Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Book I by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird

The book that started it all.

In the early nineties I picked up the four Ninja Turtles books at a MacFrugals for $0.50 each. I read them so many times I can’t even count. I since have lost all contact with those volumes so I acquired some new ones through the miracle that is Amazon.com used book sales. I paid considerably more for them this time (though I think the most expensive one was on the order of five or six dollars).

The Ninja Turtles were intended as a satire for some of the comics that were popular in the mid eighties. In 1986 they were something new that quickly went from independent parody to mainstream media. By the mid nineties they had a television show and action figure line along with several movies, kids books, storybooks, cake pans and anything else you can imagine.

The beginning of the series is somewhat more humble, and decidedly less kid oriented. Splinter, the mutant rat and the Turtle’s master, has trained the Turtles for one purpose – revenge on the man who killed Splinter’s master. It doesn’t matter that he is a vicious killer and leader of a crime syndicate. It doesn’t matter that The Shredder dresses like a man who has been crossbred with a blender. The Turtles are seeking vengeance and they will stop at nothing.

They are brutal warriors and tremendously skilled despite their diminutive statures but they haven’t put any thought into what to do next. What to do when all has been avenged, when your life is focused on one purpose, and that purpose involves violence and retribution, what do you do when you get what you’ve wanted all along.

This book doesn’t answer those questions, probably because it isn’t really possible but it does ask them. Then it leads you on a grand adventure as the Turtles struggle to find meaning in a world where they can’t be known and their very origins is a mystery to them.

This is a grand start.

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