Some TMNT stuff really isn't for little kids.
Issue #5 of IDW Publishing's first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Micro-Series. This issue focuses on Splinter. This issue takes place concurrently with Shadows of the Past, part 3 of the ongoing series.
- Story & Script: Erik Burnham
- Art: Charles Paul Wilson III
- Colors: Jay Fotos
- Letters: Shawn Lee
- Editor: Bobby Curnow
Splinter is facing an army of Foot Ninja. He knows his sons think he is unshakably calm, ever in a zen state of mind, but he knows this is not so. Buried deep within him is a rage, one he tries very hard to suppress, and in this moment wants to give in to. His anger is directed towards Oroku Saki, known as the Shredder in this life, who has hunted him and his family through two lifetimes. Although in his former life Splinter was Hamato Yoshi, and he retains all his skills and memories, he has not taken a life in his new mutant body, and does not wish to change that.
Splinter struggles to maintain his composure. Part of him wants to slay Saki, and put an end to his evil before it stains the lives of countless others. Splinter knows he must remain in control of his emotions if he is to make it out of this situation alive.
Splinter suddenly remembers an event from his former life as Hamato Yoshi. Yoshi is beating up one of his peers when Master Masato arrives and orders him to cease and walk with him. Masato orders Yoshi to be silent as they walk through the woods. Masato explains to Yoshi that fire is a useful tool, albeit one that must be controlled properly, lest it become a danger to oneself. Masato points out that the anger within Yoshi is like fire, and he must learn to control it before it consumes him. He orders Yoshi to meditate on this until he comes to peace with it. Yoshi was at first furious over being sent off to meditate alone; it was then he realized that his being so angry proved Master Masato's point. He sat in quiet meditation for several hours.
Yoshi is startled by someone approaching and falls into a creek. He is at first indignant but calms down when he sees it is a pretty woman who has approached him. The woman, Tang Shen, offers to build Yoshi a fire to dry his wet clothes. During that first conversation, Yoshi's anger began to fade, and so the two began to see each other more and more often, until they got married.
During tea with Master Masato, Masato compliments Yoshi on his increased focus and skill as a result of gaining control of his anger. Oroku Saki, who is also present, is annoyed by the praise offered to Yoshi. Masato tells the two of them that they are being sent out an assignment to avenge the fallen son of a lord of a clan. Masato details the plan and the two set out later that night.
Yoshi and Saki are outside the building they are to infiltrate to assassinate their target when Saki decides that a change of plan is necessary; he will distract the guards, while Yoshi enters the building to eliminate the target. Yoshi's mind was clouded by anger called forth by Oroku Saki and he charged into the building blindly, losing the element of surprise and forcing himself to fight two armed men. He narrowly eliminates the two but is nearly defeated by the lord they were sent to kill, but his love for and determination to see Tang Shen again helped him persevere. Yoshi stumbled home, afraid he would die before seeing Tang Shen one last time. She insisted he remain strong, as if he could make it home he could surely survive. She also informed him that he was going to be a father. Over the next few years, Yoshi and Tang Shen had three more children, all sons.
Yoshi finally had the peace he had so long sought, until Saki rose to Jōnin of the Foot Clan. In a fit of rage at Saki's despicable actions, Yoshi renounced the Foot Clan and left (following events seen in The Secret History of the Foot Clan). Unfortunately Tang Shen paid the price for Yoshi's disobedience, and Yoshi and his sons were forced to flee for their lives. While on the lam, Yoshi's youngest son asked him why they had to eat nothing but berries for their dinner, enraging Yoshi. It was then that Master Masato's words of wisdom returned to him, and he broke down and apologized for being angry with his son. Although Yoshi mourned the loss of his wife, even now in his life as Splinter, he realizes that much of Tang Shen lives on in their sons: her intelligence and curiosity (his son in purple), her passion (his son in red), her concern for others (his son in blue), and her joy for life (his son in orange).
As Splinter fights the Foot Ninja, he is grateful for the fact that the Shredder does not yet know his sons are alive. He knows he will need the element of surprise to aid them in what he has just realized must be done: the Shredder must die. As countless Foot Ninja lie defeated at his feet, Splinter asks the Shredder if he remembers the promise he made before he was killed by Oroku Saki in his past life: that they would meet again, and it would be the end of Saki.