Well, this certainly brings me back. I had read this issue as part of a much larger graphic novel a hundred times over as a child. Easy. Though the cartoon show was my introduction into Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s world of mutated, ninja reptiles, it was the comic books I became most hooked on. Yes, I know the comics came out before the cartoon, but I hadn’t heard of them. One Christmas I received two enormous TMNT graphic novels that became my new obsession. Sure, the show was great at the time, but these books were how I thought the turtles should really be. It was dark, gritty, violent, and just felt more real.
So, getting to sit down and read this over again some 20 years later brought back a wealth of memories. Even after not seeing the book in such a long period of time, I was still able to remember exactly which pictures were going to be on the next panel. I spent copious amounts of time trying to recreate the drawings from this issue. Just thinking back to it makes my hands cramp up all over again. I’ve always been an artist from a very young age, so the dialogue was something I sometimes glossed over, because the pictures were what grabbed me most. And, honestly, at that age, I couldn’t really understand a lot of the words to begin with.
The Turtles holds up well. There are a few moments that make it feel a bit dated (Donatello and a security camera come to mind, along with April’s new haircut. Wowzers!), but overall this is something every Turtles fan should check out, not only for the older generation who are looking for a nice nostalgia experience but also for the newer generation. There is a reason the Turtles are still going strong today. With an upcoming show starting later this month on Nickelodeon that looks entertaining if not a little too “cartoony” for my tastes, I think kids would also get a kick out of seeing where the Turtles really came from in these books. Then, maybe we’ll have a whole new generation of TMNT fans who were introduced through a cartoon show and brought into the darker, more intense world the comic book has to offer.