Attack On Technodrome – Death of Donatello
I don’t know about you but I always felt bad that Donatello was the least favorite turtle in the group. Or at least in my group of friends he was.
If you grew up in the late 80’s me into the 90’s, you know that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were running wild all over the world. There wasn’t a direction to turn that you didn’t see green with either blue, red, orange, or purple accompanying it.
It exploded in part due to the overwhelming success of the animated series of the same name. Unfortunately, because of its success, it occasionally struggled to regain the original feel of the comic book. That is, of course, the darker and more violent theme that it was originally cast as.
This changed the moment that co-creator Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz made it change in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #44.
Spoiler alert…they killed founding TMNT Donatello
Yep, they killed him. The world was left in shock and disbelief. The Saturday morning line-up that shaped our childhood existence was forever changed. It happened and it happened quick. The question was, who did it? Shredder? Krang? Slash? Bebop? Rocksteady?
Before I can answer that, let me bring it some context.
It begins as their fierce leader Leonardo, the always hotheaded Raphael, and their free-spirited brother Michelangelo were on a mission trying to put a stop to Krang from changing the planet with his alien technology.
Where is Donatello you ask?
Why, of course, he was at their home base running the operation from behind the scenes.
What about Splinter?
Couldn’t any of them run it from the base?
Would it not have made more sense for Donatello to join his brothers during such an important time? Personally, I feel as though if you were to go to battle with the likes of Krang or Shredder, you want all hand skills on deck. Alas, this didn’t happen and the team paid the ultimate price as a consequence.
Rocksteady and Bebop? Really?!?
Before the encounter, Shredder had given the order to Bebop and Rocksteady to kill and rid the planet of the lone turtle if anything should go wrong. And, well, as you are aware, something went wrong.
Oddly enough and contrary to the fun-loving perception that the cartoon created, the two henchmen were not dim-witted goofballs. In fact, I can’t even think of an instance where their plans went “according to plan”. In the comic, however, the two are shown to be without mercy or remorse.
When I initially read that Shredder had asked those two to do the deed, I thought “Are you kidding me? There’s not a chance that it will work.”
Without fail, the two attacked the home base and proved me wrong.
Well, that’s a shell of a way to go
With his shell back against the proverbial wall, Donatello didn’t all that he could to fend off his attackers. At one point, he even received assistance from semi-fan favorite, Metalhead who was being controlled from afar by Harold Lillia. Sadly for Ninja Turtle fans around the globe, Rocksteady took a sledgehammer to the back of his shell and did the unthinkable.
Yes, Donatello was dead. Not only was he dead but he had been killed in one of the most gruesome deaths in comics. Think about it this way…his death should’ve been reserved for the Walking Dead.
Is this really the end?
The turtles returned from their battle to find that their brother had fallen. To say that it was shocking is the understatement of the year.
Angel Bridge, an ally of Casey Jones, had explained that they tried to help him but by the time they arrived, it was too late. The last page of the book beautifully illustrates the emotion of the moment as it shows the remaining turtles in tears mourning for their lost brother.
It closes with Splinter uttering he words, “My poor brave son.”
I’ve been a fan of comics all of my life and I can’t think of a more gut-wrenching experience in its history. For the first time in their existence, I believe that the TMNT finally lost to the Shredder.