The Rat King
Biographical information

abandoned industrial park in Massachusetts




The Monster, The Ghost

Weapon(s) of choice

Rat Armies, Pipe


Rodent Overlord


Rats, The Pantheon

Physical description





6ft 7in


310 Pounds

Hair color


Bandana color


Eye color


Out of universe information



Mirage Studios

First appearance

I, Monster


I, Monster
(revealed in City at War, part 10)

Created by

Jim Lawson
Kevin Eastman
Peter Laird

Teachers and Students



Some TMNT stuff was always meant for grownups.

The Rat King made his first appearance in Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #4 as the story's main antagonist. After residing in a swamp for several months, the Rat King (who remains unnamed until the end of the issue) decides to venture into a nearby abandoned industrial park and use it as a shelter against the oncoming winter. There, the Rat King happens upon the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and their friend Casey Jones, who had come to the industrial park to train. Believing the Turtles and Casey to be other "monsters" who wish to take his territory, the Rat King proceeds to stalk them throughout the park, even capturing Michelangelo and leaving him to be devoured by the rats (Michelangelo later escapes). The Rat King is eventually defeated by Leonardo who, in a duel with the Rat King, flings several shuriken at him, which impale the Rat King and knock him off balance, sending him plummeting into the bowels of a silo.

In the multi-part storyline City at War, the Rat King appears in a major role. After entering the silo where Leonardo defeated the Rat King, Splinter falls into a pit and injures his leg; left helpless, Splinter is found by the Rat King, who converses with him multiple times throughout the story-arc, often debating philosophically with him and giving him cryptic advice. But as Splinter begins to starve from lack of food, the Rat King appears again and tells him to devour one of the live rats to regain his strength; otherwise, the rats will eventually eat Splinter instead. Splinter refuses, because this is cannibalism. But the Rat King takes the form of a rat demon, taunting Splinter with the prospect of being eaten by him. Splinter finally breaks down and does the unthinkable, killing and eating a live rat. The Rat King tells Splinter that breaking this taboo has allowed Splinter to "find what he was looking for," and that the Rat King has been waiting for Splinter to come to him for some time. Two months later, after the Rat King stops appearing to him, Splinter recovers enough of his strength to climb out of the silo. Splinter then discovers, much to his shock, the long-dead corpse of the Rat King buried under rubble, his limbs twisted and several shuriken embedded in his remains, indicating that he had already been dead all along, and that whoever Splinter thought he was talking to could not have been a living person.

After several years of absence, the Rat King (in ghost form) reappears in a brief cameo appearance in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Vol. 4, watching as Splinter's doppelgänger succumbs to a heart attack and dies while retrieving milk from a refrigerator. Much of the Rat King's origin is later revealed in an issue of Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Vol. 2, The Pantheon; the story reveals that a group of beings known as the Pantheon exists, with each member of the group having jurisdiction over a species of animal. When the Pantheon member who rules the rats time reaches an end, a new one is chosen, a scarred and heavily bandaged (explaining the Rat King's appearance) patient at a hospital. Becoming the Rat King, the man challenges this same Splinter to a battle, which he loses after a long fight. With the Rat King defeated, Splinter is offered to take his place in the Pantheon, which he refuses. Accepting Splinter's decision, the Pantheon and Rat King leave, though not before stating that Splinter will be offered membership in the Pantheon one more time, at the moment of his death.


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