Some TMNT stuff was always meant for grownups.
Swan Song is issue #41 of Tales of the TMNT volume 2, published by Mirage Studios in December 2007. It references the story of Dreams of Stone, and is the story of Leonardo and Radical's future life. This issue also includes a backup story, Fathers and Daughters.
|Tales Volume 2 > Issue # 41|
|Previous Issue||Next Issue|
- Story: Stephen Murphy & Steph Dumais
- Script: Stephen Murphy
- Cover & Art: Steph Dumais
- Letters: Eric Talbot
- Frontispiece: Antonio Montalvo
My name's Leonardo.
Mount Fuji, Japan, 2099.
Leonardo: Radical... ...I ...I never knew that I could gain such spiritual enrichment from a physical environment... ...Yet this country's southwest—your ancestral homeland—just... Just being here is enough to raise my spiritual awareness to levels that I've only previously attained through the most rigorous of my sensei's teachings on inner peace and the waves of empty oneness that can arise.
Leo and Radical look into each other's eyes.
Radical: You do understand.
Leo and Radical share a tender kiss. They return to their campground, share a peaceful evening by their campfire, and finally they spend the night together in their shared tent with one of Leo's katana staked just outside the entrance.
And we did.
Leonardo: This is where we fought Complete Carnage.
Radical: No, my love, for it's true—all things must pass...even your old home it seems...
Known or unknown, the world was ours to explore, to revisit, to view through the eyes of two people very much in love.
Leo and Radical are out in public on the crowded sidewalks of New York City, now populated by all manner of human and alien residents.
Radical: Wait. Leonardo. Do you... Do you sense that...?
Two hands abruptly morph out of the brick wall the couple are standing next to.
Radical: ...Complete Carnage!
Complete Carnage quickly grabs Radical by the head and neck as Leo reaches for his katana.
With one sharp motion, Carnage snaps Radical's neck.
Carnage: Yes. At long last... ...Yes.
Carnage starts laughing sadistically as his form morphs back into the brick wall and disappears. Leo watches Radical slump over and fall down.
Radical lies motionless on the sidewalk.
Leonardo: But... But...
Leo's eyes fill with tears and he cries out in anguish as pedestrians look on in shock.
Leonardo and his three brothers gather behind the neon buffalo. A humble cairn of rocks marks the final resting place of Raven Shadowheart.
I couldn't believe it. A simple twist of the neck and it was over.
Leo places a single rose at the memorial.
Leonardo: Goodbye, my love.
And then I left, an empty vessel... A spirit adrift.
Again, Leonardo appears as the elderly holy man.
Many years passed. Having shed all attachment to worldly concerns I attained the rank of simple monk, one of the few to reach bodhisattva.
Leo sees an outdoor news ticker:
HONG KONG HOSTAGES TRAPPED INSIDE IMPENETRABLE BUILDING
Leo boards a flight to Hong Kong.
That, I suppose, was my first mistake.
Leo visits the area outside the scene.
The building was encased in what appeared to be some sort of organic rock. After all these years... Could it be? I had to find out.
Leo looks at a sewer manhole.
No one ever thinks to look...
Leo wades through the sewer, entering the building from a floor grate. Leo finds many human hostages ensnared by tentacles of living rock.
Complete Carnage's head and arms emerge from a nearby wall to confront the turtle.
Carnage: So, come for revenge at last, eh?
Leo begins trying to free one of the humans.
Leonardo: ...and to free your hostages.
Carnage sends a barrage of concrete bricks in Leo's direction.
Carnage: Fool! You think you can just waltz in here and disrupt my plans?!
Leo's left katana arm is swift, cutting down the bricks.
Leo and Carnage rush each other.
Leonardo: ...Yes, I do.
The two are embroiled in melee.
Carnage: You're a bigger fool than I thought!
The two continue to exchange attacks, neither gaining an advantage over the other.
Leonardo: You must cease your evil ways. You need to understand the true value of life.
Carnage gleefully squeezes one of the hostages to death.
Carnage: I would have thought that was something you learned a long time ago. You know... Like with your girlfriend.
Once again in his life, Leo stands stunned and disturbed by the cold-blooded murder that has just happened in front of his eyes.
Leonardo: You... You killed her... Like it was nothing... Like you did Radical. I really did come here to forgive you.
Leo's dismay turns to burning anger.
Leonardo: But you...
That was my second mistake.
Leonardo: ...You're not worthy of forgiveness!
In a moment of pure wrath, Leo furiously rushes forward and slices Carnage vertically in two with his katana.
Leo somberly frees the remaining hostages.
Afterward, Leonardo heads to the pier and tosses his pair of katana into the ocean along with their scabbards.
Carnage was my final kill.
Leo wades into the water and removes his kimono, proceeding to wash himself.
My final need for cleansing.
Leonardo now appears much older even than before, greatly advanced in age. He sits in the lotus position on the grass in an urban park.
That was many years ago...
Leo, still in the lotus position, gets up my levitating into the air just off the ground. He picks up his bokken and starts walking.
...back when I was still a relatively young turtle...
Leo climbs the trunk of a tree, entering a humble treehouse on its branches.
...for the next life.
- A "swan song" refers to a final performance or accomplishment before one's retirement. This is an apt descriptor, as Swan Song is usually considered Leonardo's final story chronologically in the Mirage TMNT timeline where he is seen alive.
- Swan Song delves into Leonardo's Buddhism more deeply than any other Mirage story.