Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The IDW Collection (Vol. 1) by Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz

Title: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The IDW Collection.
Volume: 1.
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.
PublisherIDW Publishing.

: Hardcover.
Release Date: June 9th, 2015.
Pages: 426.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
ISBN13: 9781631401114.
My Overall Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.


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.

Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!



16 thoughts on “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The IDW Collection (Vol. 1) by Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz

    1. I haven’t hahah I plan to do check them out down the line but was mostly attracted by this reboot. Based on what I did see from the original, and what Todd confirms in his comment/answer to your question, the original’s artwork indeed looks much more ink-heavy and old school, sort of like the kind of comics you’d find in journals back in the day. It doesn’t look bad though, the turtles conceptually look a tiny bit different but not too much, and the pages look a bit more chaotic too. Someday I’m sure I’ll get around to comparing them both.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Darn, when I first saw this i got excited and thought you were reviewing the ORIGINAL Eastman/Laird Mirage studios run (collected by IDW as ‘The Ultimate Collection’ across six volumes)…which I’ve read and are superb. I haven’t read any of the reboot series but I highly recommend the original Mirage stories which get better as they go along (the initial turtle design looks a bit odd but they later change to the more familiar character designs that everyone knows from the 80s cartoon and 1990 movie – both of which are formative childhood favourites for me).

    I might one (long) day (away) check these out but I can’t imagine the reboot’s version of the “City at War” arc could be as good as the original classics though! Anyway, excellent review Lashaan…just a shame it’s not the TMNT series I thought you’d taken the plunge with!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ahhh snap! I could’ve sworn that you’d actually have read this reboot too! Not surprised that you’ve gotten through the original series though. I honestly only learned about the Ultimate Collection once I finished reading the reboot and was doing a bit of research on this series. I’ll definitely make it an objective to get through the original series once I’m up to date with this reboot though. I’m really curious to see what the differences are between one and the other!

      I honestly think you should test this reboot out. It’s not bad at all, even for someone who never heard of the turtles! They made it much more accessible and easy to follow and enjoy. I look forward to discovering what the following volumes will be like. Thanks for reading nonetheless, Chris!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have an old Mirage trade paperback of the original black & white Eastman and Laird stories, about 540 pages worth. I loved it back then, very new and different. And unfortunately VERY difficult to get where I was living at the time. I couldn’t get new issues and by the time I’d moved back to the land of US comic book stores the back issues were out of my price range. So I grabbed the TPB when it came out (1988, I think). I’ll have to reread it one of these days, see how the story holds up and what memories it brings back. And to comment on Bookstooge’s question comparing the original art to this, at least based on the samples you show, there are some similarities but it feels different. It’s black and white and inked in a fairly heavy style. The artwork is fairly simple. When I compare it to the samples above my first reaction is they’re very different, but I think the color of the new one and the heavy inking of the original one might be what’s causing me to react that way. Because the more I look the more I can see similarties in character design and sparseness in set design of some scenes. Great review, Lashaan. Glad to see these characters are still around and entertaining folks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so happy to hear that you were a fan and actually collected it back in the day! I can only imagine the struggle to remain up to date with the issues too. Probably less of a problem today with online shopping and whatnot but the original issues are probably still high-priced. I did look it up and saw that that comic book run is now collected in a six-volume “Ultimate Collection” set. I’ll probably go after those once I catch up on this reboot just to see how it compares.

      I thought the same for the artwork based on what I saw online after I looked up with Eastman and Laird’s run looked like. It definitely has its own charm. Glad to be able to confirm it through your own perspective as someone who read the original run! Thanks for reading and sharing, Todd. I look forward to seeing what the rest of this reboot has to offer (it has been going on for a while now!).


  3. I completely forgot this was the backstory of the Ninja Turtles! I remember watching it as a kid and really liking it – also thanks to the super catchy opening song in Italian that I hope my sister has made you listen to 😁 I haven’t read this comic book (which shouldn’t come as a surprise to you ahah), but I think it is good that they didn’t try to meet some fans expectations and just had fun with it, keeping what they liked – I’m sure it is also one of the reasons why it is great! Thanks for sharing Lashaan 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahahaah you bet she made me listen to it and always didn’t miss an opportunity to sing it too at the mere mention of the TMNT. 😛 It’s definitely a nice graphic novel to pick up if you’re a fan of these turtles. It packs a lot of fun and will definitely remember all the cool stuff from the cartoon/movies! 😛 Thanks for reading, Juliette!

      Liked by 1 person

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