TMNT: Best of Raphael – Various

2 out of 5

Here is the press blurb on this issue: “This issue launches a new series of TMNT reprints that showcase the best stories of your favorite TMNT characters! Featuring tales from different publishers, this first issue showcases the ever-surly Raphael! At almost 100 pages, this is your one-stop-shop for all things cool but rude!”

Here are, apparently, the “best stories:” the original Mirage micro-series (or at least the first story from that book), in IDW’s recolored form; the first IDW Raphael micro-series entry, and the IDW macro-series entry.

I bought this book thinking / hoping it might collect some odds and ends in one spot. In my ongoing frustration with the way IDW keeps reprinting things and slapping a new cover on it, these are not odds and ends, and had they been transparent about the contents – I order books online, so I can’t flip through them in a store – I would not have made the purchase. $5.99 is admittedly a good deal, but I think it’s a stretch to, collectively, call these the “best” Raph stories; rather they’re just the ones that were easiest to keep under one banner – that is, in your search for isolated Raph moments, just finding the comics called “Raphael” doesn’t take much time.

They also don’t read well for a compilation: Mirage, yeah, that’s arguably the best Raph story, and reads perfectly well on its own, but the IDW comics are heavily invested in the ongoing IDW storylines. Ah, but, y’know, maybe some context provided for each story can clear that up. …No such context is provided. They don’t even include covers – it’s just the content from each story, back to back.

The only thing going for this, beyond the price point, is how it allows for a direct comparison between the original, when IDW was first starting, and modern IDW. That is, for this reader, a snapshot of why / how Mirage-era worked so well, how IDW started on shaky ground, and how it’s just gotten (by my opinion) worse as things have gone on.