4 out of 5
Contains an Archie-era story, one from Mirage Tales volume 2, a random IDW issue (#5), and the IDW Splinter ‘heroes’ issue; a.k.a.: now the person putting these stories together (editor Bobby Curnow?) couldn’t just select all the Turtles one-shots, and rather had to put some thought into entry selection. Still, you could argue that there might not be that many Splinter-centric works from which to choose, and so the ‘Best of’ moniker remains questionable, but at least in this case it feels much more subjective. Even James Biggie’s super-simplified cover concept feels like it has more personality with Splinter’s mug – not that I’m not directly knocking Biggie’s design, which I think is cool, but the first four Best Of’s surface similarity ironically correlated with the contents.
The contents here are all pretty good, even if the last two issues – coming from the same early-ish IDW era – have a similar look and feel – but the drastic difference between Archie, Mirage, and IDW in general makes the front-to-back readthrough interesting in itself. We also get some nice parallels between Splinter’s past in Archie versus IDW, and the origin differences between the two as well. The Mirage issue is the odd-one out – it’s totally just a bonkers battle sequence – but it also (to me) is the best issue here, and the best looking one as well. This is the colorized reprint of the Tales stuff (previously published in IDW trades), and Digikore Studios’ work on that still looks pretty phenomenal.
As always, it’s a bummer there are no covers reprinted, although we did get one divider page this time, as I suppose the page count ran odd or something. But this is very much what I wanted from a Best Of series – the opportunity to rediscover stories from a less predictable selection.