Title: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The IDW Collection.
Writer(s): Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz, Bobby Curnow, Brian Lynch & Erik Burnham.
Artist(s): Dan Duncan, Mateus Santoloucu, FRANCO URRU, Andy Kuhn, Valerio Schiti, Sophie Campbell & Charles Paul Wilson III.
Colourist(s): Ronda Pattison, Fabio Mantouani, Bill Crabtree, Claudia Scarletgothica & Jay Fotos.
Letterer(s): Robbie Robbins, Shawn Lee & Chris Mowry.
Publisher: IDW Publishing.
Release Date: June 9th, 2015.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
My Overall Rating:
Originally co-created by writer Kevin Eastman and artist Peter Laird through comics books published under Mirage Studios, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles only exploded in popularity once adapted into an animated series, a live-action TV series, and several movies since the 80s. However, how does one even remain oblivious to their existence throughout their life when it comes to these silly and kick-ass characters? My child-self, at least, couldn’t and he had all the reasons in the world to follow these pizza-eating turtles around the sewers of New York City as they stopped bad guys in their tracks with awesome martial arts skills. Under IDW Publishing, who successfully obtained the license of this franchise, writer Kevin Eastman returns to reboot this beloved comic book series, accompanied by writer Tom Waltz and artist Dan Duncan, to give these teenage anthropomorphic turtle ninjas and their rat sensei a modernized look and cohesive story that pays tribute to its rich history throughout the various mediums.
What is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The IDW Collection (Vol. 1) about? As part of a Stockgen research laboratory experiment, a rat named Splinter and four turtles are subjected to controversial scientific analyses implicating the administration of a psychotropic compound and the exposition to a super soldier mutagen. Following an odd invasion by mysterious ninjas, an incident leads to their dramatic transformation that also separates one of the turtles from its brothers. The story thus exposes their origin and how they became this heartwarming yet unusual family as they set off to find their brother, lost and homeless in the dangerous streets and sewers of New York City. Unfortunately for them, they will have to face old and new enemies along the way if they are to survive any longer.
This stunning oversized hardcover edition with a red ribbon marker collects, in recommended reading order, the first 12 issues of the ongoing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series as well as the Raphael, Michelangelo, Donatello, Leonardo, and Splinter micro-series one-shots.
“And what began with a ferocious roar… Ends in uncertain silence.”— Kevin Eastman & Tom Waltz
Unless you’re a purist who considers the original movies or shows like the one and only origin stories possible for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, this series might in fact be one of the most commendable reboots ever created. Writers Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz aren’t looking to dramatically reinvent these heroes or to satisfy a certain niche of fans out there that crave for their expectations to be systematically met. Instead, they simply kept all the good stuff without unnecessarily altering them and focused on delivering a cohesive story that logically followed the structure and narrative from one issue to another. Nevertheless, we are talking about anthropomorphic creatures within a real-world setting. The story is filled with unexpected science-fiction twists that bring into play a lot of creativity in terms of obstacles to overcome. Technology that allows invisibility? Teleportation? Robots? Other anthropomorphic creatures? Anything is pretty much possible. And that leaves a lot of room for innocent childish fun. Unfiltered fun.
With this first volume, the story mostly stuck to exposing the origin of Raphael, Michelangelo, Donatello, Leonardo, and Splinter, on top of their numerous villains, starting with Old Hob and then teasing along the rest of their known archnemeses. It also brilliantly establishes the core personalities of every single main character and their intimate relationship with one another. There is also a constant and brilliant exploration of themes of friendship, family, understanding, and self-improvement throughout the story. Since it is centered around ninjas, it is also to be expected that many sequences focus on the action, with enough pages of banging, smacking, and thrashing around to keep you entertained.
Artistically, the main series remains visually consistent with artist Dan Duncan’s pencils. His style establishes a rugged yet cartoonish touch that works phenomenally with the story. His ability to effortlessly capture the fluid transition between sequences is also excellent, never over- or under-stretching his action sequences and giving us just enough to fully grasp the intense moments where these turtles have fun kicking ass. The colours are also fantastically vibrant and set an excellent energetic mood despite being mostly set at night and in grim locations. It is worth mentioning that some of the one-shots included in this volume are drawn by other artists who elevate the artwork to a whole other level with a slicker and much more modern style. Nonetheless, the overall artistic vision for this series is up to par.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The IDW Collection (Vol. 1) is a fantastic reboot of a beloved franchise exploring the origin of four turtles and their rat sensei.