Four years ago, as Nickelodeon’s reinvention of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles took to the airwaves and introduced a new generation to reimagined iterations of Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Donatello, I put forth a list of what else from the franchise’s history I would like to see revived and reinvented for the Nick era of Turtles history.
Following recent developments, combined with the show’s current hiatus, now seemed like the perfect time to see how many things from the list made the cut — as well as what I thought of the new versions. So grab a can of pop and, if you feel like it, open up the old article in a separate tab to see how things line up as I see how many of my hopes/predictions(?) came true.
9) Power Armor: So far, this one hasn’t happened yet. The closest we’ve gotten are the suits they wore when they blasted off into space, but even then, I feel like these owe more to the 4Kids Fast Forward era costumes and weapons, if anything at all.
Of course, maybe the reason we haven’t seen anything like the Cyber Samurai armor yet is because we’ve yet to see the…
8) Future Turtles: Nothing on these guys so far. Hopefully sometime in the… well, the future. But for now, this one’s a miss.
7) Mystic Turtles: In preparing to return to New York following a major defeat, the Turtles partake in a vision quest and earn the right to don these outfits, with banners declaring the “elements” (such as they are) they each represent: Leonardo is Wind, Raphael is Fire, Donatello is Mountain, and Michelangelo is Forest.
All told, these seem to be toned down quite a bit from what we saw in the “Ninja Tribunal” arc of the 4Kids cartoon or in Konami’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Nightmare video game, but these down-to-earth versions (complete with cool new weapons) are still pretty cool. Sadly, they haven’t gotten a whole lot of use — in fact, they barely even used them when they actually returned to New York! But at least Leo and Raph’s have made a couple of sporadic appearances since then.
6) The Technodrome: One thing that seems to have become consistent across the franchise over the years is that where there’s Krang, there’s a Technodrome, and adding one more “a” and turning them into a species doesn’t change anything in that regard.
Interestingly enough, while this iteration of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles often seems to draw from the 1987 series first and foremost, this floating version of the Technodrome with the eye front and center seems to owe more to 4Kids’ version from Turtles Forever… though I suppose that considering that version was a reconstruction of the 1987 version, it still counts.
Either way, pretty cool, and it’s seldom seen, allowing it to maintain an air of both mystery and menace.
5) Bebop and Rocksteady: One had to wonder if these two were going to show up, but show up they did — it just took a while, with the wait lasting until the 10th episode of Season 3 in 2015. At least, that’s for their rhino and warthog forms — we got to see a bit of them in their pre-mutant lives in a few episodes prior, getting to know these iterations of the characters better before they took on their more familiar forms.
All told, it’s a pretty nice upgrade. Bebop’s dropped some serious weight, and neither are so unbelievably stupid — rather, they’re believably stupid, having some smarts about them (Bebop was a master thief, while Rocksteady was an antique weapons collector and trader who could easily spot a fake), yet are still able to have one put over on them by the Turtles. It’s a nice middle ground, and they have a bit more unique personalities between them than the old “Duh, Masta Shreddah sez…” versions of old. Stupid, but not so stupid as to make you wonder why Shredder would even tolerate them to begin with.
We got Rahzar, eventually — in fact, we got him before Bebop and Rocksteady, as he made his debut as Rahzar in an early episode of Season 2. Prior to that, however, he was a much bulkier dog mutant named Dogpound, who was mutated from a Chuck Norris expy named Chris Bradford, who first appeared near the beginning of Season 1! But instead of longtime partner Tokka, he instead tends to pair up with another of Shredder’s early mutant minions named Fishface.
All told, I dig the lithe and fierce looking design.
As for Tokka? It turns out he (or she?) did make an appearance in Season 4, but it was not what anyone would expect:
While the Turtles were in space, they came across Tokka, who proved to be an ally of sorts. Which is good for them, given how incredibly ginormous he/she turned out to be! Unfortunately, this iteration seemed to be short-lived, which is too bad — besides being generally awesome, seeing a Tokka vs. Technodrome battle would be pretty cool.
Incidentally, I do find that they named this character Tokka just slightly off-putting. I love everything about this version but the name, which almost feels like the writers figured “well, we’ve got Rahzar, we should find a way to fit Tokka in somehow. Hey, why not name the giant magma space turtle that?”
3) Tokka and Rahzar and Bebop and Rocksteady: Well, due to the above issues with Tokka, this is probably never going to happen. That said, with Bebop, Rocksteady, Rahzar, and Fishface all being minions of the Shredder (alongside new character Tiger Claw) who are recurring, rather than being “Mutants of the Week,” they do tend to work together fairly often. In fact, Archie’s Sonic the Hedgehog scribe Ian Flynn actually wrote a story for IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Amazing Adventures that focuses on both pairs!
Instead, Raph’s former pet turtle has followed much more closely in the footsteps of his Archie Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures counterpart, at first being an adversary to our heroes before taking on more of an anti-hero associate role, and now he’s a staunch ally — as one of the new incarnation of Mighty Mutanimals, the same mutant team he befriended in the Adventures book!
He’s not the dunce the original cartoon version was, and is perhaps even a little savvier than the brutish version seen in Archie’s books. Plus, rather than the “Fred Wolf will do whatever the eff he wants” katanas of the toon or the “psycho sai” of the comic, this Slash wields a giant spiked mace — not only fitting for his hulking frame, but it’s also another of the accessories the original action figure came with, yet was seldom employed in any media. Cool!
1) The Dragon Lord: Perhaps the item that could most stand a bit of reinvention, given his role was pretty much exclusive to the oft-maligned Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation series, we still haven’t seen any sign of the Dragon Lord or the Rank yet. Maybe, hopefully, sometime soon.
Now wait, I know what you’re thinking: “What’s with just the nine? The headline promised ten things!”
Well, back when I first came up with this list, it was the follow up to a previous article dedicated to one sole item. In fact, it was that item which told me that now was a good time to look back and follow up.
Just in that one clip alone, he lasted longer than his entire appearance in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze. And unlike that movie, this Super Shredder is damn near unstoppable!
In an act of desperation, Shredder has partaken of the ooze himself and been transformed — perhaps permanently? He’s been in two episodes already, and is poised for a third whenever the show returns from its (holiday?) hiatus. He’s fearsome, he’s powerful, and he’s definitely a formidable opponent for Splinter and the Turtles. He’s basically the reinvention I wanted for the character, even though I’ll admit I wasn’t expecting him to look quite so gruesome. (No fire or ice powers, though.)
Oh, and hey, he’s got a new figure, too:
So let’s see, out of a possible ten things, I’ve called about 6 1/2 of them — I’m not counting the space suits, though I am going with a half-point on the Tokka/Rahzar/Bebop/Rocksteady grouping, since that sort of happened in spirit, if not quite too the letter.
What do you think? Happy with how things are turning out? Still won’t be happy until one of the remaining items (or something else) comes through? Somewhere in-between? Share your opinion in the comments below!
David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at) nyteworks.net.