Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: “Reincarnated” for the 21st century

Warning! Contains spoilers.

IDW Publishing has whetted the appetites of TMNT fans everywhere with their new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. But, this is no continuation of the popular 25+ year’s strong franchise, but a re-imagining. Now 9 issues on, with an excellent Brian Lynch-written 4-issue Micro Series to accompany the series, it’s becoming a stronger book month by month.

Unlike Michael-retard- Bay’s recent suggestion his TMNT movie team will come from outer space, IDW’s new origin retains the mutagen turning ordinary turtles-to-humanoid transformation, but with some twists. The Turtles and Splinter (still a rat) are subjected to tests to create a super-human mutagen, conducted in a lab run by Baxter Stockman, with April O’Neill merely an assistant. When two ninjas break in one evening, Splinter (yes, still a rat) saves April, but him and the Turtles end up in an alley outside, falling into the mutagen, becoming the mutants we know and love. They treat him as and call him ‘father’, and it is in #5 that Splinter’s beliefs are known to us all: That he and the Turtles are reincarnated from the tragic past lives of one Hamato Yoshi, and his four sons.

I’ll be honest here, I know comic heroes have died and come back to life numerous times, but I’ve never come across reincarnation in such a popular franchise. It’s certainly interesting in terms of beliefs, but this is not controversial, you understand. Reincarnation is a belief of many; an individual has the right to believe anything they wish of course. This ‘theory’ of Splinter’s is backed up by dreams and visions of Yoshi’s past life, so vivid he can deduce that the ninja’s who attacked Stockman’s lab are indeed the Foot Clan from said visions.

What’s interesting here is that there is no timestamp given for Hamato Yoshi’s existence, all that is mentioned is Feudal Japan (anytime from 1185-1868). Given that the latest issue introduces The Shredder into the mix, I’m intrigued to find out his/her identity, considering it was who we know as Shredder (Oruku Saki), who murdered Yoshi and his children in cold blood. It is here we revisit part of the origin we are more familiar with; Yoshi refused to believe in Saki’s growing dark influence of the Foot Clan, and Saki interpreted it as betrayal to his cause. Yoshi and his four young boys were eventually hunted down.

So for now we’re given that the origin of our heroes is from reincarnation and of course mutation. But there could well be a twist once the identity of The Shredder is known.

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