If you thought Peanuts had hit its peak in the mid 60s, or perhaps the early 70s ("Mr. Sack," anyone?), you might be tempted to ignore this latest installment of the strip's oeuvre. Don't.
Schulz is in fine form here; the familiar characters, long since settled into their now-standard roles, are starting to experiment more (would you believe Schroeder actually kisses Lucy?), and Snoopy is nearly upstaged by his desert-dwelling brother, Spike, while debuting a new persona as a bumbling, cliché-spouting attorney. Newer characters, such as Rerun, Eudora, and other members of Snoopy's family, assert their presence, and some obscure ones from older strips (such as Molly Volley) reappear, while the Little Red-Haired Girl fades into the background. And poor Peppermint Patty rivals Charlie Brown in the failure department, with a string of D-minuses nearly as long as Charlie Brown's dropped outfield catches, strikeouts at the plate, and kite-related mayhem.
As usual, Fantagraphics' presentation of the strip is excellent; the only complaint is that the Sunday strips aren't in color, but this may be because they're working with Schulz's original drawings (which weren't colored by him) whenever possible. Also, adding color plates just for Sundays would probably add considerably to the cost; perhaps a Sunday-only color edition is in the works when the main series is completed in 2016.