Shredder’s Revenge – The Incredible Origin of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles


The release of the game by Tribute Games and DotEmu has rekindled the spotlight Ninja turtles, these four mutant reptiles are named after four Renaissance geniuses. A heavily retro-sounding fighting game, the game takes us straight back to the late 80’s, early 90’s, to the cartoon days of Wednesday morning. Hyper-referenced, it touches the very heart of what Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is: a work in the blink of an eye, where the reference borders on pastiche.

Why Ninja Turtles are originally a kind of unofficial spin off of a major Marvel license, which has experienced a resurgence in popularity thanks to a Netflix series (since migrated to Disney Plus): Daredevil (to pronounce [dèrediveule]and not [dardéville] !).

In Daredevil, Matt Murdock is a lawyer by day, but a vigilante by night. And like justice, he is blind. An accident deprived him of his sight and at the same time allowed him to develop his other five senses in a superhuman way. One evening, when a truck was about to run over a (decidedly …) blind man crossing the road, the young Murdock rushed to push the man out of the truck’s path. The latter then swerved, letting some of his radioactive load escape, blinding the young man and at the same time triggering an unprecedented evolution of his other senses …

Daredeveil 01 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles origin story
Daredevil # 01, Stan Lee And Bill Everett1964

However, re-reading the very first volume of Ninja turtles published in 1984 by Mirage (reprinted several times since then by IDW, the current editor of Les Tortues), we discover this history of origin narrated by Master Splinter himself:

… the metal container that had blinded the young man ended up bouncing off an aquarium that contained 4 small turtles. TMNT # 01, Kevin Eastman And Peter Laird1984.

The Turtles and their rodent Sensei were then transformed by the same radioactive product that transformed Matt Murdock into Daredevil! It is therefore no coincidence that all five (Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, Raphael and … Matt Murdock!) Have become experts in the art of ninjutsu!

And the relationship between the two universes doesn’t stop there. Daredevil must face a criminal organization called The Hand when the turtles face … The Foot Clan! And even, the old master of the Knights of Scales is called Splinter (“splinter”, in French) when the one who trained Matt Murdock is called Stick (which can be translated as “stick”, or “branch”).

Elevator return? In an episode of The Defenders, the Netflix series that stars Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Jessica Jones (also, since recovered by Marvel’s owner, Disney), we see the four heroes forced to escape from the sewers. If we add to the situation the color that concerns them (red for Daredevil, yellow for Luke Cage, green for Iron Fist and purple for Jessica Jones), we understand that some observers wanted to see in this scene a nod to the mutants of the New York sewers. …

Since then, if Ninja turtles they were able to confront first, then collaborate with Batman, they haven’t officially met their mutagen brother yet … Any ideas for a next crossover?


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