The second volume of the original black and white classics collects issues eight through eleven as well as the Michelangelo, Donatello and Leonardo one-shot issues.
This one kicks off with a bang focusing on Michelangelo as he chases down a couple of ne’er-do-wells who robbed a children’s toy store on Christmas Eve. Anyone that knows me knows that I am a holiday season fanatic, so this was right up my alley. There were some funny moments here as Mikey tried to take down the stolen truck through the snowy streets of the Big Apple. After that, things took a bad turn for me. I had no idea who Cerebus was and had no idea that this was a crossover until the post-story notes by the authors, so you can imagine how lost I was. The humor in this one didn’t do anything for me – I didn’t even know it was a comedy! I just thought it was awful writing.
Following that story, we get a strange side adventure with Donatello being transported to a world alongside a fledgling comic book artist where whatever he draws comes to life. This was written as a tribute to Jack Kirby, so it was interesting in that regard, but did little for me. Following Donny’s misadventure, the gang tags along with Splinter as he switches bodies with a dying grandfather to solve an ideological dispute with the man’s grandson and father. When did Splinter become Professor X? This was strange.
The quality is then taken up a notch with a story focused on Leonardo as he battles the Foot Clan solo while the guys get things ready for Christmas at April’s home. Again, Christmas! I think this was far and away the duo’s strongest work yet with some extraordinary artwork, pacing and storytelling. When the dust settles, it’s revealed that The Shredder has returned and things begin to mirror the plot of the original 1990 feature film.
I absolutely loved the final third of this collection. Alongside April and ally Casey Jones, the Turtles and Splinter escape New York City to Jones’ grandmother’s home while they recoup and recover. The eleventh issue is especially good with April narrating their lives through journal pages inserted into the issue.
After a rocky start, the collection more than redeemed itself. Very much looking forward to the third book.