Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Adding History
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a story that has been retold more times than it ought to have over the past 30 years. Most versions begin with a premise derivative of the original Eastman and Laird comic, and the few differences have to do with whether or not Splinter was a originally a rat and who/what Shredder is. The tales spin out from there, each going in a different, pretty much meaningless, direction once the story reaches beyond the Splinter/Shredder revenge story.
The new comic by IDW alters the premise in such a way that it seems to provide a greater emotional depth to the central conflict between Splinter and Shredder. This one involves the turtles themselves.
Issue 5 of the new series bounces between the present day and feudal Japan, showing that Hamato Yoshi was a member of the Foot Clan. He had a falling out with Oroku Saki because he did not agree that innocents should be harmed during assassination attempts. This of course led to an attack on Yoshi’s homestead and the murder of his wife. Fortunately, he got away with his four children. But he couldn’t evade the foot for long…
It would seem that this version of the ninja turtles are the reincarnation of a slaughtered family from feudal Japan. This isn’t mere theory, mind you. Splinter recalled the story while returning to his sewer home and the turtles mention how easily they are picking up on the martial arts as well as naturally feeling bonded with one another. In this story the turtles are avenging their mother and themselves.
This makes the story more interesting to me, despite knowing that they will either a.) never get revenge so that the comic can do nothing but make money, or b.) get revenge on the Shredder but the comic will continue to the point of nonsense so that IDW can continue making money. The intriguing premise will fall victim of the usual comic trappings, rendering the story meaningless. My hope is that the creative spark they used to ignite this tale might ultimately prove me wrong.
But this is great. It’s been three years since a TMNT property did something to grab my attention like this. Anyone remember Turtles Forever? If not, you missed out on something amazing.