Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Urban Legends (#24 – 26) – Gary Carlson

5 out of 5

As skeptical as I have been of IDW’s money-grabbing TMNT printing practices – reprinting and recollecting and reprinting recollections, and recoloring and hardcovering and bonus editioning – the core idea of getting some hard-to-find stuff back out there – like the Image run, under the ‘Urban Legends’ banner – has been much appreciated. But I think we were all curious: would they just leave the series without a “true” ending, like the originals – which were canceled before writer Gary Carlson could bring a lot of storylines to a close?

When it was announced that the story would be concluded, I was intrigued: was IDW going to make Andrew Modeen’s fan comics (printed as issues #24 and 25 of the Image series) canon? …And while that would definitely have been cool, it’s undeniably special to have instead arranged for the original team of Carlson and artists Frank Fosco to return, for three issues, and with Modeen’s input.

And it’s perfect.

These guys haven’t lost a step, fitting right back in to the high-impact, kinda dad-jokey-hokey comfortable vibe of the book, maintaining a better sense of pacing across three issues of “who is Lady Shredder?” final battles than was often executed when the series was in its prime. It’s much less “jam” comic-y feeling than the original fan versions were (not to discredit how great those are for what they are), reading like… well, like these books were always part of the run in the first place. Carlson manages call backs to prior Mirage moments without it feeling forced, and also touches on enough Image plot points to give the thing legitimate closure. Guzowski’s colors look great on Fosco’s “modern” art, which is still blocky and loose but is now loaded with a sense of detailing that was often spared for the b & w format of the originals.

Incredible stuff – both for the notableness of how it came to be, as well as the content itself – and a proud addition to my Turtle collection.