Some TMNT stuff really isn't for little kids.

TMNT Vol. 16 TPB Cover by Dave Wachter

Chasing Phantoms is a story arc in the IDW TMNT comic series. The story details the Turtles' run-in with a major up-and-coming street gang and their big-time boss.


Part One - Issue #61

TMNT -61 Regular Cover by Dave Wachter.jpg

Released August 24th, 2016

Jammer, Maze, and Turk of the Street Phantoms stand on a rooftop, eyeing an armored truck in an alley down below. Jammer tells the others that there is likely some advanced pieces of technology inside that they can steal and so please their boss, Darius Dun. The three Phantoms glide down to the ground using their high-tech cloaks. Jammer orders Maze to slash the tires and take out any security guards he finds while he and Turk check out the back of the truck. Jammer and Turk are surprised to see Donatello, himself armed with an upgraded bo staff and high-tech goggles, courtesy of Harold Lillja.

Jammer and Turk are startled to find that Donnie’s bo staff is now capable of combatting their advanced weapons, which are no longer able to phase through it. Outside the truck, Angel Bridge, wearing the high-tech “Nobody” suit built by Lillja, sneaks up on Maze and disarms here with a taser strike. Donnie knocks Jammer and Turk out of the back of the truck and the two gangsters land in a nearby dumpster. Maze jumps back up and prepares to attack but Angel knocks her aside with a blast from her suit’s anti-gravity gauntlet. Jammer pulls out an EMP gun and unleashes a beam of light at Donnie and Angel, disabling their tech. The Street Phantoms depart just as the sound of police sirens near the area. Donnie and Angel hightail away from the scene up a fire escape.

At the Foot Clan’s headquarters, Leo and Jennika train with wooden swords. Leo commends Jennika on a successful parry as the two finish up their current practice. Jennika tells Leo that she doesn’t deserve any praise as she wasn’t good enough to take on Alopex and prevent her from fleeing while she was under Kitsune’s mind-control. Leo assures her that she did a good job of holding her own, as he has experience dealing with Kitsune’s powers and even his brothers had fallen under her control. Leo tells Jennika to get ready to attend a meeting and she tells Leo she wants to be called Jenny from now on.

Sitting at the Foot Clan’s council table, Raph tells Leo that it’s about time he got there. Casey sits moodily while April examines a scroll she has brought with her. Donnie is busy helping Angel take off the deactivated tech suit when Mikey arrives with pizza and pasta salad. With everyone present, Master Splinter calls the meeting to order. Splinter explains that after the surprise attack by Kitsune (see Fox Hunt) that they have taken some unfortunate losses, including the disappearance of their clanmate Alopex and the rise of new groups who would do them harm, the Street Phantoms. Splinter gives April the floor so that she may explain what she has learned about the Pantheon and their game of world domination. April describes her and Casey’s trip to New Mexico where they met more members of the Pantheon, Aka, a benevolent deity, and her mischievous brother the Rat King (whom Leo and Splinter have already met, although the Rat King erased their memory of the encounter). Leo asks April if they can trust Aka or if she is simply making a move in the game to suit her own ends. April reminds Leo that it was Aka who gave her the power to negate Kitsune’s mind control (also occurring in Fox Hunt) and that she believes her to be genuinely on the side of mortals. Donnie states that he’s still skeptical of the idea of using magic to combat their foes, but April explains that she thinks of it as a type of science they don’t fully understand yet. Splinter asks Leo to train the others in mental resistance as well, as having been fully under Kitsune’s control and then breaking free he has learned to defy her power.

Raph says that it’s great that they’ve figured out what to do about their mystical problems but is curious what they all plan to do to bring Alopex back home. April states that she’s found information that will help them with that too. Hidden away in the Foot Clan’s library she found information on Alopex’s mutation, and discovered that Alopex had been micro-chipped so that she could be tracked. April had plugged the information into a GPS system and found that Alopex was heading northwest across the country. Angel states that Alopex must be headed back to Alaska, where she is from, probably because she’s ashamed of what she did while under Kitsune’s control. Raph and Angel state that they’re ready to go after her immediately. Splinter tells them that he has a helicopter and pilot waiting on standby so they can leave as soon as they are ready.

Splinter asks Donnie to share the results of his and Angel’s fact-finding mission against the Street Phantoms. Donnie and Angel explain that the countermeasures developed by Harold Lillja to combat the Street Phantoms’ phasing cloaks worked well but the Phantoms disable their tech with an EMP gun. Angel says that she’s sure the Phantoms themselves are too dumb to develop their own tech, so they must get it from somewhere else. Splinter tells the others that as a result of Jennika making contact with the Street Phantoms when she was trying to take control of the Foot Clan away from Splinter, and she met their benefactor Darius Dun as well. Splinter explains that all they know about this man is that he presents himself as a normal, respectable businessman. Splinter tasks Donnie with working with Harold further to continue developing their own technology to combat the Street Phantoms’ tech and strike pre-emptively.

Mikey stands up and points out that Splinter sounds more like a tactician than a father, accusing him of only wanting Alopex back to use her as another soldier in his war. Mikey tells the others that he wants no part in the Foot Clan if it is going to be involved in an ongoing feud with other criminal organizations, and he walks out.  Splinter dismisses the others, saying that the meeting is over. Casey and April greet each other awkwardly as they depart and Splinter asks Casey to talk a walk through the gardens with him. Casey and Splinter have a heartfelt conversation and discuss the recent events in which they’ve been involved. Splinter tells Casey that he has a special task for him.

Harold examines one of the Street Phantoms’ phase cloaks in his lab and curses its inventor. Harold gets up to resume working on the Metalhead robot when suddenly three Street Phantoms appear and knock him out, telling him that the Inventor says hi.

Part Two - Issue #62

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Released September 21st, 2016

The Purple Dragons are in an abandoned warehouse, killing time amongst themselves. Casey suddenly appears and insults them as "burned out posers," and refuses to leave when they order him to. When they menace him, he raises his hockey stick and tells them to make him leave. He beats the entire crowd of Purple Dragons, remaining the only one standing when the fight is over.

April and Donatello pore through books in a large library, commiserating on how much work they've been doing - he on the Street Phantoms, and she on the Pantheon. Donatello's mind is also occupied by thoughts of the Utroms, Leatherhead and Professor Honeycutt.

Elsewhere, Darius Dun informs Jammer that he plans to negotiate with Harold when the scientist wakes up, and expects to get what he wants because he already has leverage in place. He orders the Street Phantom to fetch the Inventor.

Raphael and Woody are visiting Michelangelo and eating a pizza with him. Woody has to go back to his job in fairly short order, and it becomes clear that while Michelangelo is putting on a brave face, he is increasingly lonely now that he's living by himself for the first time. Raphael declares that it's time for Michelangelo to come back to his family now, and that being in charge of the Foot is what Splinter has to do to keep his family safe from Kitsune, the Phantoms and other dangers. Michelangelo still feels that it feels wrong, but finally caves in so he can be with his brothers once again.

Donatello arrives at Harold's lab, and finds it empty. However, he also finds a security feed that shows what happened to his friend.

Dun calls in the Inventor - also known as Dr. Libby Meitner - and tells her the story of his life. He was a formidable football player in high school, but was intelligent enough to know that science and technology were the keys to success. Since he wasn't a genius himself, he used his strength to form connections with the intelligent, scientifically-minded kids. Now he is faced with his enemies coming up with counters to the technology Meitner is making, which is unacceptable to him since he wants control of the city. He opens a secret panel and reveals Harold to Meitner, telling her that he wants her to convince Harold to renew their partnership.

Donatello rushes into the Foot headquarters, shouting that the Phantoms took Harold. Splinter shocks his sons by revealing that he planned for the scientist's abduction, having Jennika leak information about him to the Phantoms, since he knew that they wouldn't be able to resist. Donatello is also upset that his father refers to Harold as an "asset."

"Tonight... we destroy the Street Phantoms," Splinter declares.

Part Three - Issue #63

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Released October 12th, 2016

The Foot Clan readies itself for battle while Splinter watches. Donatello tells Michelangelo and Raphael what he's just learned about Splinter's plans, and seems devastated that his friend is being referred to as an "asset." Leonardo has been completely silent since they found out. But the Turtles eventually conclude that as distasteful as this is, they have to rescue Harold.

Harold, meanwhile, is woken up by Libby, and tries to convince him that he could do amazing things with her with the resources that Dun would provide. Dun comes in and orders Harold freed so they can discuss his job offer.

Leonardo asks to speak to Splinter privately, and Splinter sends Jennika away for the time being. Leonardo is upset about his father keeping his plans secret from the Turtles, but Splinter points out that they also excluded him from their plans during the Attack on Technodrome arc, that they were right to exclude him, and that now he believes that Leonardo wasn't ready to know everything that Splinter is planning with the Foot Clan. He says that now he has to make difficult decisions that aren't liked, and that it is the burden of leadership. He asks for Leonardo's trust, and the Turtle uncertainly gives it. The Turtles prepare for battle.

Harold is not impressed by Dun's offer of a job, pointing out that it sounds suspiciously like a long-winded threat rather than a genuine offer. Dun confirms that it is, in fact, a threat. He plans to get Harold's expertise one way or another, even if he has to keep him imprisoned there by force. Harold is unimpressed by the threats, declaring that he's not for sale and that he has friends who are adept at violence. Triggering a flash on his glasses, he temporarily blinds everyone there and races out the door. Enraged, Dun orders the Phantoms to get him.

Outside, the Turtles and Splinter are observing Dun Inc., with Leonardo seeing no signs of security of the Phantoms, but Splinter assuring them that the security is surely there. Angel arrives with a bag full of Harold's gear, which include goggles that allow them to see the Phantoms and devices that will make their weapons match the vibrational frequency of the cloaks.

Suddenly someone shoots at Donatello, and the group is forced into retreat behind a dumpster as a squad of men open fire on them. After taking a moment to recover, they leap back out to fight.

Inside the building, Harold kills the lights to keep the Phantoms from finding him, but is stopped by Libby in a massive armored mech-suit. She says that she's still crazy about him, and knows he feels the same way about her; though Harold doesn't reply, his face shows that he is.

Outside, the Turtles are still fighting Lupo and the gunmen, along with Splinter and Angel. Splinter says that it isn't necessary to call in the Foot Clan reinforcements just yet, which shocks his sons... until they see Casey and the Purple Dragons appearing in the alley in front of them.

Part Four - Issue #64

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Released November 23rd, 2016

The tide of the battle turns with the Purple Dragons joining the fight alongside the Turtles. Raphael is rather put off by his best friend's new alliance with the Dragons, and Casey informs him that he now runs the Purple Dragons, which Splinter suggested so that they could join forces with the Foot Clan. Raphael is not pleased that once again, his father did something important that he did not tell his sons about.

When Dun's gunmen are defeated, Leonardo orders Casey and the Dragons to form a security perimeter outside the building, while the Turtles, Angel, and Splinter get inside the building itself. Foot Clan ninjas swarm over the buildings to follow them.

Harold and Libby trade remarks about "that monocled sociopath" and how he won't be as nice when he finds Harold now. Libby says that she's only here at her own behest, and that she wants to renew their old partnership now, which Harold dismisses because he says she stole his ideas and sold them to Dun. That enrages her, as he isn't giving her credit for all the work she did. Harold accuses her of selling her soul, and she sadly admits that she has - she has wealth and power, but it means nothing without Harold.

Just then the Street Phantoms appear in the hall, but Libby zaps them before they can tase Harold. When a security alert starts sounding, Harold joyously announces that his new partners have arrived as he expected. He runs out, leaving a despondent Libby behind.

Dun sees that the Foot Clan has arrived, and orders the Phantoms to protect the building from them. He also orders them to kill Harold and Libby if they get in the way.

The Turtles head up to the upper levels of the building, after being told by Splinter to defeat anyone who isn't Harold. Leonardo is trying to reason with Raphael when he's suddenly electrocuted by one of the Phantoms, sparking off a nasty fight in which the Turtles' enhanced weapons clash with the EMP weapons and cloaks of the Phantoms.

Libby follows Harold, still pleading with him and insisting that she has known she was wrong for a long time. She has just admitted she loves him when she suddenly knocks him backwards, out of the path of a Phantom who slashes her across the abdomen and leaves her bleeding on the floor. As he approaches Harold, Angel and the Turtles appear and knock the Phantom across the room.

But Harold unexpectedly lashes out at Donatello, blaming him for the chaos in his life and claiming that the Turtle just destroys instead of creating. He orders Donatello to go away before he brings any more destruction. Donatello is shocked and hurt; Leonardo shepherds him away from Harold, recognizing that nothing more will come from this.

In his office, Dun faces down a horde of Foot ninja, and manages to defeat them singlehandedly. Splinter says that he is impressed, and that it will be an honor to fight him. Splinter easily knocks Dun to the ground in single combat, and declares that the Foot Clan will now take all of his resources, in exchange for Dun's life. Enraged, Dun declares that he'll never surrender, that somehow he will destroy the rat mutant, but that first he will force him to watch the Turtles die slow painful deaths.

That is clearly the last straw for Splinter. He orders an assassin to jab metal claws through Dun's chest, killing him instantly.

The Turtles are completely horrified by this. Michelangelo declares that he can't do this anymore, and Donatello and Raphael follow him out of the room, saying that he has been right all along. Leonardo tears the mask from the assassin's face, revealing her to be Jennika, and argues with Splinter that this is turning them into crooks and murderers. Splinter tells him that it's necessary for the strength of the Foot Clan, and that this is how it must be.

While Leonardo listens with growing sadness, Splinter says that he once swore to Leonardo's mother that he would do everything he could to protect his sons from the dangers posed by the Foot Clan, that he had failed once and was failing again. His sons would never be safe with him, and so he kept secrets from them in order to drive them away from their father and the dangers of the Foot Clan. Now Splinter needs Leonardo to lead his brothers. Saddened, Leonardo leaves.

Splinter orders the cloaks to be taken from the Phantoms, and says that they will be free to go after that. But he wants them to share a message: "The Foot Clan is not to be trifled with."