Some TMNT stuff really isn't for little kids.
The ninth story arc in the IDW Chronology. Following the events of City Fall, the Turtles are back together but things aren't the same. They go to the farm of April O'Neil's family in Northampton, Massachusetts for a break, but don't get the peace and quiet they expected. This four part story features a new mutant designed by Sophie Campbell: Koya.
- This story is preceded by the Shredder one-shot.
- This story is followed by and somewhat concurrent with the Utrom Empire mini-series.
Released December 18th, 2013
April O'Neil and Casey Jones are recalling the events of the past few days in New York while driving to Northampton (amidst brilliant autumn colors), with the turtles and Splinter asleep in the back of April's van. Upon arriving at April's parents' farmhouse they all begin to unload, leaving Splinter and Leonardo to sleep a little longer in the van due to their trauma. While they unpack, April tells the turtles they'll be safe there as long as they stay hidden from her parents, and the turtles thank her, going to wake up Splinter and Leo so April and Casey can go to the main house to let her parents know they've arrived. When Raphael tries to wake Leo and help him out of the van, Leo is startled and runs into the forest to clear his head.
Raph does nothing to stop him until he spots an injured Alopex sneaking into the woods. Raph immediately attacks, throwing his sai at her, and accuses her of attempting an ambush, though Alopex claims she wants no conflict. Suddenly, Leo attacks Raph to defend Alopex, saying she had no desire to fight. Raph accuses Leo of still having ties to the Foot for being so quick to defend her, and the two fight causing Donatello and Michelangelo to intervene and pull them off of each other (Leo tells Mikey not to touch him when Mikey pulls him back).
Master Splinter finally gets involved, telling his sons to cease their arguing, and giving Alopex a chance to explain herself. She tells them that whether they trust her or not, she has abandoned the Foot Clan. After attacking the Shredder but being unsuccessful in killing him, she followed the turtles and hitched a ride on top of their van to escape the city just as they had. When Donnie questions her reasons for betrayal, she explains that the Shredder had murdered her family. Raph is still doubtful, and he and Leo almost begin to fight again, but Splinter orders them to stop. Leo tells Splinter (bluntly calling him "Yoshi") that he is not his sensei, and leaves the group to wander into the forest; no one does anything to stop him. Splinter tells Alopex that although he doesn't trust her he is honor bound to accept her truce because she saved his life by attacking the Shredder. Alopex tells him she doesn't want help or honor and leaves the group as well.
Casey and April are about to depart from the group, and Donnie apologizes to April for all the drama. Casey and Raph, meanwhile are having their own conversation. Casey tells Raph to go easy on Leo as he's been through a lot and Raph agrees, but points out he still doesn't trust Alopex. Casey also reveals to Raph that he and April are dating, but are keeping it quiet and taking it slow, and he is nervous about meeting her parents.
Arriving at the house, April enthusiastically greets her parents while Casey is being awkward about the introduction. April's mother tells Casey to call her Beth. Beth then brings them in to meet April's father, John, who recently suffered a stroke and is a sports fan like Casey. During their conversation, Beth tells April that she was relieved that April had come home because of the destruction of StockGen on the news.
At nightfall, Leo is out wandering alone in the woods. He remembers the visions he had of his mother along with other moments like his battle with Raph. He kneels by the lake and asks aloud where his mother is, and that he needs her to come back to him.
Back at the house, Beth is helping John into bed while he comments that Casey seems nice. When Beth returns to Casey and April in the living room, she finds the two marveling at the fact that StockGen had been destroyed. Beth says she and John were also shocked as they had worked for the company for a long time. April comments that she believed that illegal things were happening there, and specifically mentions the "ooze". Beth is silent, and leaves the room to make tea. She tells April and Casey that she has a lot of things to tell them regarding StockGen, and that it could be a long conversation with information that may or may not be important.
The issue ends back on Leo, who is still sitting out by the lake lost in thought. Alopex is secretly watching him from behind in the bushes.
Released January 22nd, 2014
Michelangelo is writing a letter to his friend Woody back in New York City. Mikey lets Woody know that he and his brothers found Leonardo and then had to go into hiding to get away from the Shredder. Mikey explains that even though they went out of town to get away from trouble, trouble found them in the form of Alopex, who stowed away with them to get away from the Foot Clan too, which she has renounced. Mikey expresses worry for Leo.
Leo sits beside a stream, wishing their mother would appear to him again. Unbeknownst to Leo, Alopex watches him from the shadows. Raphael sneaks up on Alopex and leads her away to question her about what she's doing there. Alopex tells him she was trying to thank Leo for standing up for her when the others discovered her, but Raph doesn't believe it. Alopex says she doesn't care if Raph believes her, because she knows what Leo has gone through, she knows what its like to have Shredder in your head, twisting your thoughts and emotions.
Mikey continues his letter to Woody, telling him about Splinter's injuries at the hand of Shredder. Donnie has been tending to Splinter, and says the cut has healed nicely but he'll have to keep a close eye on the fracture. But Mikey knows the Shredder hurt Splinter more by turning Leo against him. Donatello is frustrated that he can't do anything about the Technodrome problem while they're living in April's parents' barn, and no one else understands his worries.
Leo is still walking through the woods by himself, dealing with the lingering effects of the brainwashing. He hallucinates a spectral version of the Shredder in the trees, causing him to cry out. At that moment, the Turtles' mother Tang Shen appears to him and calms him. Shen walks with Leo to a peaceful garden, one she has taken him to before. Shen asks Leo if he's found what he had lost. Leo tells her that he has his family back, but he is still unfamiliar with them. She tells him to proceed slowly, and not to let himself get overwhelmed. She tells him she is needed elsewhere and she vanishes, causing Leo to wake up. Donnie is standing over him trying to rouse him, but Leo stays calm, no longer so jumpy as a result of the brainwashing.
At April O'Neil's parents' house, April's mother Beth tells April and Casey Jones that her father, John, was part of a top-secret project when he worked at StockGen. John spent years working with a healing compound nicknamed ooze, when he began to have second thoughts about the ethical implications of StockGen's work. Unfortunately, John then had a stroke, which put any thought of the ooze out of John and Beth's minds. Beth tells April she wishes she had kept her away from StockGen, but John's injury compensation and April's internship put her worries out of her mind. Beth retrieve's John's old laptop with all of his notes from his work at StockGen and gives it to April, telling her maybe she can make sense of it.
Back in the woods, Donnie tells Leo he was talking in his sleep, saying something about their mother and ghosts. Leo says it felt like he was really speaking to their mother, not just dreaming, and Donnie must think he's crazy for saying that. Donnie tells him that six months ago, he would have, but after what they've seen, he's not sure. Donnie concedes that maybe what they're going through really is the result of some type of cosmic fate or destiny. Leo tells him he just feels like he's stuck in place, treading water. Donnie assures him that it's just the after-effects of the brainwashing, and it'll pass. Donnie asks Leo to come back to the barn with him so he can bounce ideas about the Technodrome off him. This time it's Leo's turn to reassure Donnie, telling him that if he tackles the problem one step at a time he'll succeed.
In the barn, Shen now appears before Splinter, although to her he will always be her husband Hamato Yoshi. Splinter is embarrassed, asking her not to look at him in his new rodent form. She tells him that the true essence of an individual lies within. Splinter tells her that he is worried he is a failure, having let Shredder take their eldest son and turn him against them. Shen points out that Leo has been returned to them, and although he suffered at the hand of the Foot, there is a force that outweighs all darkness: love.
Mikey finishes up his letter to Woody, telling him that although they're all hurting pretty bad, Mikey has an idea to help speed up the healing process. Mikey builds a campfire and begins roasting hot dogs, and Splinter and his brothers join him. Even Alopex is invited to sit with them.
Released February 26th, 2014
Donatello and Casey are rebuilding a motorcycle and debating the merits of sabermetrics. Don thanks Casey for helping him, and Casey tells him it's no big deal, since it got him out of going to the library with April O'Neil. Casey tells Don that April's father John used to work at StockGen. Don laughs and thinks about his and Leo's conversation the other day about fate and destiny.
In the woods, Raphael is practicing tai chi when Alopex approaches him, saying she didn't figure he was the tai chi type. Raph takes a dig at her, asking her if tai chi isn't violent enough for the Foot. She tells him she was never in the Foot Clan for the violence, she just wanted to feel like she belonged somewhere. Alopex tells Raph how after she was mutated, she felt like a mix of two things that were never supposed to go together, like some kind of freak. She tells him how the Foot gave her a sense of belonging, like she had a family. Until she realized that she had a family, a real one, until the Shredder killed them. Raph sympathizes with her, telling her how after he was mutated he was on his own for a while, until he was finally reunited with his brothers and Master Splinter. Raph and Alopex share a rare moment of friendship, and then Alopex makes fun of Raph for practicing tai chi again. The two engage in a friendly sparring match.
Leonardo sits besides a pond and examines his katanas. He thinks back to when he and Raph fought while he was still under the influence of the Foot Clan's brainwashing. Leo begins training, until Splinter approaches and he pauses. Splinter asks him if he's heard that some people believe that a sword, once drawn, cannot be returned to its scabbard until it has tasted blood. Splinter explains that this is moreso a myth than any real creed, romanticized over the years. Yet, Splinter explains, all myths bloom from seeds of truth. Splinter tells Leo that a sword is merely an extension of the warrior who wields it, a tool, incapable of bloodlust, bloodlust being a human emotion. Leo asks what Splinter is getting at. Splinter tells him that the Shredder tried to make Leonardo his sword, and then deemed him a failure when he failed to draw blood. Splinter points out that a warrior's blade need not taste blood to be useful, and that Leo should not feel like a failure; it was the Shredder who failed. Leo doubts that Splinter really understands how he feels. Splinter tells him that there was once a time when he too felt the same way, but it was Tang Shen who helped him through it, who was pregnant at the time with the child who would be Leonardo's past human life. Splinter acknowledges that he knows Shen recently appeared to Leo to offer him guidance, much to Leo's surprise. Splinter tells Leo that he will not allow him to give up on himself, out of respect for Shen.
In the barn, Michelangelo is excited that Donnie and Casey have finished their work on the motorcycle. Mikey wants to take it for a test spin, but Don tells him that would blow their cover. Just then, April pulls up in her van and steps out to reveal a surprise—a new haircut!
As April and Casey drive up to April's parents' house, Casey asks her if she found anything out about StockGen. She tells him fire inspectors are looking into faulty wiring as a possible cause of the explosion, but she doubts it was anything like that. Casey asks what else is on her mind, as he can tell something is worrying her. April pulls out a vial of ooze which she brought with her to study, and with the help of her father's notes, she's figured it out. She says it's healing properties are near limitless, and even the tiny amount she has could heal any wound. She worries about how you decide what to use something so powerful on. Casey stops the van to tell her that she's overthinking things. He and Splinter are used to healing without the aid of magic ooze, and he knows who she's thought about using the ooze on, someone who could really use it—her father. Casey tells her that if she's sure its safe, she should use it to heal her dad. She tells him she cross-referenced the code on the vial with her father's notes and is sure its simply the healing ooze, not mutagen. April wonders how to give the ooze to her dad without telling him about it, which would lead to a lot of questions she can't answer without revealing the existence of Splinter and the Turtles.
In the barn, Splinter, Raphael, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Alopex are talking and eating sandwiches. Mikey wonders if its good or bad that StockGen is gone. Donnie says either way, its a shame that they've lost a link to their past, but in any case their main focus has got to be the Technodrome. Splinter uses this opportunity to tell his sons that before their fight with Shredder and the Foot, he infiltrated StockGen on behalf of Old Hob, to fulfill the favor he owed him by procurring some mutagen. Splinter and the Turtles guess correctly that StockGen's destruction was the work of Hob and Slash. At that moment, Koya and four Foot Clan assassins crash through the roof of the barn, interrupting their conversation. As Splinter, Don, and Mikey engage the Foot attackers, Raph notices that Alopex has slipped away, and immediately assumes that she conned them all and lead the Foot there to kill them. While Don and Mikey are occupied by the Foot assassins, Splinter battles Koya but is slowly overwhelmed. Koya asks Splinter if he is ready for the slaughter when Leo arrives and says, "That's funny, bird, I was gonna ask you the same thing."
Released March 12th, 2014
Leonardo demands that Koya and the Foot assassins leave immediately. Koya tells Leo that Master Shredder sends his regards; Leo retorts that Shredder is her master, not his, and lunges at her. Splinter, Donatello, and Michelangelo are overjoyed to have Leo back to normal once again. With Leo at their side they are able to make some headway against their attackers, until one of the Foot assassins drops a grenade.
Outside the barn, Raphael is still furious with Alopex as he thinks she informed the Foot of their location. Raph is knocked down by the force of the grenade explosion destroying one of the walls of the barn. One of the Foot assassins is about to strike him as he is still stunned but Alopex attacks quicker, saving Raph.
Inside April O'Neil's parents' house, April, Casey Jones, and April's parents John, and Beth sit around the kitchen table drinking coffee. Beth asks April why she's been so quiet since she got back from the library; April begins to tell her mom about the ooze she stole from StockGen when they are distracted by the explosion in the barn. April, Casey, and Beth head over to investigate.
With Raphael's help, he, Don, and Mikey defeat the three Foot assassins. Leo and Splinter however, are nearly defeated by Koya, so Raph steps in to attack her. The two crash through the wall of the barn right in front of April's van where April, Casey, and Beth have just pulled up. Koya remarks that Raphael is strong, but notes that even the strong have weaknesses, lunging towards Beth as she says so. Luckily Michelangelo drives the restored motorcycle straight into Koya before she can attack April's mother. As Koya lies on the ground, she urges Leo to finish her off, proving who he really is. He says he won't kill her, but she can still die if she wants. He nicks her aorta with a shuriken, forcing her to flee to get medical attention or bleed to death. She leaves with the assassins, claiming she will find the Turtles again. Splinter tells April that they must leave immediately as the place is no longer safe. Beth is in shock from seeing mutants battling in her barn. April tells her mom that her suspicions about StockGen were right. She gives her mom the vial of ooze and fills her in. She tells her mom that she and her dad need to get out of town for a while and the two say goodbye.
In April's van, Casey reassures April that she did the right thing. Splinter says he is proud of everyone's actions, and that their recently renewed familial bond marks the time for them to stop running from the Shredder and return to New York City. From a treebranch up above, Alopex watches them leave.
Inside April's parents' house, Beth fixes John a cup of tea. She tells him that they have to head to New York City right away to protect April. She slips the ooze into John's tea and gives it to him. As he takes a sip he is initially alarmed by the strange sensation that washes over him but his panic quickly turns to joy as he realizes his body has been completely restores and he stands up.