Some TMNT stuff really isn't for little kids.
Mutations is issue 45 of the TMNT Adventures, and was published in June 1993.
- Major characters: Donatello, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, Splinter, Oroku Saki/Shredder,Gyogi, Yamaguchi, Saburo, Ogata, Charlie Llama, Bebop, Rocksteady, Ace Duck, Cryin’ Hound, Scumbug, Wyrm
- Cover Date: June, 1993
- Number of story pages: 24
Practicing in his room, Splinter’s martial arts workout is ended abruptly by crippling back pain. Realizing he is no longer a young man, and pondering the knowledge of his own death brought back from the future, Splinter sits down to meditate on his past as Hamato Yoshi.
He is approached by a spectral form of his older self, who takes him back to his youth in Hiroshima, where he learned martial arts from his great-uncle Gyogi. When Gyogi was blinded by the atomic bomb blast in 1945, Yoshi and Gyogi went to stay on their cousin’s farm, where Gyogi continued teaching Yoshi the art of ninjutsu. Yoshi then left to study at the University of Osaka where he met others like himself and founded the Foot Clan to embrace a humanitarian approach to ninjutsu. Leaving his top student, Oroku Saki, as chu-nin in his absence, Yoshi traveled to Tibet to study at the feet of the Charlie Llama.
When Yoshi returned, he was greeted by Saki with news that the Grand Master Yamaguchi would be inspecting the Foot Clan soon. Unbeknownst to Yoshi, Saki chose this as his opportunity to strike. Sending notes to both Yamaguchi and Yoshi to meet in the yard at the same time, Saki murdered his fellow student Saburo with Yoshi’s katana. Just as Yoshi stumbled upon the crime scene and picked up his blade in horror, Yamaguchi arrived and came to the conclusion that Yoshi was the murderer. Banished from his homeland of Japan under pain of death, Yoshi fled to America.
Meanwhile, in the present, the Turtles and Ninjara wake up from their nap, hungry for pizza (well, not so much Ninjara, who is annoyed by all the pizza-lust). Glancing at a calendar, it suddenly dawns on Michaelangelo what day it is…
Back down memory lane, Splinter recalls the days when, as Yoshi, he found the four baby turtles covered in a green ooze. Setting down his pet rat, Ogata, Yoshi cleaned the turtles up. What he discovered later was that the ooze was mutagen. While he passed on his human traits to the turtles, mutating them into intelligent anthropomorphs, Ogata passed on his rodent traits to Yoshi, mutating him overnight into a rat-man. Not immediately able to walk with his new anatomy, Yoshi began using a walking stick for aid. The turtles took to calling him “Splinter” in response to the old stick, leaving Yoshi to discard his former identity and take on the new name.
He then began training the Turtles in the martial arts, knowing that they would need to defend themselves in a world that would fear them for being different. Eventually, he gave them names inspired by his favorite Renaissance painters: Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michaelangelo. Many years after that, New York City came under siege by the corrupted Foot Clan, now led by Oroku Saki. Going by a new identity, The Shredder, he quickly became the Turtles’ greatest foe. Those adventures eventually led to many new and bizarre ones.
Splinter is then awoken from his meditation by noises in the living room. He walks out to find the Turtles and Ninjara setting up decorations for a birthday party. His birthday party. Apparently, in all his contemplation, he forgot that it was May 11. As Ninjara gives him a kiss on the cheek, Splinter blows out the candles on his cake, considering growing one more year older to be a "pleasant surprise".
- The framing device of this story is continued from TMNT Adventures #44. The story continues in TMNT Adventures #46.
- This entire story is an updated summarization of the entire TMNT Adventures comic book series. There are two notable retcons, the first being the circumstances surrounding Hamato Yoshi’s banishment from the Foot Clan being altered, remaining similar but being less comical and more dramatic. The second being the Turtles mutating into babies and raised as children, as opposed to the scene as depicted in TMNT Adventures (Miniseries)#1, where they were instantly mutated into teenagers.
- Splinter will celebrate his next birthday in "The Fifth Turtle".
- Splinter is troubled with thoughts of his own mortality, as he was told of his death in TMNT Adventures #43.
- Splinter first recounted his youth spent with his great-uncle Gyogi in TMNT Adventures #29.
- Splinter’s history with the Charlie Llama was touched upon in TMNT Adventures #33.
- The origin of Splinter, the Shredder and the Turtles was first recounted in TMNT Adventures (miniseries) #1.
- Splinter’s flashback montage on page 20 shows generic images of Bebop & Rocksteady, the Shredder & Krang, the Turtles wrestling Ace Duck and Cryin’ Hound from TMNT Adventures #7, Scumbug and Wyrm battling each other from TMNT Adventures #10 and the Turtles reuniting with the Mutanimals from TMNT Adventures #38.
- Donatello and Leatherhead takes place between this and the next issue.