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Comic Book / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (IDW)

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"Change is constant."

The newest comic book incarnation of the popular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 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. Bebop and Rocksteady have been introduced in 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.

Now has a character page under construction.

The series includes examples of the following tropes:

  • Abusive Parent: A running theme throughout the comic is family, and thus, abusive parents are touched on numerous times.
    • Casey Jones' father, Arnold "Hun" Jones is a drunken mess who had numerous attempts at cleaning up his act but relapsed into his ways before long. Often physically and emotionally abused Casey, who took it all as per the dying words of his mother.
    • Shredder to Karai, as a member of the Foot Clan, he doesn't treat her any differently than any of the rest — and thus often puts her through the ringer, physically and emotionally.
    • Baxter Stockman's father is implied to be as much, though we see little of their relationship. Still, what we see doesn't paint a very good picture.
    • Quanin seemed to be this towards Krang, holding his son to such lofty standards and neglecting to show him parental affection.
    • Master Splinter to his four sons in the later stories. After becoming the master of the Foot Clan, he slowly becomes a darkly pragmatic criminal who treats all those in his company as tools. Ironically, becomes a good father to Jennika during this period.
    • Jennika's father was not a good man who drove his daughter from their house. Jennika herself was implied to become one to Lita during Lita's timeline.
    • Jennika: Redemption introduces Lucia Rosetti, a glamorous mobster wife who fronts as a loving mother but in the end, treated her son as a prop for her criminal career.
  • 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, to the point that in issue 40, it takes a total of ten people to fight them, and the only thing they managed to do was slow Bebop and Rocksteady down long enough to escape rather than actually defeat them. And as of #44, they nearly kill Donatello.
    • Shredder himself also qualifies as this—while he's certainly nothing to take lightly in other media, he's often been depicted as making use of high-tech weaponry and/or using cheap shots to combat the Turtles. This incarnation of him relies on pure martial arts and classic ninja combat, and can easily take on all four Turtles at once. He even forces Krang, an alien in a suit of Powered Armor, to a draw.
    • Krang himself. In the original cartoon he was a Smug Snake who typically played Orcus on His Throne and relied on Shredder to carry out his plans, while continuously berating him for his failures and kept relying him anyways. Krang in this series does NOT need any help from Shredder for his plans. He is also not the helpless creature outside his Powered Armor, either, having survived in a warzone without it, and once killing a subordinate, without using any weapons, who proposed that he was helpless outside his armor.
  • Adaptational Heroism: While he starts out as a ruthless villain, the Shredder eventually undergoes Character Development and by the time he's resurrected a second time around, he decides to honor Splinter's memory by watching over his sons and eventually training them for a war against the Rat King.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • While Karai's morals and relationship to the turtles have differed between iterations, she is usually portrayed as an Anti-Hero who tries implementing honorable traits into the Foot Clan whenever the Shredder isn't around, or at least is unwilling to go to the same obscene lengths as her jonin would. This version of Karai murdered her own father because he wasn't as much of a cold-blooded killer as The Shredder and will often sabotage the Shredder's more moderate plans when she isn't trying to earn his approval.
    • In the 2003 comic he originated from, Agent Bishop was very much a xenophobe before he had his change of heart, and even then he was a Pragmatic Villain. Here he's a genocidal mad-man waging a war against all mutant kind under the idea that just being a mutant made them an existential threat to humanity.
    • Leatherhead who at first seems like a good-natured, if slightly self centered, individual but murders several Utroms in stasis before nearly killing Fugitoid and trying to kill the turtles when found out, as opposed to the usually calm scientist he was in the 4Kids version, or the Reluctant Psycho who still fights on the side of good in the 2012 version.
    • Whereas the Utroms are generally peace-loving and heroic in other continuities, here, they're far more warlike and evil, having even established an intergalactic empire.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Splinter — perhaps taking a nod from the second cartoon — now has gray fur. Except in the Infestation tie-in miniseries, where he's portayed with his more traditional brown fur, but since this happened early in the series' run, this is probably just a mistake.
  • Adaptation Species Change:
    • The Triceratons, while still humanoid dinosaurs, are now genetically-enhanced Earthly Triceratops rather than an alien species.
    • Agent Bishop can be considered another example. In the 2003 cartoon, he was an enhanced human who survived for a long time through a series of clone bodies. Here, while he may have been a man before, he possesses a robot body under his human looking exterior instead. It's eventually revealed that he is human, albeit severely deformed since birth, piloting a robot that looks human.
    • Several characters from the Archie comic are given new origins as well: Null goes from a demon (or possibly human turned demon) to an alien from Dimension Z (with a Gender Flip to boot). Likewise, her cousin is Noi Tai Dar who was originally a Japanese oni.
    • Downplayed with Seri. In the original Mirage series, she was a Protoceraton, a species allied with the Styracodons against the Triceratons, though Donatello does find out they all originate from the same base ancestor species. In IDW, Seri is simply made a Triceraton.
  • Affably Evil:
    • Bebop and Rocksteady are pretty chill guys who to a stranger, come off as good-natured idiots. However, if you tick them off, have something they want, or if they're just in a bad mood, they'll show their true colors as remorseless killers.
    • Leatherhead who despite wanting to kill the Utroms was genuinely interested in going to New York with the turtles and seemed disappointed when he was discovered.
  • 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.
  • Amoral Attorney: Averted with Krang's attorney during his trial for war crimes. Though he legally makes the best case he can for Krang's innocence, he makes it clear when it's just the two of them that he has nothing but contempt for Krang and calls him a fool for having the initial judge assassinated, which ends up having the king of the world Krang attempted to subjugate replace him.
  • Anticlimax: During the "City Fall" storyline, the conflict between the Foot clan and other gangs in New York was built up as being so huge that it could potentially tear New York apart. In the end, all that happened was that the Shredder easily killed the leader of the Savate and all the other crime lords meekly swore fealty to him.
  • Arc Words: For the City Fall storyline: "This is no place for you".
  • Art Shift: During Kitsune's Mind Rape of Leonardo to brainwash him into becoming a Foot soldier, during flashbacks, the art style changes to different artists who had worked on previous issues.
  • 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!
    • In Michelangelo's solo issue, he stops an attempted diamond heist with an undercover cop named Kara Lewis. Roughly 50 issues later, she returns as Agent Bishop's NYPD liason who clearly regrets where her job has taken her.
  • Asian Fox Spirit: Kitsune is, well...exactly what her name implies, a kitsune.
  • Badass Bystander: The entire neighborhood that the Purple Dragons had been terrorizing joins Casey in fighting back.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: A couple of them, particularly when Kitsune and her immortal siblings are involved.
    • In issue 66, Alopex finally confronts Kitsune over the latter's subtle manipulations, leading up to using her as a brainwashed soldier against the Turtles when she rebelled against Splinter. Ultimately, Alopex wins, driving Kitsune from her mind.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Slash absolutely adores Mikey on the grounds that he gave him candy. This continues even after Slash's growth in intelligence.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Shredder tries to invoke this with Krang, informing the latter that his plan to conquer Earth won't succeed without a human aspect to the empire—one that mankind can relate to. Krang, however, isn't having any of it.
  • Big Damn Heroes: After the Turtles and Splinter are trapped in a warehouse, beaten by Dark Leonardo and completely surrounded by the Foot, Slash literally crashes in to save them.
  • Bio-Augmentation: StockGen's real stock in trade.
  • 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 loyal minions. Subverted eventually, where it's revealed that she's only been loyal to Shredder all that time so she can get close enough to kill him. And not because she's The Starscream, but because he butchered her old pack to leave her with nothing but the Foot Clan.
    • Lucia Rosetti in the Jennika side story at first plays the innocent loving mother to convince Jennika to bring her son to her but turns out to be just as abusive as the mobsters holding him hostage... both sides simply want the heir apparent to the Rosetti mafia family under their control.
  • "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word: In issue #98, April warns Doctor Stockman she's got dirt on him, and it will be released publicly if anything bad happens to her, her family or her friends.
    Doctor Stockman: "So it's blackmail, then? Extortion."
    April: "I like to think of it as more of an insurance policy."
    Doctor Stockman: "Semantics."
  • Bland-Name Product: Arnold Jones' beverage of choice, Zack Baniels Tennessee Whiskey.
  • Body Double: Shredder set up one of his Foot soldiers in his place during a failed attempt to ally with General Krang.
  • Breaking the Fellowship: After Splinter's death, the rest of the family fractures. Raphael runs off to become a lone vigilante, the other three brothers remain together but barely interact, with Mikey being particularly listless, and April rarely comes by anymore and apparently her life is also a mess with her job with Stockman.
  • Breather Episode: After the double whammy of the turtles disowning Splinter for his increasingly amoral actions and their very near death first encounter with the Earth Protection Force, issue 65 is Christmas party Michelangelo is helming.
  • Butt-Monkey: Lupo, an officer in one of the gangs of New York. In every appearance he makes, he gets his ass handed to him effortlessly. Including his final appearance where Splinter has him killed for betraying the Foot.
  • The Cameo: During the big gang meeting in issue 20, six members of The Warriors can be seen seated behind Hun.
  • Canon Foreigner: A lot. Old Hob, Alopex, Jennika, Kitsune, Koya, Bludgeon, Woody, Harold, Lindsey, Herman, Sally...
  • Canon Immigrant: Many, due to this series attempting to be a blend of all previous TMNT continuities before it. Note: we're counting characters that weren't created for the original Mirage run as canon immigrants.
    • From the original Fred Wolf cartoon and the accompanying Playmates toyline: Krang, Slash, Bebop and Rocksteady, Dark Water, Ace Duck, the Punk Frogs, Mondo Gecko, Scumbug, Mona Lisa, Don Turtelli, Groundchuck and Dirtbag, the Channel 6 News crew, Antrax, the Neutrinos, Big Louie, the Rock Soldiers, the Grybyx, Metalhead.
    • From the 2003 series: Hun, Angel, the Street Phantoms, the Garbageman, Agent Bishop, the Earth Protection Force, Darius Dunn, Torbin Zixx, Ch'rell.
    • From the Archie comics: Man Ray, Null, Dreadmon, Jagwar, Cudley the Cowlick, Armaggon, Stump and Sling, Maligna, Noi Tai Dar, the Nova Posse, Cryin' Houn', Manmoth, the Gang of Four, Cherubrae, Azrael, Wyrm, Wingnut and Screwloose.
    • From the 90's movies: Rahzar and Tokka.
    • From Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation: Venus De Milo.
  • Clone Angst: Since Harold cut ties with them, Donatello decides he needs to up his mechanical knowledge to make up for the lost brainpower, so he starts rebuilding the robot that his consciousness was placed inside of previously. It turns out the data of his consciousness was copied and kept in the robot even when his mind and soul were returned to his own body. The copied Donatello struggles with the fact that he isn't the real Donatello and his robot brain is unable to resolve the existential terror of his situation, so he chooses to delete all his "human" elements so that only his raw intellect remains before he escapes.
  • Composite Character:
    • Krang now is an Utrom and a more serious villain like Ch'rell from the 4Kids Entertainment 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.
    • Leatherhead's overall design and intelligent manner of speech is reminiscent of the 4K version, his backstory of being captured and experimented on by Krang is from his 2012 characterization but takes it much further than he did, and his status as a villain and starting as a normal gator in a swamp is from the 1987 series.
  • Celebrity Paradox: An odd non-actor example in issue 65. On the second page, in the turtles' lair, you can see the cover of very issue you are currently reading lying on the floor.
  • Crossover: In release order...
  • Darker and Edgier: Not as dark as the original Mirage comic series, but darker than just about everything else since then, with a large amount of blood and profanity (even from the turtles themselves) for a comic with Nickelodeon's name attached to it.
  • Darkest Hour: In the aftermath of "City at War", Splinter is dead, the victims of Hob's mutagen bomb have been walled off and forced into a sector riddled with deficient living conditions and thugs, separating friends and families alike, and the Turtles themselves, as well as their allies, have been rendered broken from the fallout, becoming distant from one another.
    • "The Armageddon Game" takes it even further, as Rat King deliberately decided to start his own apocalypse following the death of his father Dragon, so he teamed up with the turtles' worst arch-enemies, manipulating many sides and causing chaos in multiple worlds, as well as using clones of the turtles to smear their names and make it near-impossible for anyone to reliably help them in stopping the war.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Just about every character of any importance gets an issue dedicated to them, often about their backstory. Beyond that, each of the 4 brothers has an arc that focuses on them.
    • Raphael's arc is also the beginning of the story where he grew up separated from the others and had to make his own way on the streets before eventually having to learn how to adjust to having a family.
    • Leonardo's arc involves his kidnapping and brainwashing into Shredder's second in command and Leo's recovery in the aftermath of that event.
    • Donatello's arc involves him coming into conflict with Splinter about whether Shredder or Krang is the more imminent threat, and Donatello's efforts to stop Krang's plan to terraform Earth.
    • Michelangelo's arc is about his separation from the rest of his family after he abandons Splinter for killing Shredder and taking over the Foot.
  • Decomposite Character: In the 2003 cartoon, Ch'rell was an Utrom Warlord who was very much a criminal in the eyes of the Utrom before crash-landing on Earth, becoming that show's iteration of The Shredder (making him a Composite Character of the 1987 show's Shredder and Krang). While the IDW Shredder is very much human (albeit an immortal, magically enhanced one), there also exists Colonel Ch'rell, one of the surviving Utrom who was their empire's deadliest warriors.
  • Depending on the Artist: The comic regularly rotates its artists, with over a dozen regular artists to date, and each and every one of them has a radically different and distinct drawing style from one another.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: In Feudal Japan, Oroku Saki decides that not only should they assassinate a Castle Lord who possess a threat to them, but they should also perform a massacre to the innocent civilians there as a show of force for the Foot Clan. When Hamato Yoshi protests, the Shredder assassinates his wife Tang Shen and hunts him and his sons down for years, being sure to make Yoshi watch him kill his boys before beheading him.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The first run in the turtles have with the Foot also introduces the Savate, a rival gang. However, the Savate member is killed by the Foot members chasing him, and the gang itself doesn't really come into focus until multiple arcs later.
  • Early Personality Signs: The turtles pre-mutation were introduced with Leonardo sitting still and quiet, Donatello curiously observing a bug, Michelangelo gorging on lettuce and Raphael on the far side of the enclosure by himself.
  • 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, and eventually all the Mutanimals befriend the turtles and their allies. Old Hob remains as hostile as ever but is now a full ally to the good guys.
    • Despite a long history of bad blood between them, Shredder offers an alliance with Krang to conquer Earth. Krang doesn't take the offer.
    • The fallout of the above leads to the Turtles and Splinter teaming up with the Foot, given their mutual goal of preventing General Krang from terraforming Earth.
    • As things get more dangerous overtime and their enemies grow stronger, namely the Pantheon, the turtles end up allying themselves with Baxter Stockman, aided by his inventions and genius level intelligence against the bigger threats, and April even starts working for Baxter in a legitimate job again. While it's clearly Teeth-Clenched Teamwork between them, they all know that it's necessary to work together to basically prevent the earth and themselves from being destroyed.
  • Evil Is Petty: Oroku Saki has Hamato Yoshi branded a traitor, has his wife killed, hunts the rest of his family for years and executes his four adolescent sons in front of him before finally killing him. What horrible thing did Yoshi do to deserve this? He protested Saki wanting to massacre innocent people to make an example of a Warlord for "disrespecting" him.
  • Evil Versus Evil: The "New Mutant Order" and "Attack on Technodrome" arcs has Shredder and the Foot Clan battling General Krang and his forces. There is also the gang war between the Foot clan and the Savate, a French gang who are similar to the Foot in terms of being ninja, but with French martial arts instead.
  • Exact Words: After scans of Donatello's death spread across the web, writer Tom Waltz said there was no earthly way he could have survived. As it turns out, his spirit is alive on another plane of existence, and ends up returning by possessing MetalHead while the Fugitoid uses an alien mutagen to heal his body.
    • Krang promises Stockman sanctuary from the Technodrome, he never said where it'd be.
  • Expy: Alopex is often considered 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 turn into allies of some sort. Doubly so given the chemistry between her and Raphael.
    • Possibly averted since the letters column declared that Alopex's creator didn't base her on Ninjara.
  • Expy Coexistence: The Ch'rell incarnation of the Shredder for the 2003 series was meant to be a Composite Character of both the Shredder and Krang but more often than not brings to mind Krang, on account of him being an evil, tentacled alien in larger Powered Armor. In this series, Krang, who ironically this time takes some inspiration from Ch'rell in being a more serious villain, coexists with Ch'rell who's a general under him and the two of them finally come to blows in Issue #136.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Old Hob. Being blind in one eye doesn't make him any less dangerous.
  • Face Framed in Shadow: General Krang.
  • Family of Choice: All over the place. The turtles consider their close friends family, the Mutanimals consider themselves family, even the Foot clan treat one another like a family clan.
  • Fantastic Foxes: Alopex is a mutant Arctic fox.
  • Fantastic Ghetto: Mutant Town is a walled off area of Manhattan for people mutated by the mutagen bomb.
  • Feathered Fiend: Koya, Shredder's mutant falcon and ruthless enforcer.
  • Foreshadowing: During the "Shredder in Hell" storyline, Shredder's ghost meets Splinter's soul who tries to guide him to salvation. In issue 4, Splinter reunites with his wife and the two reincarnate into new lives. However, this might seem odd considering Splinter is still alive in the main series going on at the same time. However, in issue 100 which released the same month as the final issue of "Shredder in Hell", Splinter does die.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Issue 6 reveals Stockman's new Minefield Ordnance Unarming System Enhanced Robots.
  • Gambit Pileup:
    • The City at War storyline, leading up to issue 100, has all of the active factions clash together. Karai attempts to take over the Foot by force, Splinter attempts to fight back, the Mutanimals stage a raid on Null, Bishop attempts to kill the Turtles once and for all, and he allies himself with Metalhead who specifically wants Donatello dead. Meanwhile, most of the Turtles are just trying to save Jennika's life after she is critically wounded by Karai. All over the course of one night.
    • On a more lighthearted note, the 2012 Annual has at least 5 different groups all making plans around a briefcase full of diamonds, with several other factions getting tangled up in the ensuing chaos. It ends in a free-for-all brawl between ninjas, savateurs, two crooked cops, a street gang, two aged scottish prizefighters and our heroes...none of which actually get the diamonds, as they're dumped in the harbor by Casey just as the cops show up to break up the riot.
  • Gender Flip: Null from the Archie Comics series is introduced as a female, as is Jagwar who is also a member of the Pantheon.
  • 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 their fighting skills and reflexes might be caused (partly) or enhanced by the super-soldier serum (which WAS created for military use and tampered with by an alien scientist.)
  • Giant Enemy Crab: Herman the Hermit Crab, who wears a dumpster on his back with machineguns and missile launchers hidden inside it.
  • The Glomp: A particularly noteworthy one in Issue 66, when Alopex joyously hugs Raphael after freeing herself from Kitsune's mind control. Raph also unleashes a massive glomp on Donatello in Issue 50, when a robotified Donatello had seemingly blown himself up, only to return as a flesh-and-blood Turtle again.
    • Michelangelo has a tendency to do this to Tang Shen whenever he sees her, out of joy that he's seeing his mother.
  • Graceful Loser: Shredder, after being mortally wounded by Splinter in their final duel, chooses to Face Death with Dignity and commits ritual suicide.
  • Guns Are Worthless: Both the Turtles and the Foot Clan regularly go up against heavily armed thugs and gangsters with nothing but melee weapons and martial arts and they almost always win by a wide margin.
  • Hand Seals: Oroku Saki teaches the Turtles the art of kuji-kiri, "the nine cuts", giving them access to a whole new range of mystic abilities in the lead-up to The Armageddon Game.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Old Hob starts out as a pure villain, then mellows out into an Unscrupulous Hero over time and goes all the way back into full villainy with the Mutagen Bomb incident. By the end of the Mutant Town arc he's becoming more sympathetic again and in The Armageddon Game he is once again a teeth-clenched ally of the good guys.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • Quite a few characters start off as bad guys but end up becoming full-time good guys, such as Alopex, Slash and former Foot assassin Jennika.
    • Shredder of all people makes a full face turn after going through literal hell and finding redemption. The redeemed Oroku Saki acts as the Big Good of the Armageddon Game story arc.
  • 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.
    • Later, in Issue #50, Donatello does the same thing by showing up in his healed body to deliver the knockout blow on Bebop and Rocksteady.
  • Hidden Depths: Despite his villainous nature (see the "Hypocrite" entry, for example), there are subtle hints that Shredder's harshness towards Karai is meant to encourage her to improve her skills and think for herself, and that he might actually care for Kitsune. It comes to a head in Issue #50, where Shredder admits both of these things outright before committing seppuku.
    • Kitsune also shows hints of this, being visibly disturbed when Splinter accuses her of being a Manipulative Bitch who never truly loved Shredder; and later openly rebelling against the new leader of the Foot Clan in an attempt to retrieve Shredder's remains.
    • For all of his off-putting attitude and often ruthless methods, Old Hob shows more and more of this as the comic moves along, with examples such as coming to see the Mutanimals (especially Slash) as family and his fierce protectiveness of them ( when he, the turtles and Mutanimals must flee without being able to rescue Slash from Bishop's mind control, Hob's clearly heartbroken ). And for all of his vitriol for humans, he seems to start learning to not be so gung-ho about it overtime, what with Lindsay becoming a part of the Mutanimals family, as well as being horrified and infuriated when Bishop kills off his own father (after Hob took him hostage but never harmed him), who was a harmless, elderly man.
  • History Repeats: See Klingon Promotion. Taken a step further when Splinter assumes leadership of the Foot Clan after Shredder's death, and once again tries to reform the Foot into a force for honor.
  • 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.
  • Hulk Speak: Slash gets into this, but it stops once he gets a big boost in intelligence.
  • Hypocrite: Oroku Saki will not shut up about the importance of loyalty and family. This despite betraying almost everyone he's ever worked with, murdering his father and abandoning his children, and routinely demanding his followers abandon or even kill their own family members.
  • Insistent Terminology: Turtles are amphibious, not amphibian and they won't ever let you forget it.
  • Interspecies Friendship: All over the place given how many mutants (and aliens, etc.) are running around. Some specific examples are Raphael & Casey, Angel & Alopex, and Mikey & Woody.
  • Interspecies Romance: One may be developing between Raphael and Alopex, which gets more obvious over time. In issue 66, Raphael mentions to Angel his doubts about a relationship with Alopex due to being different species, but Angel basically tells him to stop worrying about that and just go for it.
  • It Only Works Once: Kitsune successfully brainwashed Leonardo to install him as Shredder's second in command. Eventually the effect was broken, and Leonardo has been more resistant to mind control than the others ever since. In their first direct fight with Kitsune, only he was able to resist her powers.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Zodi, the scorpion mutant, was quite brutal, being willing to ruthlessly maim or kill any human soldier who got in her way and at one point, used Michelangelo as a shield to bust through hordes of Bishop's commandos. She was also quite harsh when she criticized the Turtles for being hot-headed, overly compassionate, and stupid enough that they might very well get themselves killed. However, given how the Turtles, especially Raphael, had taken some heavy hits from Bishop's troops and at times, almost got themselves maimed or killed by the humans due to their moral code and holding back while Zodi herself was able to fight Bishop's commandos much more efficiently despite being outnumbered because she didn't hold back, Zodi wasn't totally wrong in all the things she said.
  • Kayfabe: In one chapter, the Turtles go to an intergalactic wrestling ring in Dimension X, which has Mikey excited as can be. He is the only one in the group that doesn't realize that wrestling is all scripted, leading him to be confused about why the organizer they are there to collect keeps talking about who is going to win and lose like it's a sure thing.
  • 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.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall / Reality Subtext: Issue 103 has Raphael go on a long rant against Jennika, mocking her for assuming that just because she's now a turtle, she's instantly part of the family and entitled to understand how they feel. Worse, as far as he's concerned, Splinter was the only one who cared about her, and with him gone "no one gives a damn". Harsh but understandable, given what he's been through lately? Absolutely. Also a subtle acknowledgement of certain issues the fanbase has with her? Also yes.
  • Love Confessor: Raph uncertainly admits to Angel that he loves Alopex (at the very least, he doesn't outright deny it when she asks if he loves Alopex), but acknowledges that he and her are biologically incompatible. However, he also goes on to admit that he feels comfortable with her, given that they're both loners who've dealt with a lot.
  • Mad Scientist: Aside from Baxter Stockman, Harold Lillja and Dr. Barlow.
  • Meaningful Echo: When Shredder tosses Leo off a building in their first encounter he says "I am... disappointed". Then when The turtles have their first small victory over Shredder Leo echoes, "I am... disappointed".
  • Mob War: City Fall is huge clash between all the city's major criminal elements.
  • More Dakka: New character Herman the Hermit Crab specializes on this, thanks to the arsenal he carries on the dumpster that he uses as a "shell".
  • More than Mind Control: Thanks to some evil Foot Clan magic, Leonardo unwillingly becomes Dark Leonardo.
    • Alopex finds herself in the same predicament due to Kitsune's subtle brainwashing.
    • A technological version applies to Slash, who is controlled remotely by Bishop through electronic nodes in his brain.
  • Mutagenic Goo: The series' staple Ooze is a recurring element in the story. Here it is an Utrominon-derived substance that can be used to do just about anything.
  • 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.
      • Possibly it was actually Ch'rell, as the character was later revealed to be one of the Utroms in stasis.
    • 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.
    • Splinter is gray-fured like his 2003 counterpart and wears a simlar robe.
    • Krang's robot body in the past looks very similar to the one he 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.
    • Pre-Mutation Splinter claws the face of a retreating Foot Ninja leaving familiar scars around his eye.
    • After Mikey throws down his chucks in protest of Splinter lead the foot, he uses a grappling hook much like he did due to Bowdlerization in the later seasons of 1987 series.
    • April's mother is a former journalist, an occupation April herself would hold in 1987 cartoon and most of the films.
    • During the Mutant Town arc Michelangelo starts a pirate radio station, something he also did in the maligned live action Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation series.
    • Heck, the entire Mutant Town arc itself, from certain characters to the basic idea of a mutant-dominant society, is one giant reference to the 1980s Palladium Books TMNT spin-off RPG 'After the Bomb'. Thats even the name of Mutant Town's only nightclub.
    • Jennika mentions that when she was human, one of her favorite metal bands was called 'Mercilles Slaughter', which was the name of the band Mondo Gecko belonged to in the Archie series before mutating into a gecko.
    • Issue #136 shows Ch'rell having made a Triceraton his new outer body. This refers to the unused concept of the "TriShreddatron" which was supposed to debut in an unproduced episode of the seventh season but got scrapped because they decided to put an end to Fast Forward and make the seventh and final season about the Turtles returning to their own time in Back To The Sewers.
  • Never Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight: General Krang invoked this trope word by word while mocking Shredder, who is alone and cornered by Krang and his men. However, Shredder takes the opportunity to summon his new mutants Koya and Bludgeon into the fray.
  • 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.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In the Turtles in Time storyline, Leonardo almost breaks the timeline to stop Oroku Saki from killing the Hamato family. Unfortunately, Saki takes it as an omen and adopts the policy that ends in exactly that.
  • No MacGuffin, No Winner: The 2012 annual is all about the Foot, the Savate and a bunch of unaffiliated criminals and civilians hunting for a lost briefcase full of diamonds, resulting in a massive free-for-all brawl at the story's climax that only ends when Casey tosses the diamonds into the harbor. With nothing to fight over (and the cops rapidly approaching) the various combatants all beat a hasty retreat.
  • Non-Indicative Name: In this canon, the story starts a little over a year after the turtles and Splinter mutate into their humanoid forms from animals. So unless they were rather long lived animals before their mutation, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are not actually anything close to being teenagers.
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries: Largely averted, but somewhat zig-zagged with Mona Lisa due to Depending on the Artist issues and Played With for Zodi the scorpion mutant as her design includes a top that gives her a more traditional female silhouette.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: The story starting with Issue 100. Splinter is dead and the Turtles have all separated in their grief; Shredder is brought back to life through Kitsune sacrificing Aka, the only truly benevolent member of the Pantheon; Karai is in control of the Foot Clan and seemingly has no intention of continuing any noble path Splinter started; Baxter Stockman is mayor; Old Hob's mutagen bomb has turned thousands of New Yorkers into mutants and the government has walled them into ghetto.
  • Only One Name: Given that they don't really have families most mutants have one name.
  • 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.
  • The Psycho Rangers: In the Armageddon Game storyline the villains make use of a quartet of Evil Knockoff Ninja Turtles to destroy the reputation of the heroes in false flag terrorist attacks and cause chaos in Mutant Town. Nobody who's seen the real deal up close is buying it, but with Stockman in full control of the narrative any voices of reason are drowned out by a media frenzy...
  • 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.
  • Related in the Adaptation: In most iterations, Casey Jones and Hun are portrayed as arch-enemies, with some versions of hun having killed or seriously wrong Casey's father. Here, Hun is Casey's father, Arnold "Attila the Hun" Jones having once ran the Purple Dragons before he married and had Casey. While portrayed primarily as an abusive drunk, it's after Casey is mortally wounded by the Shredder when Arnold realizes just how much he had disappointed his son, leaving him easy prey for the Shredder to manipulate into being his enforcer.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Hob's hatred towards humans was so strong that as soon as he found out Bebop and Rocksteady were formerly human, he stopped trying to convince them to join his mutant army and attacked them. Beforehand, Bebop and Rocksteady were shown to be willing to listen to his offer and even consider leaving the Foot to join him. Had Hob not allowed his hatred for humans to cloud his perception of the two, it was entirely possible that he could have gotten Bebop and Rocksteady to leave the Foot Clan and thus, prevent Donatello from being critically injured by them later on.
  • Running Gag: The turtles often get called amphibians. Donatello usually reminds them that they are actually reptiles. Inverted when Manmoth calls his brother Toad a reptile and Donatello corrects him, saying that Toad is an amphibian. Which leads to Manmoth calling the turtles amphibians.
  • Screw Learning, I Have Phlebotinum!: Splinter's blood is the key ingredient for the psychotropic serum that creates mutants with higher intellects. Slash became the first mutant in Hob's Mutanimals to taking the serum and becoming well articulate and more intelligent to the point that he can infiltrate the Turtles' lair and effortlessly disable Donatello's security system.
  • Secret Project Refugee Family: Subverted: while the Turtles and Splinter initially seem to be this, it turns that the reality is much more complicated.
    • The Mutanimals fit the bill though. Most of them have been the subjects of cruel experimentation and all of them are outcasts sought after as commodities by shady organizations.
  • Seen It All: "In a world full of megalomaniacal interdimensional aliens, reincarnated ninja warriors, not to mention other assorted monsters and mutated freaks, believing in immortal demigods is no stretch of the imagination by any means".
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: See Nice Job Breaking It, Hero.
  • 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.
  • Shipper on Deck: Angel is aware of and teases Raph and Alopex over their Ship Tease.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Various gags and references to other works are strewn throughout the series, such as Walter White showing up in a crowd scene in issue #27.
    • During Bebop and Rocksteady Destroy Everything the time-traveling Turtles interrupt a velociraptor's attack on a protoceratops, two dinosaurs that end up joining the cast as Anchovy and Pepperoni, respectively. From the way the attack looks, however, it seems like in a timeline where their fight wasn't stopped, they were destined to become one of the mesozoic age's most famous fossils...
    • Issue 100 has this gem:
      Nobody: Freaking demons and dragons! It's like the ultimate nerd dream!
      Casey Jones: 'Cept these chumps ain't make-believe in someone's mom's basement!
      Jennika: That's okay, we're not exactly using dice as weapons either.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: Before they part ways, Mikey tries reaching out to Zodi that surviving isn't everything and that love and companionship are more important. She firmly cuts him off mid-speech, telling him that surviving is everything, as it's the sole reason the turtles worked with her and vice-versa, and if slitting Mikey's throat was conducive to her survival she would do so without hesitation. She caps it off by telling him he can't save every mutant, and not every mutant wants to be saved.
  • Slowly Slipping Into Evil: Implied to be happening to Splinter, after taking control of the Foot Clan and having to take steadily more ruthless actions to prevent other factions from taking control. Interestingly, Splinter himself seems to be aware of this, as he deliberately encouraged the Turtles to turn their back on the Foot Clan - and him, as well - so they wouldn't be party to his more ruthless actions.
  • So Proud of You: Splinter feels this way about his sons. Surpisingly, Shredder - yes, that Shredder - is revealed to think the same of his granddaughter, Karai.
  • Stable Time Loop: The Turtles in Time mini-series reveals the Turtles time traveling's directly or indirectly responsible for some of the more significant elements of the series backstory that have impacted them in the Present Day: The ancient Utrom selecting Triceratops, Oroku Saki's murder of Hamato Yoshi and family, and Leatherhead's exposure to the Ooze.
  • 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.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork:
    • Any time the turtles are forced to work with Old Hob/ The Mutanimals due to Hob's nasty personality and dubious ethics. There was also that time the turtles had to temporarily work with the Foot Clan against The Technodrome
    • Can't forget the turtles and Stockman. They constantly need each other's help, but barely hide their disdain for each other, snarking and insulting each other the whole time.
      Raphael: Bite me, Stockman.
    • In The Armageddon Game the turtles are forced to look for unusual allies in order to counter the Rat King's Villain Teamup, and while Karai and Old Hob do agree to join up with their enemies (they also prefer the world un-destroyed for their own plans, after all), it's very clear that neither side is particularly happy with the arrangement.
  • Terraform: Krang's ultimate plan for Earth. He has a degree of success when the Technodrome manages to make Burnow Island into a survivable habitat for Utroms.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Ordered by Splinter.
    • Later Splinter himself, when he assists Shredder in committing seppuku.
  • 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 StockGen up right afterwards. This all pays off later on, as he now owns even more weapons and has a full crew of mutants and a human scientist all working for him as his agenda advances.
    • 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.
    • Bebop and Rocksteady were originally down on their luck human gangsters until joining the Foot Clan and rising up from wannabes to low ranking muscles out of pure determination. They then willingly become mutants after going through a life-or-death brawl set up by Karai to defeat the other candidates.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Pizza natch, though Mikey seems to like it the most. Leonardo notes that he gets tired of having it all the time, though it's better than Splinter's cooking. The Punk Frogs, befitting their role as somewhat more anarchic counterparts to the TMNT, loathe Pizza (one mentions that given a choice between pizza and starvation he'd choose to die)...they go mad for Tacos instead.
  • Tropaholics Anonymous: Arnold “Atilla the Hun” Jones attends an meeting of an Alcoholics support group in the eponymous “Villains” issue. He talks about how he went from being an alcoholic to being in a management position in a big business. Of course, since his “job” is leading the Purple Dragons street gang as enforcers for the Foot Clan, a lot of the story he shares is filled with Exact Words, Metaphorically True statements, and Double Speak.
  • Troubled, but Cute: Casey, perhaps moreso than any other adaptation. Alopex as well, especially after her “Villains” issue.
  • Truer to the Text: This version of Tokka and Rahzar go back to their origin of being powerful mutants with the minds of infants rather than other adaptations having them as more intelligent adults.
  • 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. Of course, see Xanatos Gambit.
  • Villain Team-Up:
    • Averted when Shredder tries to forge an alliance with General Krang in order to rule Earth together; unlike certain other incarnations of the character this Krang flatly refuses on the basis that he never trusted Shredder, he already has the technology and power to annihilate Earth's military forces, and lastly he has no intention of sparing a single human when he has the Technodrome in his possession.
    • In The Armageddon Game overall Big Bad Rat King recruits Madame Null, Mayor Stockman and Krang to his side, along with various minor villains affiliated with one or more of the aforementioned three.
  • Walking Disaster Area: Any time Bebop and Rocksteady are involved in a fight the surrounding area will be probably be razed.
  • Wall of Weapons: Old Hob has walls of guns in his apartment and later Mutanimals HQ. Foot HQ has some as well for ninja weapons.
  • War Arc: The Armageddon Game, which concerns Rat King deciding to start his own version of the apocalypse in New York City by recruiting other villains, with the Hamato Clan gathering allies and even enemies to counter and (hopefully) stop him.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Krang sought the approval of his father Emperor Quanin until he finally Took a Level in Badass.
  • Wham Episode: Issue 50 - Splinter kills Shredder and takes over the Foot Clan, leaving Mikey to bail in anger and confusion, afraid of just ending up like how Shredder was.
    • Issue 100 oh so much - Hob detonates a mutation bomb in the middle of a political rally, causing many New Yorkers to be mutated, Casey's father Hun dies taking a shot that was meant for Casey, Bishop is killed, Kitsune's plan to summon her father nearly comes to pass, and Splinter sacrifices his life to stop it, (deliberately) reviving the Shredder in the process.
  • World of Badass: Most of the cast, in some form or another; but Shredder really takes the prize by being able to fight all four turtles at once. While other versions of the Shredder often rely on trickery, alien science, or power armor, this version of him often fights with nothing more than his own formidable martial arts and his bladed gauntlets.
  • Worm That Walks: Wyrm is depicted as a colony of sapient flatworms gathered in a humanoid shape after exposure to mutagen.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Leonardo and Raphael in particular. Raph has no hesitation about repeatedly punching Alopex during their time as enemies, and Leonardo kicked Karai in the face hard enough to send her flying backwards and repeatedly took down Koya.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Shredder's plan for Leonardo throughout the City Fall arc. Should Kitsune's brainwashing of him be completely successful, he'll have a powerful lieutenant who could rival Karai as his successor. And if Leonardo breaks free (which he ends up doing), he and the rest of the Hamato clan will still be haunted by the fact that Shredder was able to claim and corrupt one of their own. And either way, it'll encourage Karai to improve herself in order to become a worthy heir to Shredder's mantle.
  • Yet Another Christmas Carol: Issue 89 does this with Splinter taking the part of Scrooge.
    • The spirit of Shredder in chains acts as Jacob Marley warning him that his increasingly ruthless actions will lead Splinter down the same path he took.
    • Aka of the pantheon acts as Christmas Past showing him good and bad events from his life to show him that "no man is perfect but love is".
    • Toad Baron is Christmas Present, showing Splinter that his absence is causing the turtles and their friends to become isolated and scattered in times of grief and hardship.
    • Finally Gothano is Christmas Yet-To-Come and shows Splinter that if he doesn't change, he will become just like Shredder (even dressing like him) and murder the turtles allies for not following him, forcing his own sons to kill him. He takes the lesson to heart and is attempting to mend his relationship with his family.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: In an unexpected turn of events, upon Shredder's defeat and death, Splinter becomes leader of the Foot, with Leonardo becoming his second in command. All of the turtles have varying levels of bad feelings about it, with Leonardo being the most committed and Michelangelo balking immediately.
  • Younger Than They Look:
    • The Turtles and Splinter are exposed to the mutagen only 15 months before the events of the first issue. In fact, Splinter is likely around the same physical ages as his sons, though mentally and spiritually he is older.
    • Most mutants, like Old Hob or Alopex, mutated into fully grown adults and teenagers despite being average animal ages beforehand.


Video Example(s):


The Shredder

He's been portrayed as a bumbling cartoon villain, a brutal ninja warlord, an armor-clad alien monster, a man wearing full-blown Powered Armor, and even a set of Animated Armor himself.

How well does it match the trope?

4.93 (14 votes)

Example of:

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