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Best Battles in Comic Book History: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles vs. Shredder

The Heroes in a Half Shell are celebrating their 30 year anniversary and we're going to honor the iconic team by highlighting their first fight with Shredder! Get ready to dive back into the pages of Mirage's TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES #1.

Back in 1984, Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird's very first issue of TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES went on sale. Since then, the Heroes in a Half Shell have obviously become massively popular and we've witnessed quite a few incarnations over the years. However, the team's rooftop fight with Shredder in their debut Mirage issue is without question one of the most memorable scenes in the franchise's 30-year history.

After disposing of some criminals, Master Splinter tells the group they are at their peak and prepared to hear their true mission. Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael and Donatello are told the story of how Oroku Saki aka Shredder killed Splinter's master, Hamato Yoshi, and his wife, Tang Shen. Splinter then gives them one objective: challenge and kill the Shredder. The four brothers accept the mission and send Saki a note, calling him out and providing him the time and place where the melee will go down. The Shredder does honor this challenge, but before engaging the team himself, he commands his best Foot Clan ninjas to assault the four mutants. After a bloody battle, the turtles emerge victorious. Despite being battered and cut, the heroes leap at their enemy. Unfortunately for them, the villain is more skilled than they anticipated.

Okay, so the initial clash didn't go too well for the mutated reptiles. Raphael is slashed, Donatello is slashed and kicked (ouch), and then Michelangelo is tossed aside. Leonardo has better luck than his siblings and is able to draw blood from his opponent, slashing the fiend across his chest. The wound looks painful, although the foe still stands confidently and even mocks Splinter's students. This gives Leonardo a much-needed epiphany: they cannot defeat Shredder in one on one combat and need to switch their tactics.

Leo commands his brothers to strike at a distance and each begins to throw projectiles. After being bombarded by throwing stars and daggers, the evil guy finally gets a break as he successfully dodges Rahpael's sais. His luck stops there, though, because as he dodges the sais, a turtle gives him a swift kick to the stomach and then he takes an impactful punch straight to his chin.

Let's take a break from the play-by-play for a moment to discuss why this fight deserves a spot in this segment -- you know, aside from the fact that it is indeed a very spectacular battle. The franchise has been fortunate enough to have a number of talented artists work on these characters. During the current IDW run, creators like Mateus Santolouco and Ross Campbell bring their unique style to the Ninja Turtles' world and breathe new life into the property. That said, any and every turtles fan knows that the signature look began here with Eastman and Laird. In spite of the concept being somewhat silly, their artwork created a dark, gritty and more serious atmosphere. The images in this article are just a small sample of how the co-creators were able to bring a dirty and violent version of New York to the pages of the comic. And, as you can clearly see with the images we've posted, they did a mighty fine job delivering each and every attack these skilled characters dished out.

Then there's the fact Eastman and Laird were able to create a hugely satisfying standalone issue and finish it with such a fierce battle. You could literally read nothing else TMNT related and this would still end up feeling like a complete story. You'd walk away knowing their origin and understand why the Shredder was eventually selected to become their archenemy in other incarnations. This rooftop battle was a superb way to top it all off and leaves you wanting to see more of their adventures. Simply put: it's an intense and delightfully cinematic action scene. It's no wonder it inspired the final fight in the 1990 movie. Anyway, let's chime back in on the brawl.

Now that the turtles are working as a team, things aren't looking so great for Shredder. However, Shredder wasn't selected to become their legendary enemy just because he looks cool. First and foremost, Oroku Saki is a badass, and despite enduring several wounds, he's still able to make a bit of a recovery as he lands a brutal kick on Donny.

Just in case you've managed to avoid knowing how this awesome fight concludes, we definitely won't spoil it for you here. Let's just say it's shocking and, if you consider yourself a fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, you're absolutely obligated to read this issue at some point. It's not like it's hard to find, either. You don't need to shell out a bunch of cash on an original print because IDW has reprinted the comic in both black & white and in color. Basically, if you love the turtles, you need to make sure you read this first issue sooner rather than later and there's no good excuse not to. Trust us, it rocks and is most certainly deserving of a spot in "Best Battles in Comic Book History."

Do you have a favorite fight and think it deserves to be featured in this monthly segment? Well, suggest it below or tell us via Twitter.

35 Comments
Edited by AllStarSuperman

cool, its a really awesome fight

Posted by Ostyo

Turtle Power for life yo.

Online
Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

I love old school TMNT

Posted by Maddpanda531

Urgh. I really want to read the new TMNT. But they're so hard for me to get a hold of.

Having said that, this article also makes me want to read the old TMNT.

Edited by k4tzm4n

cool, its a really awesome fight

Sure is!

@ostyo said:

Turtle Power for life yo.

*high five*

I love old school TMNT

You also get a high five.

Urgh. I really want to read the new TMNT. But they're so hard for me to get a hold of.

Having said that, this article also makes me want to read the old TMNT.

Is digital an option for you? If so, they're very easy to collect. Also, the volumes are pretty cheap on Amazon.

Staff
Posted by GraniteSoldier

I approve this article.

Edited by StMichalofWilson

Epic fight!

Posted by Master_Thief

I find it funny that the shredder died in the first issue and yet he will always be the turtles biggest threat whether its from clones or his own children

Posted by k4tzm4n

I find it funny that the shredder died in the first issue and yet he will always be the turtles biggest threat whether its from clones or his own children

Well, he made a damn good debut, so it makes sense.

Epic fight!

Heck yes it is.

I approve this article.

Thank you.

Staff
Posted by Master_Thief

@k4tzm4n: True and i always see that big difference with splinter in the mirage comics and the other incarnations is that in the mirage version he told the turtles to fight shredder while the other incarnations he's more hesitent when the turtles go out and fight

Edited by Pokergeist

@k4tzm4n: Oh wow, I never thought to see a the original comic that started the whole TMNT being a household name on here.

I always loved how the Mirage Turtles were more willing to kill, they are ninja assassin after all lol.

I am really sad too they never remade everything in color for Mirage. The second run was all in color, then went back to black and white. The 3rd run of Mirage TMNT was also doing very well, but ended short. Sad Panda.

At least IDW is going strong.

Posted by SynCig

I have never read the old school Turtles but I absolutely adore the IDW series.

Posted by pingclang

@syncig: You really should try them. A lot of IDW finds it's roots there.

Amazing choice for battle to feature. It's a great fight and to think, this is in the first issue. What a brawl.

Posted by Hermatt

Go Ninja GO Ninja GO!

Posted by Phalcon05

Cowabunga dude

Edited by KingSciarrillo

Loved this issue. Side note, the current IDW run is really catering to my nostalgia spot. Loving it even more lately!

Posted by SynCig

@pingclang: I plan on it one day. I'm still behind on the current series and I have a ton to read but it is definitely on my to read list.

Edited by danhimself

@cadencev2: I really wish that Eastman would finish volume four....it was going in such an awesomely weird direction with Leonardo fighting along side an alternate reality version of the Shredder at the Universal Martial Arts Tournament, Raphael mutated into a monster turtle, Donatello shrunken living inside a modified Utrom body that he was turning into Metalhead, and Michelangelo doing black ops missions with a Tricereton strike team in space and knocking up an alien princess....such awesome stuff!!!

Posted by ScrappyDont27

Now I want to break out my re print of this , such awesomeness

Edited by ccraft

Pretty brutal fight, still haven't gotten into these old comics yet.

Edited by Maddpanda531

@k4tzm4n: It is an option, but it's one I'd rather avoid. I'll probably end up going the trade route.

Posted by k4tzm4n

@k4tzm4n: It is an option, but it's one I'd rather avoid. I'll probably end up going the trade route.

Ah, gotcha. Well, if you're working with a budget, you can technically jump on with volume 6.

Staff
Posted by Maddpanda531

@k4tzm4n: Vol 6 is City Fall, right? I heard that was really good (mostly from you, actually!). I just checked and it's only 11 dollars on Amazon. I'll definately be picking it up!

Posted by incredible_bulk77

probably my favorite issue of any comic ever published. brilliant.

Posted by k4tzm4n

@k4tzm4n: Vol 6 is City Fall, right? I heard that was really good (mostly from you, actually!). I just checked and it's only 11 dollars on Amazon. I'll definately be picking it up!

Yup, Vol. 6 kicks off City Fall. I stand by thinking it's very good and it's a serviceable jumping on point :D

Staff
Posted by Maddpanda531

@k4tzm4n: Sweeet! I'll totally be checking that out. Thanks for the help, man!

Posted by AmazingWebHead
Posted by k4tzm4n
Staff
Edited by AmazingWebHead

@k4tzm4n: Agreed. I couldn't stop geeking out.

Edited by lifeofvibe

@k4tzm4n: can I make a suggestion? catwoman vs wildcat

Catwoman/wildcat issue 2 or look up catwoman vs wildcat