Graphic Novel Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Collection, Vol. 1

Posted July 24, 2014 by Lyn Kaye in book review, Lyn / 0 Comments

Graphic Novel Review:  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Collection, Vol. 1Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Collection, Vol. 1 by Kevin B. Eastman, Peter Laird
Series: The Ultimate Collection #1
Published by IDW Publishing on December 6th 2011
Genres: graphic novel
Pages: 319
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
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Rediscover the underground roots of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, starting with this special edition hardcover collection of Mirage Studios'' issues #1-7 along with the Raphael one-shot by creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird! With over 300 pages of mutated-martial arts action, this volume is perfect for fans to relive the glorious days of the Turtles'' origins as well as an excellent place for new readers to see where the TMNT phenomena began.

I had an awesome disease when I was young. It affected a large portion of the young population during the late part of the 1980s. It started when I was 6 years of age. Fortunately, it wasn’t deadly. Many of the inflicted kiddos were able to live fully, healthy lives.

This infection was know as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Fever (TMNTF).

Accurate visual representation

I loved that show. I’d rush home from school with my sister and my cousins to watch the episodes. Old, new, strange, silly – I devoured it all. I ate all the food.





I bought as much of it as possible. I had as many toys as we could afford, at the time.

Michelangelo was  (and still is) my favorite. I wanted  to BE April O’Neil when I grew up (and still do). I ate pizza because the Turtles made pizza look SO GOOD (and it was!). I wanted to learn karate. Just like a normal little elementary girl. They were silly, just like me, and I was a true fan.

Later in life, I was shocked to stumble on an article that discussed the Turtles first comic atmosphere.

It shocked me to my core. I couldn’t believe my fun loving Turtles started out as violent, cursing crime fighters, hell-bent on forcing a man to cut out his own internal organs. I finally had a chance to revisit the old comics when IDW released the first comic run in an ultimate collection. I thought it important to read the collection for the sake to establish myself as a true Shellhead, I found it vital to snag a copy.


One overwhelming principle I loved was the dark, gruesome attitude of the comics. I liked the harder, edgier Turtles (I still love my goofy boys, however!). The gritty atmosphere made it seem like it could actually happen, and it fits the setting for NYC. If you are able to try to force someone to cut out their own guts, you are more than likely a bit rough around the edges. The black and white art made the world building pop on the pages.

The artwork is very vivid and the action shots are some of the best I have ever seen. The backstory and the build up to the production added a bit of magic to the mix, and Eastman and Laird’s own input added a wonderful touch to the story.

There were shots of humor mixed in as well, adding a spark to the overall arc. I liked to see the similarities between the comics and the first TMNT movie produced in 1990.

Now I am getting to the tough spots.  I rated this as a three due to two huge issues: the story line for the outer space arc was jumbled and slightly boring. It was apparent that the duo wrote this with a young, male audience in mind, and it showed at times. The story consisted of fights and sketchy world building strung together to resemble a story line. It was tough to push through and keep going.

The other big issue I faced was the lack of definition for the Turtles. Unless a name was mentioned, or you caught a glance at the weaponry, you didn’t know one brother from the next, and it bothered me, since I enjoy watching characters in the background as much as the main action. It allows me to get a better feel for the individuals. The uniform colored masks made each one blend together, and no one stood out, save for  Raphael, who was often in the spotlight since he seemed to be a favorite of Eastman. I was very frustrated by the lack of character definition, and the plot was centered around action and fanboying.


Despite the loosely constructed violence and fan service to another franchise, the original comics are worth the read for any long-term Shellhead. The art is beautiful, and the running commentary on each comic by the two creators nicely rounds out this collection. This is a must have for your Turtle fanatic.

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