Eastman is providing the packaging art for these give them a cool and appropriate umbrella. This can and should be considered the army-builder for this year, so if you are like me, you will probably want a few.
Overall, even if I have more a predilection for other characters released thus far, this might be the best of 2022 Mirage figures. From design to construction to final quality, there is little to no nits to pick, and I think this takes all of the stylistic pieces the line is trying to establish and works the best with them. That is not to say that all of these don’t like they stepped off the page, because they totally do, but there is an accuracy that is amplified, especially compared to the previous Utrom offerings.
Honestly and obviously, the real figure here is the android body, as the Utrom itself is a small slug figure. That said, the little guy is highly detailed with a great paint job. The texturing works to great effect, and it is, of course removable. Brodie Perkins has handled the sculpting duties for many NECA TMNT figures to this point (he is full time at NECA now), and the range from the robotic skeleton to the brain-like Utrom is varied, but has a nice cohesion.
The android is every bit as accurate to the page, and is very well constructed. I did not have any stuck joints or issues, and there is a lot of articulation going on. I appreciate the range of movement in the knees and elbows especially, but there is also a good range of movement in the ab joint that rests right above the body cavity. The battle damaged head is nice for storytelling and variety, and various hands hold the accessories well.
The paint scheme is very striking and I think this is the one where the Mirage style shading has really hit its stride. All of the black lines are squeaky clean, even amongst the small details. Further more, the metallic shine effect is pretty much perfect here, and a step above what was offered with Fugitoid. Now, I think what was done on Fugitoid was totally appropriate because he is SHINY, but the more subtle effect just feels more interesting overall, and adds another level to an already great looking figure.
The accessories are appropriate, and addition to the swappable grips (two styles) and fists, there is a blaster, drink, and two different Utrom tools. The blaster is pretty standard, and the trigger fingers are made of a softer plastic that allows for an easy grip. The red tools are neat inclusions and the tighter grips can hold them just right for building up that advanced technology. I love the drink cup, too – it’s a bit of a winky inclusion, but advancing technology is a thirty business.
The Utrom is another winner, and this line has shaped up to quietly be some of the best offerings of the year. I am a broken record, but for all of the amazing TMNT lines NECA is currently handling, the comic figures (both Mirage and Archie) are probably my favorites. Don’t fall behind on these as I think there will be a lot of FOMO for a lot of people, and you can still pre-order at BBTS. Next year takes us on all sorts of adventures with guys like Splinter, Zog, and, of course, new Turtles set to be released. It’s a good time to be TMNT comics fan.
*Thanks to NECA for sending this figure along for a feature.