Sunday, May 18, 2014

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Collection, Vol. 2

 Kowabunga, dudes!!! IDW's tremendous collection of the classic mirage Eastman & Laird TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES stories rolls on in TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION, VOL.2.

 This second volume collects TMNT #'s 8-11, and the MICHAELANGELO, LEONARDO, and DONATELLO micro-series one-shots.

 This volume is comprised of smaller stories, which is a nice breather after the first volume, which was basically one long story. We get the remaining one-shot "Micro-series" issues, a wonderful team-up with Dave Sim's Cerebus, a weird flashback story that takes place before the Turtles first appearance, and a three-parter that pits the Turtles against a very-much-alive Shredder. Plus, the wraparound cover connects with the cover of Vol. 1, which is something that I just love.

 The storytelling in this volume is much more mature and assured, and by the end, I was pretty much hooked into buying the rest of the ULTIMATE COLLECTION series. The annotations and anecdotes that Eastman and Laird contribute are also better than they were in the first volume. They get into the craziness that ensued when the TNMT brand began to blow up in the late '80's, and how it impacted their creative relationship, ultimately straining it and causing them to work separately.

 I was particularly impressed with the Donatello micro-series, which is basically an illustrated love-letter to Jack "King" Kirby...the way that Eastman & Laird perfectly captured Kirby's style blew me away, and made me want to run out and buy some more Kirby collections.

 The book ends on an unexpectedly somber note, with the Turtles thoroughly defeated and chased from their home in New York by The Shredder and The Foot Clan....How could I NOT come back for volumes 3-5??? How, I ask you????

 Highly recommended. And a special thank you to IDW for securing the rights for the Cerebus appearance. It's especially appreciated, considering how rare it is these days for a publisher to make the effort. (I'm talking to YOU, DC, with your shitty, ALIENS-dissing STORMWATCH collection!)