TMNT’s Version of the Avengers Nearly Destroyed the Ninja Turtles

While the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are undoubtedly the greatest team of heroes within their established universe, the franchise does have something of its own version of the Avengers–and they nearly destroyed the Ninja Turtles forever.

The TMNT were introduced in Mirage Studios’ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, and right from the start, the team consisted of Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael. No matter which version of the franchise is the current canon–as this is a series with regular reboots and retcons from previous iterations–those four Turtles are always on the team. However, TMNT’s ‘version’ of the Avengers nearly changed that, thereby destroying the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as fans know them.

In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #53 by Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz, and Michael Dialynas, the Ninja Turtles are in shambles following their victory over Shredder and the Foot Clan. While it seems odd that the TMNT’s greatest victory would cause such turmoil, the real trouble began after Shredder’s head was removed from his shoulders. In a moment that surprised even the most seasoned TMNT fan, Splinter became Shredder’s Foot Clan successor and led the clan himself. Under Splinter’s rule, however, the Foot ninjas were forbidden from killing unless specifically ordered by Splinter himself to do so, but even with that change, some members of the TMNT couldn’t handle becoming the very thing they swore to destroy–primarily, Michelangelo.

Michelangelo Left the Ninja Turtles to Join TMNT’s Avengers

In the wake of Splinter’s takeover of the Foot Clan, Michelangelo ran away from his father and brothers, and decided to take up residence with their one-time enemy and current ally, Old Hob–a mutant cat who was exposed to the same ooze the TMNT were. When Michelangelo last ran into Old Hob, the mutant cat was hellbent on creating an army of mutated, humanoid animals–and while that initially sounded threatening, this issue proves that he essentially just created an ‘animal Avengers’. The team formed by Old Hob is called the Mighty Mutanimals which consisted of a giant hulking turtle, a mutated stingray with super strength and the obvious ability to exist underwater, and a giant crab with a mechanical armored shell equipped with powerful blasters. With just these few members alone, the Mighty Mutanimals filled the ‘Avengers’ roles of Hulk, Iron Man, and Namor, and that’s not even considering how naturally similar the two teams operate even without those strikingly specific similarities.

Not only are some members seemingly animal versions of fan-favorite Avengers, but the leader of the Mighty Mutanimals is incredibly reminiscent of the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. himself, Nick Fury. Just as Nick Fury brought the Avengers together in the MCU, so did Old Hob–a hardened leader of militarized warriors with an eye-patch and a gruff yet loveable demeanor–bring together the Mighty Mutanimals. While Michelangelo eventually left the group to return to his brothers, he very well could have stayed with the Mutaninals–meaning the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ version of the Avengers nearly destroyed the Ninja Turtles themselves by permanently breaking up the iconic team.