The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ present image portrays them as a fun-loving squad of crime-fighting teenagers; who enjoy pizza and witty one-liners, but their origins are far darker than most fans realise. The Turtles were presented in the original comic as dark, gritty, and genuine assassins, as their ‘ninja’ appellation would suggest.
The Turtles are introduced to audiences in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 by Kevin Eastman; and Peter Laird in an initial display of violent action. The crew is battling a gang of street thugs, ruthlessly incapacitating them before retreating to their underground stronghold in New York City’s sewers; where their commander, Master Splinter, awaits them. Splinter, a not-so-cuddly mutant rat; explains his origins to the Turtles and why he raised and trained them in Ninjutsu.
The Turtles only have one genuine objective, according to Splinter; and that is to take Splinter’s retribution on Shredder for the villain’s earlier atrocities against Splinter’s former master. Splinter basically formed his own assassination squad with the sole intention of assassinating Shredder due to personal vengeance.
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles carry out their objective to a tee once Splinter informs them of it. The Turtles assault Shredder by slashing and slicing him on top of a New York skyline building; then throwing him off the roof, where he dies. After assassinating Shredder, the Turtles immediately establish themselves as a death squad that was effective in their very first assassination.
Their Personalities Were All More Serious
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles started out as assassins; which is a far cry from how they’re portrayed today. The most significant difference is the Turtles’ individualization, which did not exist when they were first introduced. While the original comic was printed in black and white, several coloured covers for the series revealed that all of the characters wore red masks; rather than the multicoloured ones that fans are familiar with. Furthermore, their personalities were all more serious and nearly identical to one another.
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were hardened assassins with no distinctive characteristics other than their preferred weapons. Each Turtle now has its own mask colour, personality, and area of interest in relation to the team. Leonardo is the compassionate leader, Donatello is the technological genius; Michelangelo is the stereotypical adolescent, and Raphael retains the hardcore persona and the red mask that they formerly shared.
The origins of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are far darker than most fans realise, as they were originally depicted as straight-up assassins; rather than the now-established kid-friendly vigilantes that fans know and love.