IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series has wrapped up its second year and it’s been a blast so far. A collaborative effort between TMNT creator Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz, the comic has given us 25 issues of its main series, over a dozen character spotlights in the form of single issue “Micro-Series” comics and a handful of other side stories. It’s a great hybrid of all the different avenues of Turtles lore while finding its own identity and introducing a ton of its own solid concepts and characters.With the exception of the big plot relating to Krang, Baxter Stockman, and the Technodrome, practically everything in the first 20 issues has been setup for the current storyline, “City Fall.” You see, what separates this incarnation of the Turtles from the others is that not only do they have a lot of enemies, but all of their enemies are busy trying to kill each other. There’s no honor among rogues and the Turtles are trying everything they can to stay afloat and maintain order. Shredder’s ready to lead the Foot Clan into taking over the entire New York City underworld. If they won’t bow to him willingly, he’ll force them to their knees.
In October, the first “City Fall” trade arrives, featuring issues #21-24. Not only do issues #22-28 finish it off, but there are also stories relating to it in the Micro-Series issues for Alopex, Karai, Hun, Bebop and Rocksteady, as well as the Shredder himself. It’s a good place to start for new readers, but it helps to know all the different organizations butting heads as the Big Apple gets torn apart.
During the days of feudal Japan, Takeshi Tatsuo and trickster witch Kitsune started the Foot Clan, which Tatsuo ran for over a hundred years. Although slain by his men, Tatsuo’s soul was resurrected into Oroku Saki, the first born of the man who killed him. With Kitsune’s help, Saki regained his memories of his past life and reclaimed the Foot as his own, using it for his own tyrannical purposes. He underwent a ritual that put him into a slumber lasting centuries, but rewarded him with immortality.
In more modern times, the Foot Clan was still active, albeit in a way Saki would not be proud of. His young descendant Karai hated seeing her father turn the once-great ninja clan into a bureaucratic organization based on compromising for the sake of money and took it upon herself to learn the ancient ways built by Saki. She took over the Foot and brought it back to glory before releasing her ancestor from his hibernation. Now Oroku Saki rules again, calling himself the Shredder.
Shredder intends to take over New York City and has the manpower to do it. Unfortunately for him, he’s set himself up to fail. He’s the antithesis of Splinter in that he’s surrounded himself with a family that he can’t trust. Kitsune is his lover, but it’s never truly been stated why she’s been helping him. Karai and Alopex (a mutated arctic fox) have shown him nothing but loyalty, only to be mistreated to the point where both intend to betray him. Shredder has succeeded in kidnapping Leonardo and brainwashing him into being his right-hand-turtle, but already his old memories are starting to manifest.
Meanwhile, Karai has recently taken two gang-bangers deemed worthy and mutated them into a boar and a rhino as part of her own plans.
THE SAVATE CLANLeader: VictorMembers: An army of French-speaking ninjasAllies: The New York mafia
Originally run by a man named Fabrice, the Savate Clan has worked as muscle for the various families running the New York underworld, using their own unique style of parkour ninjitsu. When the Foot Clan regained its status, an uneasy truce was formed where the Savate Clan would pay tribute to the Shredder. One such incident went awry and led to Fabrice’s arrest. His second-in-command Victor took over and decided he had no need to play ball with the Foot. Under his rule, the Savate has declared war on the Foot, despite what appears to be inferior numbers.
Victor won’t listen to reason and would rather die than roll over.
[related article: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie: Everything We Know]
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLESLeader: SplinterMembers: Donatello, Raphael, and MichelangeloAllies: April O’Neil, Casey Jones, and Angel
Hamato Yoshi was an associate of Oroku Saki back in the early days of the Foot. Yoshi left the clan out of distaste of what it had become and in return, Saki had Yoshi, his wife and four children executed. Centuries later, April O’Neil interned at Stock Gen, where the company experimented on a rat named Splinter and four turtles. A Foot attack on the laboratory caused the five creatures to be exposed to mutagen and…you know the rest. Splinter has the memories of Hamato Yoshi, believing the four Turtles to be his sons reincarnated.
The Shredder had kidnapped and brainwashed Leonardo, as well as put Casey Jones in the hospital. This has done a number on Raphael, who blames himself for all of it and has decided to take out his frustrations on the streets until he gets answers. Donatello and Michelangelo have been trying their hardest to rein in their brother’s rage and hopefully find a way to save Leonardo.
Back in the day, when run by the brick house of a man named Hun, the Purple Dragons ran the streets of New York. Years later, it’s run by Angel, a childhood friend of Casey Jones who has turned the gang into a community watch of sorts, keeping the neighborhoods safe from all the ninjas and mutants running rampant. Against the Dragons’ wishes, Angel has helped out the Turtles on occasion due to a debt she feels she owes Casey.
The Purple Dragons have yet to make an impact in City Fall so far, but that’s about to change. Hun has returned and he wants to reclaim his status as gang leader. But where has Hun been all this time? Heh. I don’t want to give away too much. Let’s just say it’s an awesome twist that I didn’t see coming at all.THE MUTANT COALITIONLeader: Old HobMembers: So far, just SlashAllies: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles… for the moment
Old Hob was the first enemy the Turtles had to deal with in the IDW series. A stray cat who tried to eat Raphael during the mutagen incident, Hob got his eye clawed out by Splinter. He grew into a humanoid creature and offered his services to Baxter Stockman in return of getting a chance to kill Splinter. Being mistreated by Stockman has caused Hob to distrust all humans and he’s gone off to find his own way.
He’s joined by Slash, another Stock Gen experiment, in the form of a virtually-unstoppable, albeit simple-minded, snapping turtle. Although Slash was created to hunt down the Turtles, he’s developed a kinship with Michaelangelo. Hob has samples of Splinter’s blood and plans to synthesize mutagen out of it to create more like himself so they can strike against the humans. In the meantime, Hob has decided to let the past be the past with Splinter and his children. While he’s not to be trusted, Hob has been helping them out in return for their consideration in joining his army.
Despite the great war flooding the streets of the big city, it’s all a moot point. It doesn’t matter who comes out on top. One day, the finished Technodrome will arrive from Dimension X and wipe out whoever’s left.