It can be hard to look at this book just on its own merits. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have spawned three cartoon series, a collection of movies and specials, crossovers galore and more random merchandise than you can shake a stick at. This past issue of Previews had a Michelangelo pizza cutter, and my only thought when I saw it was "we're only just now getting this?"
Add to that, I'm of an age where the original TMNT cartoon was a big part of my childhood, and I come into this book with a lot of memories and expectations. It's just impossible to separate the two.
So, I think if I had read this book in individual issues without any of the background... maybe this would be a three-star book? The art is often fascinating, wearing its inspirations on its sleeve, and the stories are fantastical, varying and chock full of... well, joy. These books just ooze with the amount of fun the creators were having with the concept, especially in the first few issues. But on the other hand, it can be hard to tell the turtles apart when they don't have their weapons, since only Raphael has a solidly formed and obvious personality in the first couple issues. Leonardo follows pretty quickly, and Michelangelo is working on it by the end. But still... hard to tell. And sometimes the story just takes diversions away from the action for a surprising number of panels. So, sure, three stars would probably do it.
But this particular collection not only also rides some nostalgia, but it also bumps up because of the explanations put between each chapter where one of the creators talks about not only the overall process of working on the issue but the series as a whole. It also breaks down the action in pages or chunks of pages, sometimes just pointing out bits he liked but often explaining their reasoning for various artistic choices. It's also a beautiful hardcover collection - something I'm super happy to have in my collection.