Like most people my age elementary school was all about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and I was very sure that I wanted to grow up to be April who was super tough and smart, so when I saw this in the library I was very excited to say the least. This volume covers a massive over arching story line that gives the entire origin story of Splinter and the Turtles from start to finish, introduces the guys to April and Casey and several familiar villains. It also includes in depth notes from on of the creators on the collaboration process, story line inspiration and development, art development and almost personal anecdotes.
This is not the Ninja Turtles we grew up with. It is much grittier and darker both in it's black and white art style that showcases a seedier side of NYC and it's more serious and at times more grown up storyline. Bad guys die, characters are more violent, teenage turtles drink beer and use not very nice language and all the characters are a little bit more tempestuous. That being said it's very easy to see the roots of the television show we all grew up with (I'd also like to note that I wish the developers of the cartoon had chosen to keep April a scientist. I think that would have been very inspirational to many little girls.)
I thought the writers did a great job tying everything into this huge origin story that went out of its way to explain everything from where the ooze came from, their battles with Shredder and the foot and to include a trip across the universe. The creators notes added a lot to the story from funny asides about inspiration, pointing out things about the artwork that I may not have noticed otherwise and showing how this comic grew. I thought these notes added a lot to the reading experience and the story itself sometimes; that being said I appreciate how easy they are to skip over if the reader isn't in the mood. The notes are situated between issues, include page numbers and when something from a particular panel or spread is especially high-lighted they include a small diagram. This is much less intrusive then putting notes on each page for those who aren't interested and doesn't force people to keep flipping back and forth. I'm really glad that there are at least 2 more volumes to look forward to and that I already have one of them at home.