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Comicbook: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (IDW)

The newest comic book incarnation of the popular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise, and the first new material produced after Nickelodeon's acquisition of the property, launched in 2011. Set in a new continuity unconnected to any others, it features the return of TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman to regular creative duties after more than a decade away from the fold.

In ancient Japan, Hamato Yoshi and his four sons are murdered by the Foot Clan and their leader Oroku Saki. Centuries later, they are (apparently) reincarnated as a rat and four turtles, who are then used as test subjects for geneticist Baxter Stockman's experiments on brain enhancers (Splinter), mutagens, and super-soldier formulas (The Turtles). Later, after an attempt at corporate espionage gone awry, they become exposed to mutagens, which metamorphose them into the characters we know and love.

But there's one problem. Before the mutation took effect, one of the turtles was taken by an alley cat. Though Splinter managed to fight the cat off, the turtle ended up lost. Fifteen months later, while Splinter, Leo, Don, and Mike rumble with Old Hob (the cat got mutated too), Raphael has spent this time wandering the city as a homeless vagrant.

The origin is not the only marked change. April, in this incarnation, was familiar with the unmutated turtles and in fact gave them their renaissance artist names. Casey Jones is a college student living with his father who takes Raphael in. Baxter Stockman is affiliated with Krang, now a general, but not the Shredder. Human versions of Bebop and Rocksteady have been introduced their first appearance not directly connected to their original cartoon incarnations. All in all, it serves to give the series a "Ultimate TMNT" vibe: for the first time in the franchise's history, all of its disparate elements and characters are seen in one place. The 2012 cartoon also goes for the same vibe, but this started first.

For a breakdown of the more prominent characters in the series, visit the franchise character page. For information the various comic book series by original Turtles publisher Mirage, visit the Mirage TMNT page. For an overview of the franchise in general, see the franchise page.

The series includes examples of the following tropes:

  • Abusive Parent: Casey Jones' father, Arnold Jones
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Splinter—perhaps taking a nod from the second cartoon—now has gray fur.
  • Adaptational Badass: In the original cartoon, Bebop and Rocksteady were nothing more than ineffective idiots, but here, while they're still dumb as can be, they're also insanely powerful fighters who present a genuine threat to the good guys.
  • Age Lift: Princess Tribble, a baby in the '87 cartoon, is now the turtles' age. (Well, their biological age, anyway)
  • Alcoholic Parent: Arnold Jones at least until he becomes Hun.
  • Ascended Extra: Chet, in the Mirage comics, was the name of the little kid who originally owned the pre-mutated turtles—a one-page character. Here, he is April's supervisor at StockGen.
    • Potentially subverted into Composite Character upon the reveal that surprisingly, he's also secretly the Fugitoid!
  • Bio-Augmentation: StockGen's real (ahem!) stock in trade.
  • Big Badass Bird of Prey: Koya, Shredder's mutant falcon.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Alopex initially appears to be a timid Damsel in Distress on the run from whoever created her. But Raphael quickly deduces that she's actually playing the sympathy card to try and infiltrate the turtles, at which point she reveals herself to be one of the Shredder's deadliest and loyalist minions.
  • Canon Foreigner: Old Hob, Alopex, Kitsune, Koya, Bludgeon, Woody, Harold and Lindsey.
  • Composite Character: Krang now is an Utrom and a serious villain like Ch'rell from the 4kids show.
    • Casey's father, who is now also Hun.
    • A variation. While Kala does still exist, Princess Tribble is instead Mikey's Neutrino Love Interest.
    • After taking an exo-suit Harrold has been working on, Angel is now Nobody.
  • Enemy Mine: Splinter and the other three turtles end up working together with Old Hob and Slash in order to take back Leonardo from the Foot Clan after he has been brainwashed into joining them, and their alliance has continued even after getting Leonardo back. While Hob helps out just to further his own agenda, Slash does end up befriending Michelangelo.
  • Expy: Alopex is one of Ninjara from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures. Both are fox-women who start off as minions of one of the Turtles' enemies and both are love interests for Raphael.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Old Hob.
  • Face Framed in Shadow: General Krang.
  • Fantastic Foxes: Alopex is a mutant Artic fox. Kitsune is a kitsune.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Issue 6 reveals Stockman's new Minefield Ordnance Unarming System Enhanced Robots
  • Genetic Memory: Since only 15 months have passed when the series begins, the Turtles didn't grow up learning to be ninjas - in this life, and their training in the present day is like re-learning and improving skills they somehow already knew.
    • Also unwittingly displayed by Mikey as he can read Japanese, surprising everyone including himself.
    • Possibly subverted, as heir fighting skills and reflexes might be caused (partly) by the super-soldier serum (which WAS created for military use and tampered with by an alien scientist).
  • He's Back: At the end of #31, when Koya has ambushed the turtles at the O'Neill farm, Leonardo comes out of nowhere to face her, once again donning his trademark blue eyemask. Mikey even gets to acknowledge the trope at the beginning of the following issue.
  • Hollywood Medieval Japan: Where Hamato Yoshi, Oroku Saki, and the original incarnations of the turtles lived.
  • Hostile Terraforming: Krang plans to turn the Earth into a new Utrom throne world by changing its atmosphere to be compatible with his species.
  • Klingon Promotion: Oroku Saki's father Oroku Maji killed the original leader of the Foot Clan. This is presented as a good thing since he was evil, and had his lifespan extended through dark magic. Oroku Maji then reformed the Foot into an honorable force. Later, Saki killed his own father and returned the Foot to their villainous ways.
  • Mad Scientist: Aside from Baxter Stockman, Harold Lillja from the Donatello one-shot.
  • More Than Mind Control: Thanks to some evil Foot Clan magic, Leonardo unwillingly becomes Dark Leonardo.
  • Mythology Gag: Multiple. In the first issue alone, a t-shirt inscribed with "cowabunga" to April's yellow shirts to the opening fight with Old Hob's gang, which could be considered a nod to a similar opening in the original Mirage comic book.
    • Donatello's online name as revealed in the first Micro-Series is "Duz_Machines84".
    • In Krang's backstory, a scarred Utrom resembling Ch'rell was his commanding officer in a war where he made his name.
    • The symbol of the ancient Foot Clan is the human foot from the Mirage comics and 1987 show, while the modern Foot Clan uses the symbol from the 2003 show.
    • Leo, Mikey and Don all wear red headbands like the Mirage comics until they find Raphael again, then they switch to their individual colors as seen everywhere else. Explained as they were honoring the missing Raphael by wearing his color.
    • Krang's father's robot body looks very similar to the one Krang used in the 1987 cartoon (especially the head).
    • In the seventh issue of the Villains microseries, Bebop asks Rocksteady if the Shredder would like him if he wore turtle shells on his shoulders.
  • Never Bring a Knife to a Fist Fight: During the initial fight in issue #1, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Splinter all manage to hit their opponents with their weapons, while Leo is reduced to the old stand-by of cutting his opponents weapons. Old Hob's gang, which is armed with chains, crowbars and guns doesn't manage to land a hit at all.
  • Past Life Memories: The turtles and Splinter appear to have slivers of these. Splinter more than the turtles, possibly because of the additional brain enhancements he received pre-mutation.
    • Oroku Saki's own past life memories are awakened by Kitsune.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Back in medieval Japan, Oroku Saki's lifespan and youth was extended for many decades with a magic potion made by his lover Kitsune. The potion was actually derived from ooze supplied by Utroms (later the basis of the mutagen that transformed the Turtles and Splinter). Desiring "true" immortality, Saki had Kitsune conduct a magic ritual using undiluted ooze to preserve his body for centuries, until he was revived in the present day by his descendant Karai.
  • Reincarnation: A huge part of the turtle and Splinter's origin.
    • And the Shredder's as well. He's the reincarnation of Tatsuo Takeshi, founder of the Foot Clan and the original lover of Kitsune.
  • Secret Project Refugee Family: Subverted: while they initially seem to be this, it turns that the reality is much more complicated.
  • Ship Tease: During one fight between the Turtles and the Foot, Karai berates Leonardo for his lack of skill and poor form. Raphael then says "Hey, Leo. I think she likes you."
    • As of issues 30 and 31, Raphael and Alopex, all over the place.
  • Start of Darkness: Oroku Saki was an arrogant rival of Hamato Yoshi but not truly evil, until Kitsune awakened the memories of his past life. Then he started acting like his past self.
  • Super Soldier: The Turtles DNA was used to create super-soldiers for Krang with impenetrable skin.
  • Sweet Tooth: Slash, whom Mikey befriends after giving him a candy bar.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Ordered by Splinter.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Old Hob starts off the series as little more than a dumb thug. As the series advances, though, he becomes far smarter, more cunning, and playing all sides while technically not betraying anybody, all the while having recruited the powerful Slash to his side as well. He's later seen in ownership of a huge stash of firearms, manages to convince Splinter to get him a big canister of mutagen in exchange for helping him find Leonardo (with plans to create a mutant army) and he and Slash blow Stock Gen up right afterwards.
    • Casey's dad starts off as an antagonist if only because he's physically and emotionally abusive towards Casey. Later on, he resumes his old identity as Hun, becoming a very strong fighter and taking over the Purple Dragons with ease.
  • Troubled, but Cute: Casey, perhaps moreso than any other adaptation.
  • Ultimate Universe: Technically, anyway, due to the fact Peter Laird still has the option of creating new comics set in the original Mirage Universe if he wishes.
  • Villain Protagonist: The whole point of the Villains microseries, which features origins and stories for Krang (issue 1), Baxter Stockman (issue 2), Old Hob (issue 3), Alopex (issue 4), Karai (issue 5), Hun (issue 6), Bebop and Rocksteady (issue 7), and the Shredder (issue 8).
  • Villain Takes an Interest: The Shredder, who wants Leonardo to serve as his heir.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Krang sought the approval of his father Emperor Quanin until he finally Took a Level in Badass.
  • Younger than They Look: The Turtles and Splinter are exposed to the mutagen only 15 months before the events of the first issue, making them chronologically much younger than usual. They are mutated into their present "teenage" and "older adult" appearances instead of aging over some years in the sewers. This makes "Teenage" Mutant Ninja Turtles sort of an Artifact Title.

TMNTFranchise/TeenagemutantninjaturtlesTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012)
Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesCreator/IDW PublishingTransformers
Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesThe New TensNew 52

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