Some TMNT stuff really isn't for little kids.

Leatherhead is a story arc in IDW Publishing's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles continuity.

The story highlights the Turtles first real interaction with the mutant alligator Leatherhead, as well after-effects of the power vacuum created on Burnow Island as a result of General Krang's imprisonment.


Part One - Issue #56


Released March 23rd, 2016

Two silhouetted figures sit around a fire in a cave on Burnow Island. Through coughs and wheezes due to difficulty breathing the island’s transformed atmosphere, the duo plan to do whatever necessary to survive. In Harold’s lab in NYC, the Turtles arrive to go through the teleporter to Burnow Island. Mikey admires Metalhead 2.0 and Harold warns him not to touch it. Leo asks Harold about his progress analyzing the cloak they procured from one of the Street Phantoms. Harold tells Leo that it’ll take time but he’ll get it done. Harold tells him that since his old partner stole all of their mutual research, he’ll have to start from scratch to reverse-engineer the technology. Harold gives the Turtles oxygen tanks and breathing masks to wear while they’re on Burnow Island and sends them off through the teleporter, telling them that the Fugitoid will tell them the reason for their visit when they arrive.

At Foot Clan headquarters, Kitsune is painting in her room when the Rat King suddenly appears out of thin air. Kitsune welcomes him and comments on his habit of arriving unannounced and uninvited. The Rat King explains that he’d recently spent time with their sister Aka (see the Casey & April mini-series), whom he considers boring as she has remained neutral during the Pantheon’s great game. The Rat King tells Kitsune that he must depart, as he has much to do now that he’s returned to New York, and tells Kitsune that she will likely be seeing more of their family very soon. Elsewhere in the Foot Clan’s base, Master Splinter summons the demoted assassin Jennika. Jennika again pledges her loyalty to the clan and her master. Splinter tells her that her devotion has earned her a new assignment: to guard over the tomb of Master Shredder.

On Burnow Island, the Fugitoid explains to the Turtles that he thinks it would be best to bring the rest of the Utroms out of stasis. Fugitoid explains that the island has been transformed into an environment suitable for the Utroms, and it would be unethical to keep them in stasis as the system keeping them alive was in danger of failing. The Turtles agree to help and the Fugitoid tells them that there was one other reason he called them there today – to introduce them to mutant alligator Leatherhead. The two figures camping in the cave on Burnow Island decide the time has come to make their move, meaning they have to kill or be killed.

The Fugitoid explains to the Turtles that it was thanks to Leatherhead that Donnie was restored to his original body, as Leatherhead had arrived at just the right time with a supply of healing mutagen. Leatherhead describes how he came to be transformed, going from a normal alligator living a carefree existence to the self-aware mutant he is now, having been mutated by ooze some pirates dumped overboard on Burnow Island in the early 18th century (see the Turtles in Time mini-series for more). Leatherhead gathered up the supply of unrefined ooze and mutagen and stored it for safekeeping, continuing his simple existence as he hid from the island’s other inhabitants for two hundred years, until the atmosphere was transformed by General Krang. Leatherhead explains to the Turtles that it was this change that made his home unlivable that prompted him to strike a deal with the Fugitoid and Harold, in exchange for the mutagen he gave them – passage through the teleporter to New York City, where he has learned other mutants dwell amongst their own kind. The Turtles agree that it is only right to allow him this as without his help they might not have succeeded against the Shredder, and Donnie would still be stuck in Metalhead. Donnie and the Fugitoid begin overseeing the process of bringing the Utroms out of stasis as Leatherhead and the others help. Donnie asks why one of the Utroms remains on hold status, and the Fugitoid explains that the Utrom in question was a notorious war criminal, guilty of nearly as many crimes as General Krang, and he sought to discuss the matter with the other Utroms once they were out of stasis.

Mikey asks Leatherhead how he got his name. Leatherhead explains that the natives of the island would occasionally glimpse his post-mutated form in the lagoons and he became something of a myth. They dubbed him “the Leatherhead of the Lagoon” and having no other formal name, he decided to keep it. Fugitoid orders the revitalization sequenced to begin and Leatherhead inserts the first canister of ooze into the stasis system. The process is completed smoothly, the Utroms still asleep although fully rejuvenated after their extended hibernation. The Fugitoid explains that they will be moved to recovery chambers to finish the process, a less distressing environment than the stasis tubes.

Several hours later, all the Utroms have been moved to beds to finish waking from stasis. Fugitoid is making his rounds, recording the conditions of each Utrom. He marks two more down as stable and goes to check on the Utroms in the next room. He is shocked to discover that every Utrom in the room is dead. He turns around at the sound of a cough and sees the killer, crying “You!” in recognition. The killer knocks Fugitoid into pieces, and his shadow is seen slinking off.

Part Two - Issue #57


Limited release April 27th, 2016, full release May 4th, 2016

On Burnow Island, the Turtles, Leatherhead, and several of the awakened Utroms look over the scene of carnage and destruction. Mikey struggles to avoid throwing up in disgust. Donnie looks at the pieces of the Fugitoid worriedly, wondering if he can be repaired and restored to life. Chief Science Advisor Ma’riell,  the senior ranking Utrom now that Councilor Lorqa is dead, demands answers, wanting to know who the Turtles are and the whereabouts of General Krang. The Turtles uneasily explain that Krang had urgent business elsewhere he had to attend to and introduce themselves. Ma’riell asks where the other Utroms are, and Leatherhead says that they’re locked in their rooms for safety. He explains that he had been out for a walk to see the island one last time before he left when he came upon the murdered Utroms and sounded the alarm. Leatherhead recalls that he had smelled smoke like that of a campfire when he’d found the bodies of the slain Utroms, but he hadn’t noted its significance until then, that there were others on the island. Leo tells Donnie to see if he can put the Fugitoid back together again, and tells Mikey to keep watch while he does so. Leo asks Leatherhead if he can take Raph and him to where he smelled the campfire earlier. Ma’riell asks if they may be allowed to inform the other Utroms of what has taken place. Leo tells her that it is her call to make, as it is their safety in question.

Leatherhead leads Raph and Leo down a hallway in the basement of the Burnow Island command center. He explains that it connects to a natural cave system on the island. Suddenly a large M.O.U.S.E.R. robot appears and orders them to stand down. Before Raph and Leo can attack Leatherhead destroys it with a few quick strikes, impressing the Turtles with his formidable strength. Meanwhile, Ma’riell and an Utrom technician named Leeshawn help Donnie try to rebuild Fugitoid. The trio manages to restore power to the Fugitoid’s head and Donnie attempts to communicate with him. Ma’riell tells him that based on the computer readings the Fugitoid’s consciousness is still inside but it is currently in a type of coma and will take some time to return to normal. Technician Leeshawn and Corporal Montuoro state that now that the Fugitoid is alright for the time being they gather the surviving Utroms. They ask why Ma’riell’s brother Corporal Ch’rell remains in stasis.

Leatherhead assures Raph and Leo that they are nearing the end of the tunnel as the water approaches their waist level. Leatherhead admits to them that his life on Burnow Island had not been as idyllic as he’d lead them to believe, or at least his post-mutation life had not. Leatherhead explains that he went from being an alpha predator to prey, hunted by those who would seek to see him contained, as they thought of him as an abomination. Leatherhead states that he understood their desire to capture him, as abominations have no place in Mother Nature’s grand design. Suddenly Sargent Tragg and Granitor, the stone soldiers, appear out of nowhere, guns drawn, demanding the Turtles hand over their breathing devices. Leatherhead dives beneath the surface of the water. Leo and Raph accuse Tragg and Granitor of murdering the Utroms but the two appear to have no knowledge of the event. After a short fight, Leo and Raph subdue Tragg and Granitor. The stone soldiers explain that they’d been too weak to leave the safety of the caves due to the harsh atmosphere, and that they could not have been the ones to kill the Utroms. Just then Leatherhead reappears, smashing Tragg into the cave wall with his tail. He tells the others that he has something else to admit.

Part Three - Issue #58


Released May 11th, 2016

Inside the Technodrome, two of the newly awakened Utroms, Lieutenant Kleve and Corporal Montuoro, demand to know why Colonel Ch’rell has been left in stasis. Donnie explains to the Utrom Chief Science Advisor, Ma’riell, that it is on account of the many war crimes committed by Ch’rell, and the desire to see him tried in the same Neutrino court as General Krang to answer for his crimes. Donnie further explains that since Krang had been successful in converting Burnow Island to a habitat suitable for the Utrom refugees, it could remain their home.

Elsewhere, Utrom Technician Leeshawn and Mikey release some of the other Utroms from lockdown in their quarters. Two of the Utroms, Churk and Yoom, recognize Mikey from their encounter with him in the Prehistoric Era (see the TMNT: Turtles in Time miniseries for more details). Leeshawn assures his fellow Utroms that Mikey is on their side when suddenly Leatherhead enters the room, bleeding profusely from his arm. Leatherhead explains to the others that he mistakenly injured himself while fumbling through one of the dark tunnels below the Technodrome, and asks that Mikey go back to help his brothers while he cleans himself up. As he goes to find his brothers, Mikey tells Donnie what has happened. Hearing Leatherhead’s name, the severed head of the Fugitoid, the robot containing the Neutrino Professor Honeycutt’s consciousness, awakes, telling Donnie that it was Leatherhead who tore apart his robotic body.

Mikey finds Raph and Leo coming to in the tunnels underneath the Technodrome after being knocked out by Leatherhead, along with the stone soldiers Tragg and Granitor. Leo asks Mikey who was left guarding the Utroms; Mikey tells him that Leatherhead had taken over. Leo quickly explains that Leatherhead is seeking revenge against the Utroms and must be stopped. As the group makes their way back to the main section of the Technodrome, Granitor explains that Leatherhead had been experimented on mercilessly by General Krang during his time on Burnow Island. Leatherhead had been the first test subject for Krang’s plan to create a mutant army to use to take over the world.

In their quarters, Leatherhead speaks to a group of Utroms about how the harsh realities of life were thrust upon him when he was captured after his mutation. Leatherhead prepares to attack the Utroms but Donnie arrives and tells him to stand down. Leatherhead parries a strike by Donnie and flings him across the room. Just then Raph, Leo, and Mikey arrive, having armed themselves with stun batons from the Technodrome’s armory. Leatherhead grabs Donnie and forces him to activate the teleporter. Leatherhead prepares to depart and tells the Turtles that he believes that they as mutants are abominations and should not exist. Leo attacks but Leatherhead grabs hold of Leo’s taser and breaks it. Raph is about to attack but Mikey snatches Leatherhead’s breathing mask off his face using his grappling hook, and tells him to stop fighting. Leatherhead grabs hold of Mikey and removes his breathing mask, telling Donnie to teleport him to New York City before he suffocates and threatening to crush Mikey to death. Donnie tells Raph and Leo that they have no choice but to send Leatherhead to New York, to save Mikey and because Donnie owes him for saving his life when he provided him with a supply of healing ooze.

Leatherhead, still clutching Mikey, Leo, and Raph arrive in New York near the docks. Leatherhead is quickly overwhelmed by the high level of sensory stimulation. Leatherhead drops Mikey and tells the Turtles that he has to find peace and quiet so that he can plot his next move. Leatherhead leaps into the water, telling the Turtles that he’s not done with them.

Leo, Raph, and Mikey walk up to the entrance to the Foot Clan’s headquarters, the door slightly ajar. Leo tells Mikey that he wishes he would come inside and stay for a while rather than go straight home. Mikey tells Leo that he just wants to relax in his own space and Raph backs him up, telling Leo that Mikey and Donnie will be fine doing their own thing sometimes. Raph tells them that what they should be concerned about is what Leatherhead will do next. Looking up through the open doorway, the Turtles are shocked to see several Foot ninja down, Alopex in combat with Jennika, and Kitsune clutching an unconscious Master Splinter, about to stab him in the heart with a knife.


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