Heroes in a Half-Shell!, Part 1 is a TMNT Adventures comic. It was published in August 1988, and retells the the 1987 animated series episodes "Turtle Tracks" as well as the beginning of "Enter the Shredder".
- April O'Neil (debut)
- Bebop (debut)
- Donatello (debut) (mutates in flashback)
- Foot Soldier (debut)
- Hamato Yoshi/Splinter (debut) (mutates in flashback)
- Krang (debut)
- Leonardo (debut) (mutates in flashback)
- Michaelangelo (debut) (mutates in flashback)
- Oroku Saki/Shredder (debut)
- Raphael (debut) (mutates in flashback)
- Rocksteady (debut)
- Manhattan Security Services receptionist (debut)
- Mohawk Punk (debut)
- Roadkill Rodneys (debut)
- Scrag (debut)
- Yamaguchi (debut) (flashback only)
April O'Neil, Channel 6 News, is reporting on the seemingly low-tech robberies of three high-tech companies. All signs point to ninjas, and April and her news crew are reporting from Technologies Central in the hopes that they will be robbed next and therefore caught on camera by Channel 6. The news crew doesn't want to stick around to see if April's hunch is correct, and their instincts are on the money. A group of punks led by a pre-mutation Rocksteady approach the news crew threateningly with a message: "...stick to reportin' fashion shows!"
April runs from the punks, ducking into the sewers. As the punks follow her, April is distracted and runs into a wall. The punks catch up to her, and her future seems bleak when four shadows step in to disarm and thrash the punks. April turns to thank her saviors and sees four man-size turtles! Unable to believe her eyes, April faints.
Meanwhile a shadowy figure, later revealed to be the Shredder, watches a monitor revealing the Turtles taking April back to their lair.
Later, deeper in the sewers, April awakes and is offered some tea from a man-sized rat. Bewildered by seeing the four turtles chowing down on some oddly-topped pizza and a giant rat in a kimono, she demands to know who they are.
The rat begins to explain by telling the tale of Hamoto Yoshi, a teacher in the ninja Foot Clan in Japan. Framed by rival Oroku Saki, Yoshi is banished to the New York sewers for attempting to assassinate a master sensei. There, he befriends rats and, eventually, four baby turtles. One day, Yoshi finds the baby turtles covered in a glowing ooze. The turtles mutate before his eyes becoming man-sized and intelligent. Yoshi himself mutates into a man-sized rat.
April realizes that the rat speaking is Hamato Yoshi, now going by the name Splinter, and the four turtles are his ninja students: Donatello armed with a wodden Bo-staff, Raphael master of the Sai, Leonardo wielding dual Katanas, and Mihaelangelo master of the whirling Nunchakus!
They ask April what she thinks, but she's decided that these freaks have committed the ninja robberies. She tries to escape, but the turtles block her way and decide to keep her there until they can find the true culprits and clear their names.
Rocksteady and the punks report back to The Shredder that four weirdos beat the pants off them. Shredder's only concern is that the four giant reptiles may have been turtles.
Returning to the scene of the fight, the Turtles and April discover a matchbook from an establishment called Ninja Pizza. The group decides to check it out, but April is afraid the Turtles may draw too much attention. She obtains some trenchcoats and fedoras from a men's clothing store, and suddenly the Turtles are incognito!
They find Ninja Pizza on a street with a number of other ninja themed places of business. While the Turtles take a pizza break, April snoops around the surrounding area and discovers Manhattan Security Services, a shady security company that is actually cleaning out their clients! April races to a phone to call in a news crew, but is abducted by ninja-garbed assailants similar to the faux-guards she spotted in the Security building.
The Turtles become concerned by April's absence and discover her wallet by the payphone where she was abducted. Following a string of April's personal items to a nearby rooftop, they discover a tied up April and a trap! April's assailants, who turnout to be androids, attack the Turtles but are driven off to a nearby rooftop. April and the Turtles give chase, and discover a communications setup with The Shredder's face! The evil mastermind calls for a general retreat of the foot-bots to something called the Technodrome.
Reasoning that the Technodrome must be downstairs somewhere, the Turtles advance down the floors until they encounter some Foot messing with some plumbing. The building begins to flood, so the Turtles grab April and escape back out of the roof the way they came in the nick of time as the building succumbs to the massive amounts of water!
Later, Splinter examines uniform pieces from the robot assailants and deduces that the Foot, under the command of Oroku Saki are nearby and the cause of all the trouble. The Turtles aren't worried about the Shredder's plans, and April begins to wonder if her newfound friends take anything seriously, but she realizes there is one thing they never joke about: Pizza!
The following morning, April and the Turtles are searching for the Technodrome under the location of the flooded out building and find only a giant empty cavern with a pair of giant tread marks.
Meanwhile, in the Technodrome, The Shredder is summoned by Krang, who wants to know why Saki hasn't completed his new body as per their agreement. The Shredder laments that he has bigger problems now thanks to the appearance of the Turtles. Krang reminds Shredder that it's his own fault the Mutagen affected the Turtles so, and muses what would happen if more powerful animals were used in the mutation process. The Shredder dashes off to test this hypothesis.
Elsewhere, the Turtles and April have decided to check back in with Splinter. April points out that there may be some pertinent information back at the news room while Splinter elects to lead the Turtles in following the Technodrome through the vast tunnels.
At the Zoo, a pair of robots burst out of the ground and abscond with a warthog and a rhinoceros.
Back in the sewer, the Turtles and Splinter are blocked in their pursuit of the Technodrome by a cave-in. Splinter sends the Turtles to the surface to find a way around while he attempts to burrow through.
Inside the Technodrome, The Shredder approaches the punks for volunteers. When the punks decline, Shredder appeals to their sense of revenge by saying they'll be able to, "...get even with the Turtles who so recently humiliated [them]!" The Shredder selects Rocksteady and Bebop from the group of punks and straps them to a pair of tables. When the punks realize they don't know what they've actually volunteered for, The Shredder merely tells them to relax as he approaches them in a bio-hazard proof suit with a canister of mutagen and the pair of animals from the park.
The Turtles, meanwhile, have made their way to the surface, and after dodging a few vans, sneak their way into Channel 6. April tells the Turtles she's learned of the animals stolen from the Zoo, and the Turtles decide to check it out.
About this time, Splinter breaks through the debris into a cavern holding the massive Technodrome. Splinter approaches cautiously, but is still nabbed by one of the abducting robots.
At the Zoo, the Turtles leave April at the surface and descend through the hole left by the robots into the same cavern with the Technodrome. The Turtles discover their master's walking stick and deduce that Splinter has been captured by the Technodrome's inhabitants. They steal their way inside until they are confronted by a number of industrial robots...
To be continued...
Differences between episodes and comic
- The description of the crimes is somewhat shorter and more serious in the adaptation compared to the episode.
- While Vernon is among the news crew in "Turtle Tracks", he is not present in the adaptation.
- April seems to talk to herself more in the adaptation. She also seems to faint less.
- Scrag has one line during the Turtles' battle with Bebop and Rocksteady's gang, "You're dead meat", when in the original episode he said nothing.
- Some of Raphael's jokes have been given to the other turtles in the adaptation, while a number of them are not present at all.
- Burne Thompson is not present in the adaptation.
- The cart lady with the shotgun is not present in the adaptation.
- April's inability to keep the Turtles straight at first is cut down to only a couple instances in the adaptation.
- April does not ask for a slice of the "Bananas and sausage" at the end of the story in the adaptation.
- Most of the intro and recap from the beginning of the episode is skipped in the adaptation.
- Again, Raphael's jokes are spread or cut in the adaptation.
- Shredder and Krang's mutual distrust is not as spelled out in the adaptation.
- Splinter's deciding to lead the Turtles personally is cut down in the adaptation.
- Bebop's line about wishing he brought comics with him is cut.
- Shredder's joke about Rocksteady and Bebop's date potential is cut from the adaptation.
- Burne Thompson is again not present in the adaptation.
- The Turtles' outrageous disguises are not present in the adaptation. Likewise, they do not laugh at April's claim that the Zoo story and the Technodrome are connected.
- April's attempt to get a news crew to the Zoo is not included in the adaptation.
- The closing walls trap is cut for the adaptation. Likewise the battle with the capture bots.
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- This story is continued in Heroes in a Half-Shell, Part 2.
- Bebop is depicted as a white man. This was later fixed in the 2009 reprint.
- Chapter One of this story adapts the episode “Turtle Tracks” of the Murakami-Wolf-Swensen TMNT cartoon.
- Chapter Two of this story adapts the first half of the episode “Enter the Shredder” of the Murakami-Wolf-Swensen TMNT cartoon.
- Elements of the origin story will later be retconned in TMNT Adventures #45. Also revealed in that issue, the great martial arts master was named "Grand Master Yamaguchi" and Yoshi's pet rat was named "Ogata".
- Graffiti sprayed across a brick wall features the name “Bugman”. Bugman was a character who later appeared in a few episodes of the TMNT cartoon series, but never made it into the Archie comic. More likely, they reference is to Michael Dooney-himself, who often went by the name "Bugman" at the Mirage offices (at least according to Peter Laird, he did).
- Chet is among the graffiti on the wall where April is abducted. Chet was a name the Mirage crew enjoyed using frequently as Easter Eggs in their books because...they just liked the name.
- Chet appears again in the street scene in the second chapter as a van marked Chet's Niblets. The next panel has a van marked Mirage Movers.
- A read-along adaptation of the entire mini-series was released as Heroes in a Half-Shell!: The Complete Adventure!
- Comic Gallery: Heroes in a Half-Shell! Part 1
- El Origen De Las Tortugas Ninja, a re-illustrated version of this comic with a new ending