TMNT Vol 17. TPB Cover

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Some TMNT stuff really isn't for little kids.

Desperate Measures is a story arc in IDW Publishing's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles continuity. The story deals with the Turtles and other mutants being tracked down by Agent Bishop of the Earth Protection Force and Dark Water mercenaries.


Prologue - Issue #66

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Released January 25th, 2017

Raphael and Angel Bridge are in Alaska near a Foot Clan helicopter, where Raphael complains about being a reptile in the biting cold. The weather is getting worse, so they have to walk from there on.

Elsewhere, Alopex sleeps in a snowy cave, and awakes suddenly to a hallucination of Kitsune surrounded by red spectral foxes. Kitsune sneers that Alopex belongs to her, that she cannot escape, and that she's not yet finished with the mutant fox. Alopex wakes again from her nightmares, and wanders out into the snowy forest, where she splashes water on her face. But then she sees Kitsune's mask again, which agitates her.

Angel begins probing Raphael about his feelings for Alopex, who noncommittally says that he might love her. Angel insists that he's in denial about how he feels, but Raphael points out their biological incompatibility, that a fox and a turtle "ain't gonna happen." He does admit that he "gets" her, and that he doesn't feel so lonely when he's around her, which Angel thinks is more important than being different species. Raphael teases her about Woody in response, and the two of them scale a mountain in pursuit of Alopex's signal.

Alopex finds herself in the burned remains of the forest where she once lived, and remembers how Shredder destroyed it. She tries to defy Kitsune once again, but the witch's brainwashing is still strong, and she claims that she has always been with Alopex. Kitsune taunts Alopex by saying that the forest's burning was actually the mutant fox's fault, and that she brings destruction with her everywhere. Finally, she morphs into a monstrous white bear and menaces Alopex.

Angel hears her screaming in the distance, but the storm has gotten bad enough that they can't even see the tracker. Raphael sits down and declares that even though he's not very good at it, he's going to search for Alopex with his mind.

Alopex is in a trance, hallucinating about being chased by the bear she's feared all this time. A spectral Raphael appears nearby, which Kitsune finds interesting but ultimately irrelevant, as she declares that nothing he can do can change that Alopex belongs to her. As she menaces Alopex in bear form, Raphael pleads with Alopex to remember who she is, encouraging her to lash out at Kitsune, who reverts back to her human form. Alopex summons a pair of ghostly scythes out of the air and slashes Kitsune's throat with them, declaring that everything bad that has happened has been her fault, and that she wants Kitsune out of her head for good. As she's finally rid of Kitsune's brainwashing, the purple marks on her face are changed into blue.

Angel and Raphael greet Alopex, and they hike back to the helicopter together, with Raphael promising to get them a round of hot chocolate when they get home. Alopex thanks them for coming to find her, and Angel and Raphael banter about Woody.

Part One - Issue #67

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Released February 15th, 2017

Slash is sitting on a rooftop, where he's reading The Grapes of Wrath while Jimmy the pigeon encourages him to continue. Suddenly the roof under him begins to shake and crumble, and the giant turtle falls as the entire building collapses. As he crawls out of the debris, he's shot with several tranquilizer darts by Dark Water mercenaries, and collapses into unconsciousness. Agent Bishop appears, orders them to take Slash to the E.P.F. labs, and says it's time for Phase Two. Jimmy watches helplessly as they take Slash away.

In the lair, the Turtles are starting to get on each other's nerves: Michelangelo has been using Donatello's tablet as a coaster, which he blames on Leonardo. Leonardo becomes upset when Raphael says that things seem peaceful, reminding his brothers of all the threats they currently face, but none of them seem motivated. Raphael plans to enjoy their downtime, Michelangelo wants to fight crime, and Donatello wants to develop new tech. As a squabble breaks out, Leonardo leaves.

In the E.P.F. lab, Doctor Shevlin tells Agent Bishop that they've found traces of the psychotropic serum that Slash injected into himself, and that Slash has a form of PTSD from his torment in StockGen's labs. Even worse, they've implanted nodes in Slash that allow him to be controlled as a biological weapon. Bishop also tells Colonel Knight that his father, who created the E.P.F., believed that humanity faced a threat from "monsters," and that he's seeing his father's vision through. Knight has clearly begun to feel disquiet about Bishop's fanaticism and his very personal motivations.

Leonardo appears at the Foot Clan headquarters, and Splinter dismisses Jennika and his guards so that they can talk alone. Leonardo vents for a few minutes about how his brothers are goofing around and just blow him off when he tries to lead them, and Splinter smiles out of relief that his teenage sons are still able to act like teenagers. He gives Leonardo some advice on how to lead his brothers in the future.

The Mutanimals are watching a movie together when Jimmy suddenly flies in the window and frantically coos at Pete. Someone knocks at the door, and Mondo Gecko lets Slash in without any idea that something is wrong. Jimmy tries to warn them even as the Mutanimals realize that something is terribly wrong with Slash; outside, Agent Bishop activates Slash and causes him to go on a rampage. Hob and Ray are knocked around, Gecko's tail is ripped off, Herman's claw is torn off as well, and when Seymour tries to reason with Slash, his protective dome is smashed open. Lindsey tries to run from Slash, but is hit with a tranquilizer dart.

Sergeant Winter leads a Dark Water team into the premises to capture the Mutanimals, but is concerned when he realizes one is missing. On a rooftop nearby, Old Hob watches in anger.

Part Two - Issue #68

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Released March 22nd, 2017

Leonardo attempts to lead his brothers through tai chi exercises, but is interrupted by Raphael having to fish Pepperoni out of the sewer. The incident causes friction among the brothers, with Leonardo referring to Pepperoni as a dumb animal, Raphael sniping about the tai chi, and Michelangelo making poop jokes.

They're suddenly interrupted by Old Hob, with his arm in a sling. Raphael almost attacks him, but Leonardo orders him to let Hob talk. He informs them that the Mutanimals were attacked and captured by "jarheads" who had Slash under their control, which the Turtles recognize almost immediately.

At an E.P.F. base, Sally, Mondo, Pete and Ray are all trapped against the wall, while Colonel Knight promises his wife over the phone that he'll be home the next day. Mondo's tail is already growing back, but things are increasingly grim: they're planning to implant control nodes in all the mutants there, just as they have done with Slash. Ray speaks up to point out the lack of ethics in what he's doing, but Bishop shrugs off ethics as a "detriment" to eradicating threats. Ray also reveals that he knows what happened at T.C.R.I. in "The War to Come", which momentarily throws Bishop off-balance.

It is also revealed that Herman, whose claw was ripped off by the Bishop-controlled Slash, is having a new cybernetic one implanted. Seymour, whose protective globe was smashed, is half-dead and being taken care of by E.P.F. scientists, while Lindsey desperately tries to convince them to let her save him.

While Ray is speaking to Bishop, he quietly unlocks his restraints with his tail and shoots barbs at two of the mercenaries nearly. He grabs Bishop by the throat as Knight leaps down to help, but Bishop seems oddly unconcerned by the attack, effortlessly fighting off Ray with "hidden powers." The two grapple until Ray finally has Bishop pinned against the wall, but Knight holds a gun to his head, ending the fight. Just then, the Dark Water mercenaries notice that Mondo and Sally have also escaped, leaving only Pete.

The two escaped mutants race through the halls of the facility, dodging mercenaries until Sally locates a massive gun-equipped military vehicle. Mondo declares that he's going to stay behind and hack their system for useful data, while Sally bludgeons a guard and breaks her way out.

At the Mutanimals' apartment, Donatello checks over the evidence left behind, just to make sure that Hob is telling the truth. Hob blames Michelangelo for Slash being on his own when the E.P.F. found him, and demands that Leonardo think of a plan faster.

Donatello wanders over to a window, and suddenly notices a drone hovering outside it. Raphael hits it with a shuriken, and Leonardo shouts at them all to get down. Outside, a large number of Dark Water mercenaries are gathering, having been alerted to the Turtles' presence by the drone. Leonardo is struggling to come up with a plan to get out of their current predicament.

Winter calls Knight with news that they have the Turtles trapped, and asks when reinforcements will be coming. Knight reveals that they're preparing to send in the mind-controlled Slash.

Part Three - Issue #69

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Released May 3rd, 2017

An E.P.F. scientist cowers in the men's bathroom as a full security lockdown is announced. The door creaks open, and as he looks under the stall door, he's ambushed by a disguised Mondo Gecko, who takes his security pass. He sneaks into a secure area with the pass.

At a retirement home, Bishop is speaking to his father, who has Alzheimer's disease. He assures his father that his work in the E.P.F. wasn't for nothing, and that their "enemy" is as monstrous as he said. The word "monstrous" seems to bring him out of his haze, and he quickly tells a story about President Eisenhower demanding to see top-secret C.I.A. activities at Area 51, but being terrified by what he saw there. He warns his son that "Ike knew... knew that if we surrender ourselves to hunting monsters, we risk becoming monsters too."

He drifts back out of lucidity, and Nurse Starks assures Bishop that he should cherish the moments when his father is himself. Bishop coldly says that his father is only a shell of the hero he once was, and that he is his father's legacy. He heads into a nearby E.P.F. vehicle and dons the Slash-controlling headset, even as Slash is loaded into a truck.

Back at the Mutanimals' apartment, Dark Water is preparing to storm the building, and they're jamming all signals coming out of it. Old Hob opens a trap door in the floor and pulls out a massive Null stun-gun. He plans to attack the mercenaries so that the five of them can make their escape. Leonardo unexpectedly agrees with him, saying that they need a diversion so they can slip out the side rooms.

Old Hob starts firing the stun gun as Donatello and Raphael slide down a pipe, but they're surprised by a blast of light, followed by a shower of tranquilizer darts. Donatello's metal shell manages to deflect most of them, but one hits Raphael in the shoulder. As Dark Water approaches, Hob blasts them into unconsciousness.

Elsewhere, Leonardo and Michelangelo are being hit with an active denial system that threatens to fry them both. Old Hob stuns the mercenaries while Donatello shields a half-conscious Raphael from more darts, and throws a Null grenade to blow out their equipment. Just then, Slash appears, controlled by Bishop and on a rampage, and almost kills Michelangelo.

Sally drives up in the nick of time and fires canisters of tear gas at Slash, and Hob and the Turtles pile into the vehicle. The police pursue the vehicle as it speeds away, so Sally drives off the side of a bridge and into the water below. Some time later, they all surface in the sewer level of the Turtles' home, where Leonardo chastises Sally for almost killing them all. They're greeted by Mondo Gecko, who learned about their daring escape from the news.

Donatello finds that Mondo got a great deal of data, but it's all personnel information on employee addresses, next of kin and other information they can't use. Raphael argues that they should break into the E.P.F. base and free the Mutanimals, which Donatello and Leonardo both argue is not a good idea, since they are "out-teched" and the E.P.F. is now on alert. Just then, Michelangelo notices that Hob has vanished.

At the senior living facility, Hob calls Agent Bishop, saying that someone with him wants to say hi. He's holding Bishop's father at gunpoint, and the old man tells Bishop that "the monsters found me."

Part Four - Issue #70

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Released June 14th, 2017

The Turtles, Mondo and Sally are lurking near a rotting mansion, with Donatello scanning the area with binoculars. Hob has called them and told them to meet him there, but to lay low until "the time was right."

Just then, Dark Water and E.P.F. vehicles drive up, and a helicopter with a sniper in it flies directly over the Turtles. Hob shouts out of the mansion that he wants there to be no shooting, and that he's coming out. It's revealed that he has Bishop's father and Knight's wife Pam, whom he has kidnapped as leverage against his enemies. Holding Pam at gunpoint, he orders Pam to tell her husband what he has said to her.

Knight comes out to demand that Hob give back his wife, and confirms that a sniper is aiming at the mutant cat. But before the sniper can fire, Leonardo and Sally charge forward, Raphael and Michelangelo trounce some of the mercenaries, and Donatello forces the helicopter to land with the antigravity gauntlet. Before they can activate the active denial system, Mondo knocks out the drivers and turns the weapon on Dark Water instead.

With most of his men unconscious, Knight is forced to listen to Hob's demands. Pam explains that all Hob wants is his "family" of mutants, and that he'll leave them alone if he gets them back. Unfortunately, before Knight can do anything, the Bishop-controlled Slash appears, declaring that the E.P.F. doesn't negotiate with mutants.

Knight finally says that the E.P.F. may not negotiate with mutants, but Dark Water does. He radios Winter to tell him the operation is terminated, and Winter puts a gun to Bishop's head, declaring that wars are a dime a dozen, but family is rare and priceless. The Mutanimals and Lindsey are unloaded from a truck, Herman with a new metal claw and the now disembodied Seymour only barely alive. Just before Dark Water departs, Winter tosses a gun to Ray, and leaves Bishop in his custody.

But just then, the timid scientist Dr. Shevlin sends a rampaging Slash to knock down Ray and throw the entire vehicle at the Mutanimals. Bishop takes control of Slash once again, attacking the Turtles. Hob responds by putting a gun to Bishop's father's head, threatening to shoot him if Bishop doesn't back down. But Bishop responds that "that lifeless, mindless shell is not my 'old man'" and that all that remains of his father lives on in Bishop himself. The old man watches in horror as Slash leaps down on him and easily crushes him.

An enraged Hob flies directly at Bishop and claws his face, only to find a robotic face underneath his skin. As Hob recoils in horror that Bishop killed his own father, Bishop says that he only freed his father from a meaningless existence, and then gloats that his father was right, that they must become monsters in order to fight monsters. Before he can don the headpiece that lets him control Slash, Leonardo slices off both of his hands, which are also mechanical.

As police vehicles come closer, the mutants rush away in the vehicles that have been left there. Hob tries to get Slash to hear him, but the snapping turtle can't hear him, and they don't have the time to rescue him before the police arrive. Bishop shouts after them that this isn't done.

Driving off in Hob's van, Michelangelo worries about Slash, and Leonardo assures him that they'll do something to help the bigger turtle, because Clan Hamato never leaves family behind. Raphael jokes that he isn't going to call Leonardo "Master," and Leonardo tells Donatello that they're going to need some new tech soon. Donatello remarks that he might start with the van they're currently driving.