Usagi Yojimbo/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Complete Collection

usagi yojimbo teenage mutant ninja turtles the complete collection cover trade paperback tpb
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Art: 8/10

Interesting to see the different takes on the characters by Stan Sakai and Peter Laird

Not the strongest Usagi Yojimbo stories or TMNT stories

Comic Info

Comic Name:  Turtle Soup/Usagi Yojimbo (Volume 1)/Shell Shock/Usagi Yojimbo (Volume 2)/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Usagi Yojimbo

Publisher: Dark Horse/IDW/Mirage

Writer: Stan Sakai/Peter Laird

Artist: Stan Sakai/Peter Laird

# of Issues: 7

Release Date: 2018

usagi yojimbo #10 cover leonardo teenage mutant ninja turtles

Usagi Yojimbo (1) #10

Reprints Turtle Soup #1, Usagi Yojimbo (1) #10, Shell Shock #1, Usagi Yojimbo (2) #1-3, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Usagi Yojimbo #1 (September 1987-July 2017). When Miyamoto Usagi meets a strange mutant turtle named Leonardo, a friendship is forged. Usagi finds himself teamed with Leonardo over multiple occasions and learns Leonardo and his brothers Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael are all skilled ninjas. When the Turtles are summoned to Usagi’s Japan, the situation is dire and the Usagi and the Turtles must prevail!

Written and illustrated by Stan Sakai, Usagi Yojimbo/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Complete Collection collects the shorts and issues featuring Usagi and the TMNT published by Mirage Studios and IDW. “The Crossing” featured in Usagi Yojimbo (1) #10 (August 1988) was written and illustrated by Peter Laird. The issues in this collection were also collected as part of Usagi Yojimbo: The Special Edition, Usagi Yojimbo: The Complete Collection—Volume 1, Usagi Yojimbo—Book 8: Shades of Death, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The IDW Collection—Volume 9 among other collections.

Usagi Yojimbo always seemed very unattainable. There were so many issues, put out by multiple publishers, and multiple versions. I was always interested in Usagi Yojimbo (due to Usagi appearances in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon in late ’80s, but until Dark Horse started putting out the big collections, I never read much of him. Going back through some of the older collections and comparing them to this collection, the Usagi Yojimbo/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossovers are iconic, but not the best of each book.

Most of the collection is rather short. The series has the back-up stories to Usagi Yojimbo, Turtle Soup, and Shell Shock which feature Usagi’s brief meetings with Leonardo. The most interesting of these crossover is the story from Usagi Yojimbo #10 which featured Usagi illustrated by Peter Laird of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fame…it is interesting to see such an iconic character like Usagi portrayed by someone else, and it kind of makes me want some “Elseworlds” type stories using the Miyamoto Usagi character (with Stan Sakai’s permission of course).

teenage mutant ninja turtles usagi yojimbo #1 cover variant

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Usagi Yojimbo #1 Variant

These stories lead into the bulk of the collection which features a reprint of the first three issues of the second Usagi Yojimbo series. It has Gen and Usagi teaming up to defend a rat (who looks like Splinter but isn’t) with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The story is odd and the Turtles world and Usagi’s world don’t quite match up right…the best part of this story is Michelangelo questioning the evolutionary direction of Usagi’s world.

The last part of the collection is the most disappointing because of how it is set-up. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Usagi Yojimbo issue from IDW has the Turtles and Usagi finally reunited…unfortunately, it is the IDW Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles who don’t know Usagi. The only color issue in this collection is a letdown because you don’t have the fun of Usagi and the TMNT reunited.

Usagi Yojimbo/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Complete Collection is probably more interesting to Turtles fans than Usagi fans and also more for completest than the casual reader (the three part story has references to other stories that led up to it and doesn’t necessarily stand-alone). Still the presentation of Dark Horse is nice and the book is loaded with back-up material to thicken it out…you’ll probably be better off with classic Usagi Yojimbo stories or classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles collections.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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