Reviewers note: From here on out, this book shall be referred to as TMNTU because it's just easier. Thanks.
I picked up TMNTU on a whim, honestly. I've always enjoyed IDW's work with the heroes in half shells, but never got really into it like many of my friends. I figured a #1, the word "universe" in the title, I know enough about the Turtles, I can jump right in!
TMNTU is an expansion, not a spinoff. That being said, I don't regret the money spent on the book. It has me WAY more interested in IDW's main TMNT series. Plus it's a really fun, fast paced read.
The best upside of TMNTU #1? 2 STORIES FOR THE PRICE OF 1! DEALS!
The first half of the book comes from writer Paul Allor, artist Damian Couceiro, and colorist Ronda Pattison (who also colors the main TMNT, and is wonderful). This deals very directly with the spinoff from the main series. As someone who has not picked up a main TMNT book in a bit, I was lost at points but overall, even with my lack of context, it was a really enjoyable read.
Allor writes the Turtles incredibly well. There's a bit that made me flashback to being a kid, as Donnie and Mikey argue over who has the better weapon. The dialogue snaps and Couceiro does well keeping up on the art. This story was so good, it has made me already order some IDW TMNT collections because I want to know what's going on.
And here lies my only issue with this book: I wish I had known it was an expansion. I realize that's on me, but to me the "Universe" title implied a new jumping on point. Again, this is partially on me for not doing my homework but I feel like I'm not the only person whose brain works this way.
Well. Maybe not. But I digress. The real hook of this title is the 2nd half.
TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman and the legendary Bill Sienkiewicz join beautiful forces and make sweet love to your eyeballs. This story alone is worth the $4.99 cover price.
Kevin Eastman wrote a Leo story about battling mad Foot, quipping away and being a badass and Sienkiewicz is along for the ride and it's amazing. Ah. May. Zing.
FINAL SCORE: 8/10 STICKS WITH CHAINS
This book is sincerely good, sincerely well drawn and colored and I will sincerely be picking up #2. I just sincerely wish it had been the standalone Turtle title I craved.