Writer: Michael Zulli & Stephen Murphy
Artist: Michael Zulli
Publisher: Mirage Studios
Published: July 1990
When I first read this back in '90 I had just watched the live action Ninja Turtles film. The film was as about grown up as a movie about mutant turtles meant for kid audiences could be. However, after reading Zulli's interpretation of the TMNT, I didn't realize how grown up and different Ninja Turtles could really be.
Zulli did the story and art, with Murphy providing the script. The turtles are not just pizza loving dudes, but bestial beings who serve their master, 'the rat,' with undying loyalty. Shredder is the Samurai overlord who leads the attack bothy psychically and physically on the beasts "who have no souls."
Zulli's art is dark, spiritual, and noble. He renders the turtles and Splinter as elemental forces of nature, and Shredder is 'man' with all his resources and cold reasoning. This issue forever elevated the turtles in my mind and exposed me to the infinite possibility of what imagination and vision can create. Bravo!