Some TMNT stuff really isn't for little kids.
This story is preceded by the TMNT 2014 Annual.
Story: Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, & Tom Waltz
Script: Tom Waltz
Art: Mateus Santolouco, Mark Torres, Cory Smith
Colors: Ronda Pattison
Letters: Shawn Lee
Editor: Bobby Curnow
Part One - Issue #33Published April 23rd, 2014
The Turtles have returned to New York City to find a city in Shredder's grip. Out on one of their first nightly patrols, the Turtles happen upon a late-night bank robbery in progress and use their ninja speed and stealth to stop it. Michelangelo comments on how fun it was, and that stopping bank robberies almost makes them like superheroes. Leonardo reminds him that their goal isn't to thwart random crimes, but to hone their skills while they prepare to take down Shredder. Leo acknowledges that they're all tired, but they've got to continue on with their night and accomplish what they set out to do.
Meanwhile, the Hun reports to the Shredder about another robbery he orchestrated and completed with the aid of Bebop, Rocksteady, and members of the Purple Dragons. Shredder is pleased, and tells the group that he is going away on business soon and Karai will be left in charge. He then dismisses the others to speak to Hun alone.
Back at the Turtles' hideout, April attempts to talk to Casey about what they're going to do now that they're back in the city. April reminds Casey that they've still got to think about school, work, and money, on top of staying under Shredder and the Hun's radar. Casey is very aloof, and tells April he has to go to the Skara Brae to talk to Angel about what's been going on with his dad and the Purple Dragons. As Casey leaves, Leo and Donatello arrive. April greets them and tells Leo that Master Splinter is waiting for him. Don senses that April is upset and asks her what's wrong. She tells him that obviously part of the problem is that she knows it will be hard for Casey to confront his father, but that also she can tell that Casey does not want to return to school, and she worries because she just wants the best for him. Don tells her he understands how she feels, because he has been trying to get his brothers and Splinter to pay more attention to the problem of Krang and his Technodrome, and although he is worried about it he knows they will come around eventually. His worries are calmed in part thanks to the schematics for a working teleporter he received in the notebook given to him by Professor Honeycutt, the Fugitoid (see Utrom Empire Part Three).
At the Skara Brae, Hun arrives to talk to the owner Brooklyn Bridge about where Casey and Angel are. As he takes a seat at the bar, his old acquantinces Kid Kennedy and Fighting Ferguson greet him; Hun tells them not to call him "Arnie" anymore, only Hun. Brooklyn is angered by Hun's questions about his daughter and tells him not to come around anymore; he says he can't believe Hun would stoop so low as to work for the man who injured his own son. Hun thinks back to when Shredder wanted to speak to him alone, about Casey. Shredder had told him that what he did to Casey was solely a tactic, a ploy to get the Turtles out of hiding, and that it was nothing personal. Shredder told Hun that he once considered Hun to be worthless, but his opinion of him had changed and so he told him the truth and allowed him the opportunity to convince Casey to come over to their side. Hun snaps at Brooklyn's remark and picks him up by his neck, prompting Angel to come out from where she was hiding in the back of the bar. Hun throws Brooklyn across the room, breaking a table in the process. Kid Kennedy and Fighting Ferguson rally to Brooklyn's aide but Hun throws them aside easily as well. Angel tells Hun that she knows she can't stop him with force, so she asks him to stop tormenting the others. Hun agrees, telling her that if she tells him where Casey is, he'll leave without hurting anyone else. Angel refuses. At that moment Casey walks in, and asks his dad to come outside and talk, one-on-one.
Leonardo heads downstaris to see what Splinter wanted. Splinter asks how their patrol/training sessions went, and Leo tells him of the foiled robbery. Splinter asks what Leo's brothers are up to now; Leo tells him that Raphael and Michelangelo have gone on to complete the task Splinter gave them, and Don is heading over to Harold Lillja's place to get help. Splinter asks how Leo himself is doing as well, concerned that his son may still be feeling the effects of the Foot Clan's brainwashing on him. Leo tells him he's glad to be back. Splinter is glad, as they have to consider their next move quickly before Shredder finds out they've returned.
Outside the Skara Brae, Casey asks his father what he wants to tell him. Hun tells Casey that the best thing for him to do is to join Shredder and the Foot, or he'll end up like Shredder's enemies: dead. Casey tells him that's not going to happen and starts to walk off, but Hun grabs him. Casey recoils, telling his dad that he can kill him if he wants, but he's not going to let him hit him and beat him like he used to. Hun apologizes, acknowledging that although the bruises are gone, the emotional wounds he inflicted on Casey run too deep, and forgiveness is not likely. Hun tells Casey that he can give him money, and he can go whereever he likes and start fresh. Casey says he doesn't want to leave his life behind. He says that if he could leave and start a new life, so could his dad. Hun says that won't ever happen. Hun's life has been given a purpose again, he has his self-confidence back. Casey tells him he's not going to leave town, so the two of them will see who is the "real man" between the two of them. As Casey leaves, he asks Hun what kind of "real man" chooses a scumbag like Shredder over his own son. Inside the Skara Brae, Angel asks Casey how his talk with Hun went, and Casey tells her how bad it was. Brooklyn goes off on both of them, telling them that they've bitten off more than they can chew by getting involved with "those damn mutants." Angel asks her dad if he's taking Hun's side; he says he's just trying to protect what's his. Angel tells her dad he doesn't own her and storms out. Casey apologizes for the mess his dad made of the bar and then goes after Angel.
In an alley, Hun ponders over the choices he's made. He thinks about what Shredder, Brooklyn, and Casey told him. Hun takes one last look at a picture of himself and Casey in one of their rare happier moments, then crumples it up and walks away.
Part Two - Issue #34Published May 21st, 2014
April is talking to her mom on the phone while Donnie loads her van with the equipment he borrowed from Harold. April's mom tells her that her dad's health is great, better than ever before. She finishes her phone call and notices Casey and Angel walking up, but as she greets them Casey is startled out of a daze and nearly swings at her with his baseball bat. April invites the two of them along to Harold's lab, where she and Donnie are headed to return his things. Angel accepts the invitation but Casey declines, saying he needs to clear his head. April asks Angel what's wrong with him, and on the ride over she tells her all about the confrontation with Casey's dad at the Skara Brae.
When they arrive at Harold's lab, Harold is in a cranky mood, like usual. He's mad that most of the stuff Donnie brought back is broken, and that Donnie and April invited Angel to tag along too, but Donnie tells him he won't be made when he sees what else he's brought: plans for a working teleporter. Donnie explains to Harold that the teleporter would allow them to get to Burnow Island to stop Krang from completeing the Technodrome, which could terraform the entire Earth and make it uninhabitable to humans. Harold interrupts them when he sees Angel eyeing one of his newest inventions: an exo-suit that incorporates many of his previous inventions such as the gravity gauntlet, light refractors, kevlar armor, and concussion grenades, among other things. As Harold boasts about how advanced it is, Angel uncovers another new inventiona robot modeled after Donatello.
At the Turtles' home, Master Splinter asks Leonardo if he thinks Harold will continue to cooperate with April and Donatello. Leo says that Donnie thinks the promise of learning about new technology will be enough to entice Harold to do so. Splinter is concerned that this however will not help them in their fight against the Foot Clan; Splinter wants to use the element of suprise to strike while the Foot is unaware that they have returned to New York. Leonardo is worried that Splinter isn't looking at the big picture, stopping Krang from taking over the earth. Splinter counters that Professor Honeycutt estimated that the Technodrome wouldn't be completed for years, so stopping the Shredder should be there first priority.
Back at Harold's lab, Harold explains that he designed his robot to protect him from any potential threats, namely any Stockgen personnel who tried to find him after the fiasco that ensued at the fake science convention arranged by Baxter Stockman (see the events of the Donatello micro-series). He was inspired by Donnie's skills and speed, all encased in protective armor and thought the design was adaptable. Angels says he should call it Metalhead, and asks if he controls it with a remote control. Harold says he does, but that he hopes to improve it's A.I. until it functions autonomously. Angel doubts he'll be able to get it work on its own, or even with the remote control. Harold activates Metalhead to prove her wrong, and has Metalhead offer Angel a seat. Metalhead seems to be working properly until its head begins to smoke and it shorts out. Before Harold can shut it off, however, Metalhead grabs the remote control and destroys it, and nearly punches Harold before Donnie knocks him out of the way. As Metalhead gets up, it recognizes April as a former intern at Stockgen and attempts to attack her, but Angel knocks it out of the way. Harold explains that he had programmed the entire Stockgen employee directory into Metalhead to protect his genius from falling into Stockgen's hands. Metalhead continues attacking while Angel and Donatello fight back, which is difficult, since Metalhead is also equipped with a machine gun, flamethrower, and laser, as well as a vehicular mode, where Metalhead's head retracts into it's shell and it moves on four wheels rather then its legs. Angel tells the others to hide while she takes care of it. She tricks Metalhead into breaking the case the exo-suit is in so she can put it on and stand a chance against Metalhead. Angel manages to deactive Metalhead and earn Harold's respect in the process, but she brushes it off, saying she's Nobody.
Lindsey, the former employee from Stockgen, is walking down the street talking to her mother on the phone. Her mother is asking her why she hasn't been able to find a new job yet; Lindsey exasperatedly explains to to her mother the state of the current job market, as well as reminding her that all of her work references have seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth. Lindsey bends down to pick up her car keys that she'd dropped in a puddle when all of a sudden Old Hob and Slash appear out of nowhere, Hob pointing a gun at her and telling her that her job search is over.
Part Three - Issue #35Published June 18th, 2014
Raphael and Michelangelo pick up a couple pizzas from Woody on their way to pay a visit to Old Hob. As they make their way to Hob's hideout Mikey asks Raph why he's so upset. Raph doesn't think it's a good idea to continue working with Hob, as he doesn't trust him. Mikey is willing to let bygones be bygones, considering Hob helped them get Leo back from the Foot Clan.
Casey visits his mother's grave as he's feeling pretty down about his whole situation. As he apologizes to his mom for the mess he's made of his life, his father Hun shows up with a bunch of Purple Dragons.
Mikey and Raph knock on the door to Hob's apartment, bearing pizzas as gifts. Slash hears that its Mikey and tears the door open. Hob tells Slash he told him not to open the door for anyone and Raph asks if he has something to hide. To their surprise, they see the former Stockgen employee Lindsey tied to a chair and an unfamiliar pigeon mutant named Pete.
In the graveyard, Hun tells Casey that this was the perfect place for them to meet again, considering what he's going to have to do to Casey. Casey asks if Hun is done with the Mr. Nice Guy act. Hun tells him it was no act, and he really wished Casey had taken him up on his offer and either joined him and the Foot or at least got out of town. Casey tells Hun that he's just a small-time loser drunk pretending to be important. Hun asks if Casey really thinks he can take on him and all the Purple Dragons. Casey points out that he has no choice, and that's the difference between him and his dadhe's not afraid to die fighting for what's right. The Purple Dragons swarm Casey, but he manages to take out a few of them as they do so.
At Hob's apartment, Raph and Mikey try to make sense of the situation while Slash discovers his newfound love for pizza. Hob explains that he's been thinking about the future. He's been trying to build a mutant army to stand against those who would harm and experiment on animals. Hob tells them that since Stockgen is no more, he figured Lindsey could use a job and he was in the process of offering her a job. Mikey tells Hob that what he's doing isn't right; armies aren't for protection, they're for killing. Hob asks Mikey if he thinks what Shredder and Stockman are doing is right, using mutants as pawns in their own chessgames. Hob concedes that maybe tieing up Lindsey was excessive, but he isn't overly concerned, what with the way she and the other scientists at Stockgen treated him, Slash, and even the Turtles while they were experimented on. Hob reveals that he has something he knows will entice Lindseya vial of Splinter's blood. At the cemetary, Casey has been beaten and bloodied by the Purple Dragons. One of them is about to kill him when Hun stops him, moving in to do it himself. Hun tells Casey that all of this wouldn't have been necessary, if he'd just made the smart choice. Casey tells his father the same thing. Hun is about to kill Casey when Hun is electrocuted and drops him. Angel, wearing the Nobody suit, appears out of thin air and knocks the rest of the Purple Dragons back with the anti-grav gauntlet. Harold radios in and tells her this was just supposed to be a long-rang communications test, nothing more. Hun, enraged, gets up and is ready to attack but Angel uses the suit's laser to cut the obelisk off a gravestone, distracting Hun. When Hun look back, Angel and Casey are gone.
Lindsey is shocked by Hob's possession of Splinter's blood, as is Raphael. Lindsey explains that back at Stockgen, the Specimen 6 project (the project responsible for creating Slash) had been hers, but without the psychotropic compound lost during the break-in (see Issue #1), Slash's animal instincts were uncontrollable and the experiment was deemed a failure, hurting her career. But with Splinter's blood, Lindsey can prove her theory right. Hob interrupts her, telling her there is no way he's going to let her inject it into Slash and cause him any more pain. Hob tells her she can test it on Pete, but she explains that it has to be Slash. Slash was given injections of the mutagen in controlled doses, so to preserve the validity of the experiment it has to be Slash. Hob remains adamant. He tells he that he has more than what's in the vial, so they can start fresh. Lindsey agrees, but tells Hob she can't work in his apartment the way it is and that it'll take several months to get it in acceptable condition. Hob is unwilling to wait that long, but Lindsey tells him unless he changes his mind about Slash, that's how it's going to be. Slash suddenly grabs the vial of Splinter's blood and says he's willing to inject himself. He says he wants to be a hero, like Mikey, and do good. Mikey tells him that there's no need for him to change himself to do good. Raph tells Mikey that Lindsey may have a point, and Splinter did want more mutants on their side when they face Shredder.
Before anyone else can move, Slash injects himself. Almost immediately he cries out in pain, exclaiming that his brain hurts. Slash begins thrashing around, destroying things in the process. Mikey attempts to talk him down, but Slash knocks him into the wall. Raph lunges at him, attempting to subdue Slash. Hob asks Lindsey what's happening to Slash and how they can stop him. Lindsey tells him that when Slash would get uncontrollable at Stockgen they would electrocute him. Hob picks up a large stun gun and is ready to taser Slash, but before it becomes necessary Slash begins to calm down. Slash becomes capable of more advanced cognition and tells them that he feels different, and that it's alright now.
Casey and Angel talk on a rooftop after escaping from Hun. Angel tells him she figured he'd be at his mom's grave when she didn't find him shooting pucks at the hockey rink. Casey asks Angel where she got the exo-suit; she explains about what happend at Harold's lab and how she convinced him to let her test the suit's radio. Angel urges Casey to move on from the situation with his father, as hard as it may be.
As Leo and Splinter talk in their home, the Rat King looks on from the shadows.
Part Four - Issue #36Published on July 26th, 2014
The issue opens with a scene of the Pied Piper of Hamlet, using music to lead rats to overrun the populace and wreak havoc.
In the lowermost portion of the Turtles' hideout that leads to the sewers, Master Splinter and Leonardo are discussing their plan of action. Splinter states that they should make Saki and the Foot Clan their first priority and then focus on Krang and the Technodrome. Leo says that he isn't sure if that is wise, because both problems are so significant. Splinter asks Leo to take a walk with him while they ponder their predicament.
Meanwhile, Casey Jones wanders around his old neighborhood while he thinks about his own problems. He notices two people attempting to break into the Second Time Around antique shop and attempts to stop them, but realizes its just Mr. and Mrs. O'Neil, April's parents. Mr. and Mrs. O'Neil explain that they don't have a working key to the door since April and Casey had the locks changed so Casey shows them where the spare is hidden. As he does so Mrs. O'Neil notices the bruising on his face, and he tells her it was caused by his father. Mrs. O'Neil insists that Casey come inside so she can tend to his wounds while he tells them what's been going on.
Leo and Splinter continue exploring the tunnels underneath their home, still at a loss in regards to which problem they should focus their energy on. Taking a break from arguing in circles, Leo confesses to Splinter that his mother and Splinter's wife, Tang Shen, has appeared to him on multiple occasions, offering him words of wisdom and encouragement, and he worries that it means he's crazy. Splinter assures him that he is not crazy, as Tang Shen has appeared to him as well. Leo asks Splinter what he thinks Tang Shen would say about Splinter's plan to eliminate Shredder; Splinter counters that since it was his inaction that lead to the end of their former lives, she would hopefully understand that he only desires peace for his family. As Splinter talks to Leo, they are both suddenly plunged into darkness and find that they are unable to move. A voice speaks to Splinter and the lights come back on, revealing the Rat King on his throne in an entirely different location, what the Rat King refers to as a thin place, somewhere between worlds. Leonardo, magically bound by the Rat King is unable to speak and is forced to watch the Rat King eat a rat while he monologues, he and Splinter still paralyzed. The Rat King says he can sense his sister's handiwork on Leo. The Rat King, intrigued by Splinter and Leo, reveals some information about himself to them, telling them he comes from the distant past, when he and his family ruled over mortals, each vying for more power than the others. As mankind's power grew however, the Rat King and his family had to lay low, so he used his power sparingly, sometimes rewarding the people, sometimes punishing them. He states that he knew he would have to lie in wait for a long time, until the world was again ready for the extraordinary, as it was in the days of Noe.
Splinter asks the Rat King what any of this has to do with him and his family. The Rat King explains that this world is his family's chessboard, and they use individuals as pawns in their game however they see fit. The Rat King states that he wishes to see how powerful Splinter and Leo are, and he begins working his magic through rhymes. Splinter is able to move again, but all of a sudden it is Dark Leo standing before him, still under the influence of the Foot Clan's brainwashing. The Rat King's magic make Splinter think that Leonardo is attempting to attack him, but Splinter simply dodges his blows, claiming that his only concern is to protect his family. The Rat King, impressed by Splinter's singular drive, switches his focus to Leonardo. In Leo's mind, Splinter is trying to attack him, but he is not deceived by the Rat King's trickery. Leo, having learned his lesson from being brainwashed by Kitsune, knows that the real enemy is the Rat King and moves to strike him rather than the evil Splinter. The Rat King, realizing that the self-doubt that Kitsune took advantage of when brainwashing Leo is gone, comments that Leo has turned that weakness into a stength. In an instant Splinter and Leo are alone again in the sewers, confused. The Rat King then steps out of the shadows, saying he is impressed with the two of them and that when he leaves, their memory of their meeting will be erased. Splinter and Leo are then alone in earnest, totally unaware of what just transpired. Something Splinter says triggers a memory in Leo and he excitedly says he knows how they can defeat Shredder.