IDW TMNT Vol. 1 trade paperback cover


Some TMNT stuff really isn't for little kids.

Change is Constant is the first story arc in IDW's TMNT series, comprising issues 1 through 4. This arc details the status quo at the start of the series.    

This story is followed by Enemies Old, Enemies New.   


Part One - Issue #1


A mutant rat and three mutant turtles in red bandanas are in a stand-off with a mutant cat and his gang of thugs. The cat refuses to listen to the rat's attempts to reason with him and orders his thugs to attack. As the two parties begin to fight, the rat reminds the turtles to not use lethal force. The rat and the three turtles easily defeat the cat's gang, prompting the cat himself to join the fray. The rat dispatches him easily. The cat flees the scene, telling them that soon they will be captured and forgotten, just like the other turtle. 

Eighteen months earlier, four baby sea turtles roam about inside a terrarium inside a laboratory at Stockgen, a corporation specializing in scientific research. A new intern, April O'Neil, is being shown around the lab by one of the scientists, Chet Allen. April, thinking Stockgen is all about bioengineering meat to feed starving people in third-world countries, is surprised by the turtles' presence. She's even more surprised when a moment later a large rat hops on top of the turtles' terrarium. Chet tells her that its just Splinter, a rat being used for an ongoing experiment. 

In another area of Stockgen, Doctor Baxter Stockman receives a call from a General Krang. Krang is the warlord ruler of Burnow Island and is calling Stockman to find out how much longer he has to wait for supplies he ordered from Stockgen, specifically the mutagen.

Three months later, April has become very fond of the turtles. Lindsey, another scientist at Stockgen, tells April why the rat is called Splinter: he's part of an experiment testing the effects of a psychotropic drug serum that separates the animalistic, instinctual side of the animal from the logical, cognizent side of the brain. Chet tells April she should name the turtles, but she informs him she already has: Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael (inspired by her History of Renaissance Art class). 

Present day: Raphael, confused and alone, scavenges for food in a dumpster behind a pizza shop. He finds a snack and moves on. He is searching through a trashcan outside of an apartment when he hears a commotion from inside: a drunk father beating his son. He breaks down the door, interrupting the domestic abuse and challenging the man to a fight. 

Part Two - Issue #2


Raphael has just barged in to stop an incident of domestic abuse from continuing. Raphael dukes it out with the drunk, belligerent man, eventually coming out on top. The drunk man gets in his care and speeds away. The man's son thanks Raphael for the help. He handles meeting a large mutant turtle very well. 

Fifteen months earlier, April is studying for class in the Stockgen labs late one night when Splinter approaches her and attempts to draw her attention to the contents of a compact disc, containing information on Stockgen's involvement in illicit military research. Two ninjas break into the lab to steal samples and test animals and attempt to eliminate April. Splinter, acting quickly, pulls the fire alarm. In the confusion brought on by the alarm, April manages to attack one of the ninjas. Two security guards arrive and the ninjas flee. Unbeknownst to the ninja, Splinter has hitched a ride with them, and before they get far he attacks, seeking to protect the turtles. Splinter causes the ninja to drop the bag with the turtles and a vial of a strange substance, coating them all in it. An alley cat slinks out of the shadows and decides to make a meal out of one of the turtles. 

Present day: Leonardo asks Master Splinter for reassurance that they'll find their lost brother, Raphael. Splinter tells him the reassurance he seeks must be within him already, as he has not yet given up the search. Donatello interjects, citing the incredible odds at finding a lone individual in city the size of New York. Michelangelo says that whatever happens, he prefers bumping heads with Old Hob, their mutant alley cat enemy, to wasting time searching for their lost brother. He realizes the callousness of what he's said and explains that he's merely frustrated at the seeming futility of their search. Splinter tells them all that their primary goal must be to reunite their family, so that they can face together the hardships he senses coming.

The drunk man's son introduces himself as Casey Jones, and Raphael tells him he can't remember anything about who he is or where he came from. Casey empathizes with him and explains that his dad became an alcoholic after his mother passed, and that's when the abuse started. Casey thanks Raphael for intervening. He invites Raphael to go get some food with him and have some fun along the way, donning a hockey mask and arming himself with a baseball bat. 

Part Three - Issue #3


Raphael and Casey have just finished roughing up a purse snatcher. When they try to return the old woman's purse however, the sight of a masked bat-wielding man and a large mutant animal causes her to flee. As they walk to the nearest police station to drop off the purse, Casey tells Raphael more about himself. He explains the promise he made to his mom before she died of cancer to take care of his dad. He also tells him about his hockey scholarship, and how his low grades have kept him from playing lately. Two men spy Raphael with Casey and go to report to Old Hob. 

In the sewers, Splinter oversees the other Turtles training. Splinter explains to them that celebrating victory prematurely is to invite defeat. Donatello asks Splinter why Hob has such a problem with them. Splinter tells them the specifics aren't important, they must simply accept that he has his reasons. 

Fifteen months earlier, Splinter is facing down the alley cat as it tries to get away with Raphael. Splinter attacks the cat, blinding it in one eye and scaring it off. The ninja descend from the rooftops to retrieve the bag containing the turtles but Splinter drags them to safety and they tumble into the sewers. Time passes. Splinter awakes and is stunned by the transformation he has undergone. He can now speak and walks on two legs. The turtles have undergone the same change.

Present day: Leonardo, Donatello, and Michelangelo embark on another search party for Raphael. Michelangelo whines about going out yet again to look for their missing brother; Donatello expresses doubt that he is even alive anymore. The discussion devolves into a full-fledged argument as tempers rise. Eventually Michelangelo breaks it up and they all agree to continue their search, but to simultaneously find some of Hob's thugs to pick a fight with. 

Raphael and Casey are getting hot dogs when two men run past, seemingly running from a crime they've just committed. They attack the two men but realize they've been lead into a trap: Old Hob and his gang surround them from behind. 

Part Four - Issue #4


Raphael and Casey are walled in by Old Hob and his thugs. Casey is starting to question the sudden appearance of mutant animals. Raphael suddenly remembers the attack by Hob on him and his family. Hob tells his gang not to shoot them, that they're going to put a serious beating on Raphael and Casey. 

Fifteen months earlier, Baxter Stockman is getting details on the break-in and what was lost from Chet Allen. Stockman is considerably upset by the loss of much of the super soldier mutagen and all of the psychotropic serum, both of which were needed for projects comissioned by General Krang. Chet tells Stockman that the psychotropic serum may not be a total loss; if they can find Splinter, they can retrieve a sample of the serum from his blood. A large humanoid cat with a missing eye stumbles out of the shadows and offers to help them search for the rat: Old Hob. 

April is telling the story of the break-in to the police. She tells them about the ninjas and they write it off as corporate espionage. She tells them she would never have gotten away if Splinter hadn't pulled the fire alarm.

Down below in the sewers, Splinter leads the three turtles (Leonardo, Donatello, and Michelangelo) to safety. He tells them there is much for him to reteach them before they can find their brother, Raphael. 

In the present, Raphael and Casey try to beat back Hob's thugs but they keep attacking. Casey is distracted and is knocked out by a brick to the head. Hob brings Raphael to the ground and is about to shoot him. Before he can take the shot three ninja stars sink into his arm, causing him to drop the gun—the other turtles have arrived. Raphael is stunned as he watches the three turtles fighting in unison, defeating all of Hob's thugs. As they make sure everyone has been taken care of, Hob charges Raphael again and attempts to get in his head. Raphael flies into an uncontrollable rage and defeats Hob. He nearly beats him to death when his brothers stop him, telling him it's over. Casey awakes and is confused by the sight of four teenage mutant ninja turtles. The reunited Turtles depart for home, where Splinter is overjoyed that Raphael has returned. 



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