REVIEW: ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Best of Michelangelo’

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Best of Michelangelo

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Best of Michelangelo is published by IDW Publishing. It collects three stories, all spanning decades, publishers, and creative teams. Full credits to the creative teams can be found at the bottom of this article.

The first story features Michelangelo during Christmas doing what he does best—goofing around. From sledding, picking up a stray cat, and shopping at a toy store, he reminds us all that he’s the most carefree and silly turtle of the bunch. That is until he runs into some trouble. Originally published by Mirage Studios in the 80s, the art definitely reflects the style of the time. And although it nevertheless looks aged, it does not stop the story from being quaint and cute.

In the second story, we see Mikey trying to figure out what to do on New Year’s Eve. Not wanting to hang out with his boring brothers, he sneaks into a costume party at a museum by taking the place of Carl, a man dressed up like a lizard. But while he shows up expecting a good time, he gets mistaken for Carl and gets dragged into a classic museum heist.

The story features some great witty banter and typical Mikey awkwardness. But, as usual, Mikey gets in over his head. But he thinks like his brothers, and it helps him get out of trouble. The gem here is how Mikey narrates the thoughts of his brothers. It really brings out his personality and the caricatures of his brothers—from the supremely nerdy Donnie to the intense Leo to the meat-head Raph—are worth a chuckle.

With the city in chaos, the turtles bring an army of orphans to master Splinter, who is now the head of the Foot clan in the third and final story. Splinter is concerned with Leo’s recent disrespect, so he decides to take in the orphans on one condition: they become foot soldiers. Mikey is vehemently against this choice; kids need to be kids. But, at the same time, he doesn’t want to fight with his family. So instead, Mikey, under cover of night, escapes with the children in tow.

Mikey is known for his hare-brained schemes that lack any and all forward-thinking, and this certainly is one of those times. And despite the situation, Mikey is all smiles and laughs. But beyond the smiles, Mikey has always held fast in his beliefs, and this story makes this side of him shine. On top of this, the handful of fight scenes are excellent.

Overall, the creative teams have done an excellent job. The art styles, while very different, illustrate Mikey well, and the color palettes bring the panels to life. The lettering styles are relatively consistent throughout the years and allow for easy reading. Each story excellently highlights Mikey’s easy-going nature, his goofy tendencies, and his willingness to jump in and save the day. It’s interesting to see how much Mikey has and hasn’t changed over the years. He and his brothers have become such well-developed characters over the years, and this selection definitely shows it.

And while I appreciate this small collection of Mikey-centric stories, there is a downfall to collections like this. We don’t get any background. While the first and second stories are primarily holiday events, the third feels like it’s part of a larger series. Because of this, little gets explained about the background leading up to the issue, and that undoubtfully creates some confusion.

I definitely understand why these stories have been picked, but I would have also liked to see a few others that included the other turtles. Personally, I’ve always thought Mikey shined his best when interacting with his brothers; they bring out the best (and at times, the worst) in each other. And I think the third story really proves this point.

The Michelangelo-focused stories in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Best of Michelangelo represent our party-turtle wonderfully. The wide collection features very different art styles, color palettes, and plotlines that, despite their differences, give us a motley of stories that will make you laugh and root for Mikey.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Best of Michelangelo is available now wherever comics are sold.


Creative teams involved: Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird, Tom Smith’s Scorpion Studios, Brian Lynch, Andy Kuhn, Bill Crabtree, Ian Flynn, Michael Dialynas, and Shawn Lee. 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Best of Michelangelo
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TL;DR

These Michelangelo-focused stories represent our party-turtle wonderfully. The wide collection features very different art styles, color palettes, and plotlines that, despite their differences, give us a motley of stories that will make you laugh and root for Mikey.