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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Collection Volume 1

Written by Zechs on Thursday, December 15 2011 and posted in Reviews

The original black and white adventures of the TMNT collected by IDW. Is it truly an ultimate collection?

Comic Review Cover

Credits & Solicit Info:

Written & Drawn by: Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman


You know the story: Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael and Donatello are four mutant ninja teenagers whose adventures span from the streets of New York City to other worlds so strange yet somewhat familiar to our own. In the end, they meet: April O'Neill, Utroms, Fugitiod, and Casey Jones, and fight the Shredder, Foot Clan, Baxter Stockman, and Triceratons. This foundation laid forth in this original run, sets up almost everything TMNT related from later comics, movies, or television programs.

Boy, it's a long time coming to finally own one of these. I can't believe how hard it has been for me to nab a trade of this old run. The closest I ever got was finding a single volume of the old colored trades (collecting just four issues) at a comic shop. The one Mirage released two years ago seemed just too pricy and rare after it was initially released. There was only a limited number produced and when I finally had the dough, the asking price for it was just too much (Now a copy can go for over two hundred and fifty dollars and the cheapest is around fifty-nine dollars). That's just too much to ask.

When IDW was going to release a new print I was a bit hesitant and I still am for future volumes, but not for distribution. IDW has made trade collecting quite easy. But it's the fact that IDW is infamous for the content in their trades and they've not given previous old stories their proper due. Their Classic G.I. Joe trades are notorious for having printing errors like word balloons being cut off or worn so you can't read the words. Then, there are the Transformers Generation 1 trades which remove actual issues: due to copy right issues involving Marvel characters appearing in it. These issues are replaced with just a detailed summary, which is annoying because fans crave the actual issues. This becomes quite aggrevating as the character Circuit Breaker is omitted due to copyright issues, which prevents the full scope of the story from being revealed. Those are my immediate concerns diving into this TMNT trade.

None of these errors are present in this volume. To my surprise, IDW gave TMNT the red carpet treatment. The pages found within the collection are all high quality; without a printing error to be found. This quality really helps out with the splash pages as it makes them leap from the page and gives the book a theatrical feel. As for any issue omissions, there aren't any yet. The next volume will have an appearance from indie comic character Cerberus, so let's hope there isn't an omission there.

If there is anything negative for this particular volume it's the actual size of it. This volume one collection only covers eight issues of the original TMNT run (#1-7, and the Raphael One-Shot). The Mirage trade has far more content than the IDW version. That trade has these issues plus #8-11 and the Leonardo one shot. If you're price comparing between the two trades, the Mirage volume (at it's cheapest) does seem like the better deal; given the content. Good luck finding a copy of the Mirage volume that cheap!

As for the stories, they're classic gritty imaginative stories that pay respects to Laird and Eastman's heroes Frank Miller and Jack Kirby. This was a series that originally wasn't supposed to be ongoing, but just a one and done story, hence certain story aspects that went on in this comic. If you've read the current IDW trade or seen the 2003 animated series then you'll be quite familiar with what goes down in these particular issues. The later actually adapted them to television. April's first appearance, the Turtles' actual origin, and the whole search for Splinter arc... all of them were lifted from stories found in this volume.

Using the TMNT license, IDW has given a hard copy of those rare first issues to Turtle fans that have never gotten them. The content isn't much with eight issues, but they're given such love and care from IDW. This is the first time I'm actually excited for volume two's release in early 2012. Don't screw this up IDW! You have something here that many fans would give anything for.

10 out of 10

Review by: Zechs


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About the Author - Zechs

Zechs is the lord and master of The Toy Shed, Moment of the Week, and Durnkin Reveewz. He's also the official whuppin boy at the Outhouse. So he'll get stuck seeing stuff that no mere mortal should ever see. If there's any greater quality to Zechs, it's that he's an avid fan of comic book characters and would defend them to the bitter end against the companies that use them wrongly. He's also brutally honest. Zechs walks the lonely path in Chicagoland area.


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