Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Black And White Collection Vol. 1

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate B&W Collection Vol. 1 – Kevin Eastman/Peter Laird

Way, way back in the 1980s, like many kids, I was obsessed with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  I couldn’t tell you just how many toys I had or how many times I watched the cartoon show and when the live-action movie hit theatres in 1990, my fandom rose to a whole other level.  Its sequel, The Secret of the Ooze, had been watched so many times in our household by my brother and me, I think we wore off the printing on the VHS.  But even with my obsessive love for the heroes in a half-shell, there had always been a blind spot when it came to the original comics.  Luckily for me, it seems that the majority of the original black & white collections seem to be on sale through Comixology (can I briefly say how much I love reading comics on my tablet with their guided-view technology?  I almost prefer it to physical copies at this point).  So, I declare this the summer of TMNT!

I was familiar with the turtle’s origins (the theme song for the cartoon basically lays it out for you) and with the original movie leaning more on the comics, I had a certain expectation for what I would read.  What I didn’t expect was the level of violence!  I don’t want you to think that these are blood-soaked pages of brutality, but to see any blood whatsoever in the world of TMNT is shocking to say the least.

I was actually surprised at just how much was introduced in the first seven issues (and the stand-alone Raphael one-shot).  You have the arrival and subsequent killing of The Shredder, mad scientist Baxter Stockman shows up, vigilante Casey Jones bursts onto the scene and the introduction of April, the gang’s best human friend.  Even the species that shares the origins of future super-villain Krang makes an appearance!

With that said, I wasn’t too crazy about the outer space stuff, but I knew it made up a big chunk of their origins, so I can’t say I was that put off by it.  I really liked the art here, but without the trademark colors of each respective turtles bandanas, it was hard to tell who was who unless specifically mentioned in dialogue as all the turtles were identically drawn aside from their weapons.

Honestly, I tried to temper my expectations given how revered this series is.  I was very much raised on the cartoon and the movies, so I wanted to keep an open mind.  I did enjoy this though for the most part.  So, I’m off to volume two!

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