Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Collected Comics volume 1


By Ed Caruana, Landry Walker, John-Paul Bove, Erik Burnham, Jack Lawrence, Cosmo White, Bob Molesworth, Jason Cardy & various (Nickelodeon/Panini Comics)
ISBN: 978-1-84653- 615-1

Win’s Christmas Gift Recommendation: What Every Kid Craves… 8/10

Devised by young comicbook creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles first appeared in a self-published black & white parody comicbook in 1984.

After spawning an explosive boom in do-it-yourself comics and changing the very nature of the industry, their concept resolved into the ideal example of successful exploitation, expanding to encompass toys, movies, games, food, apparel, general merchandising and especially television cartoons, becoming – and remaining – a globally potent franchise. There’s another movie in the cinemas even as I type this…

In 2012 the third animated TV series – rendered in extremely impressive 3D CGI – launched on Nickelodeon to tremendous world wide approval and is now up to its fourth season.

Such universally popular characters usually filter back into comics as their media stars wax and the TV show generated an Official Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Magazine, packed with puzzles, posters, fact files, competitions and some extremely engaging and entertaining strips.

This bold, brassy and bombastic collection gathers the hilarious, action-packed comic chronicles from issues #2 through 13 and 15 – with a few value-added extras thrown in – and sensibly opens with a rehash of the characters’ ‘Origins’ before ‘The Need for Speed!’ by Ed Caruana, Jack Lawrence and chief colourist Jason Cardy sets the ball rolling when a silly mistake forces romantic Donatello into the most important rescue mission of his life.

After a glitch in computer communication makes him mistakenly believe their human associate April O’Neil has confessed her love for him, in a state of euphoria he responds with a flamboyant gesture.

Unfortunately, by the time he realises the hugely embarrassing error and needs to stop a florist delivering a bonanza bouquet to her, he’s in the middle of a furious fight with the robotic Kraangs who are still insidiously contaminating New York City with the alien Mutagen concoction which had years ago turned a Ninjutsu master into a giant rat and four baby amphibians into the world’s greatest warriors…

‘Podzilla’ then finds our shell-backed saviours battling deranged nemesis and insufferable mad scientist Baxter Stockman whose latest mechanical monstrosity is proof against martial arts mastery but not inventive genius Donnie’s latest innovation. ‘Thief in the Night’ (by Erik Burnham & Bob Molesworth) then sees the quartet battling to save a “magic” sword from Mutagen-warped piscine peril Fishface whilst ‘Slug’ (by Caruana & Molesworth) pits the boys against an uncommon bank robber who accidentally steals some of the ubiquitous ooze and so very slowly reaps the consequences…

Freewheeling Michelangelo saves the day in blistering battle against feral fury Dogbreath thanks to a killer move taught him by a samurai pelican in a ‘Daydream’ (Landry Walker, Caruana & Cosmo White) after which ‘Taken’ (Caruana & Jack Lawrence) finds the turtles’ pet – un-mutated – tortoise Spike at the centre of a kidnap plot involving those incorrigible Kraangs, after which the awesome power of pizza deals a substantial blow to arch-maniac Shredder’s plans when ‘A Slice of Luck’ (Caruana & White) pits the team against an army of enemies and ticked-off mutant alligator Leatherface

Donatello’s new stealth wings prove more handicap than advantage when the lads invade Kraang HQ in ‘Dropzone’ (Caruana & Lawrence), but not as much as the citizens of New York after the Turtles visit a pizzeria in ‘Takeout’ (Caruana, John-Paul Bove & Ryan J. Neal)…

In ‘Number One Fan’ (Walker & White) Leonardo trade blows and fanboy trivia with Stockman when they discover a shared love of vintage TV serial Space Heroes during a cataclysmic clash at a movie premiere…

Leo and Raphael later develop an intense and extremely physical rivalry in ‘Own Worst Enemy’ (Bove & Molesworth) but rodentine Master Splinter’s solution falls far short of the bonding necessitated during a frantic fracas against antagonistic allies Fishface and Dogbreath at a superglue factory…

‘What Goes Up…’ (Bove, Caruana & Lawrence) features a fight in a rooftop jungle hiding veggie-monster Snakeweed, after which Donnie’s latest tinker toy ‘Roboninja’ (Caruana & White) proves more foe than friend after Mikey messes with its controls, whilst in ‘Meet the Dream King’ (Walker, Caruana & Molesworth) the pestiferous Michelangelo is lost in a fabulous but lethal fantasy realm which can only be escaped through the magic of pizza…

The mutant martial arts mirth and mayhem concludes with ‘Space Captain Leo’ (Walker Caruana & White) as the incurable telly addict suffers a debilitating head injury and starts channelling the valiant Captain Ryan of the Starship Dauntless whilst tracking down the Kraangs and a vast shipment of deadly Mutagen.

His bewildered brothers in arms can barely keep up as the carnage commences…

Wrapping up the all-ages fun is a mesmerising fact-feature ‘Behind the Scenes’ which traces the development of the story pages from rough layouts to full-finished computer-coloured art and also includes a selection of ‘Concept Sketches’ revealing the evolution of Podzilla, Roboninja, Slug and The Dream King.

Fast, furious, fun-filled and funny, this reinvention of the perennial shell-backed sentinels offers a superb slice of excitement and enjoyment – and bizarrely addictive catch-phrases – that will keep kids and adults alike bouncing off the walls with eager appreciation.

Mums: You have been warned…

© 2014 Viacom Overseas Holdings, C. V. All Rights Reserved. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and all related logos and characters are ™ Viacom Overseas Holdings, C. V. Based on characters created by Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman.