TMNTU Vol. 1 TPB Cover by Freddie Williams II

Some TMNT stuff really isn't for little kids.

The War to Come is the first story arc in IDW Publishing's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe comic series. The story details the Turtles' first encounter with a villain new to the IDW continuity, Madame Null, which prompts them to have to team-up with unlikely allies.


Part One - Issue #1

Released on August 31st, 2016

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A military transport vehicle speeds through an industrial part of Queens. Surveillance drones fly out of the top of the vehicle as they begin tracking a mysterious new mutant. Inside the vehicle, Agent Bishop of the Earth Protection Force speaks to Detective Kara Lewis of the NYPD, telling her of his belief that the arrival of aliens and mutants on earth constitutes the start of a war against humanity, and he has made it his duty to put a stop to them. Colonel Knight informs Bishop that the drones have a lock on the mutant, several blocks away. Bishop orders his men to begin closing in but to maintain a safe distance until they have determined where the mutant is headed. The scorpion mutant climbs onto the roof of a T.C.R.I. laboratory building.

Atop a nearby building, Donnie and Mikey compare the advantages of their respective weapons. Leo tells Raph that it feels good to be back out on patrol, the four of them together. Donnie states that the weapon itself is less important than the mind of the one who wields it, then he accidentally hits himself in the face with Mikey’s nunchucks. Raph tells the two of them to quit fooling around. While the Turtles remind themselves of the purpose of their mission (to provide back-up for their friend April O’Neil while she attempts to meet with Baxter Stockman and negotiate a truce), the scorpion mutant covertly makes her way into the T.C.R.I. building through a ventilation shaft. Mikey manages to notice the EPF drone that follows the mutant into the building and points it out to his brothers.

Inside the T.C.R.I. building, the scorpion mutant calls her boss to inform her that she’s made it inside and is accessing the information. On the other end of the line back, Madam Null tells the mutant that she’s done good work. As the information finishes downloading, a guard appears in the doorway and orders the mutant to stand down. The mutant lashes out with her scorpion tail, impaling the guard in the chest.

In another room, April speaks with Dr. Stockman, telling him that while he may have scraped by in his encounters against the Foot Clan and General Krang, there are new threats rising that he has no knowledge of. Unaware that April had known about his dealings with Shredder, the Foot, and Krang, Stockman demands to know how April knows these things, brandishing a stapler at her. Stockman tells her that he doesn’t need flyborgs or M.O.U.S.E.R.s to prevent her from leaving the building. Just then, the security alarm goes off and the two look around in shock.

Somewhere upstairs, the Turtles fight the EPF surveillance drone, dodging its laser blasts. Through its live camera, Colonel Knight and Agent Bishop see that they’ve stumbled upon the Turtles. Detective Lewis states that she’s surprised there is more than one, as she’d previously encountered Mikey (see the Michelangelo one-shot). Bishop is surprised that someone else is familiar with the mutant epidemic and Lewis tells him that this is the reason she was made the NYPD liaison to the EPF. The Turtles manage to destroy the drone and head down the hallway, where they walk right into the room where the scorpion mutant has killed several more security guards.

Stunned by the sight of all the dead bodies, the Turtles quickly try to see if April or Stockman are among them. Mikey asks the scorpion mutant why she killed them all when she could’ve just incapacitated them and she tells him that she wanted to ensure her own survival. The scorpion mutant quickly spies the other Turtles trying to surround her and evades them, running out of the room. The scorpion mutant dodges several shuriken but Mikey is able to tackle her, allowing his brothers to catch up and attempt to help him subdue her. The scorpion mutant is able to throw off all their attacks and manages to grab Donnie in a chokehold. Raph, seeing this, barrels into the mutant and the two crash through a window and fall to the ground outside the building, now surrounded by Agent Bishop and the EPF. The remaining Turtles leap out after their brother.

Colonel Knight orders his men to form a perimeter but not to attack, and Bishop states that the mutants are not to be allowed to escape. The EPF forces quickly hit the mutants with a sonic cannon, disorienting them, and then begin trying to take them all down with tranquilizer darts. Donnie urges his brothers to be careful and keep their shells towards the incoming fire. Raph tries to pursue the escaping scorpion mutant up the side of the building but she throws him off. As Donnie rushes to check on Raph, he’s hit in the neck by a tranquilizer. Leo orders them all to retreat back into the building. The Turtles enter through a door while the scorpion mutant climbs in through an upper-story window, right before the building’s security system locks the building down, metal shields sliding down over every way in or out. Bishop orders Knight to call for all of the remaining men to come in as reinforcements.

The three Turtles keep an eye on Donnie as the tranquilizer begins working and he falls unconscious. Upstairs, the scorpion mutant surveys the tools and supplies she brought with her, taking stock of what she can use to escape. April and Stockman, having activated the lockdown sequence, sit in a security control room. All three parties hear Agent Bishop issue an ultimatum over a PA system: surrender as prisoners of war, or be killed. The scorpion mutant picks up one of Leo’s fallen swords and begins searching the building for a way out. Stockman shows April his stockpile of various weapons and gadgets. Mikey asks Raph what they should do, and Raph says that he doesn’t know, because they have so many friends they need to protect but their enemies keep growing more powerful and numerous.

Part Two - Issue #2

Released on October 5th, 2016

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The Turtles quickly decide how to proceed in their current situation. Leo tells Raph to keep watch over Donnie while he and Mikey try to find April so they can all leave together. Raph expresses anger that April didn’t take a comm device with her like he’d suggested, even though Leo reminds him that she didn’t want anything that could give her away to Stockman.

Outside the building, the EPF begin planting charges to try and blow their way in. Detective Lewis orders a cordon around the area to prevent any bystanders from getting too close. Several other police officers ask her what’s going on and she tells them it’s a chemical leak, although no one is fooled. The EPF launch several perimeter defense orbs to begin flying around the building, searching for any breach points. Detective Lewis orders the other police to ignore the unusual activities taking place around them, threatening them with reassignment.

Agent Bishop asks Lewis if she can handle keeping her officers in line. She states that there will be rumors, but Bishop says he’s not worried about those because no one will believe them. Colonel Knight asks Bishop if it’s wise to proceed to the next stage of their plan, capturing the mutants, when their mission has gone so far off course. Sergeant Alex Winter tells Bishop that they could have caught the one mutant they were tracking, but the addition of four others plus two unidentified humans has caused severe complications. Bishop asks if they can find a way to contact the humans inside the building. The two humans in question, April and Baxter Stockman, are arming themselves in Stockman’s armory.

The Dark Water mercenaries breach the doors and radio Sargeant Winter to inform him. As they proceed into the building, their squad leader reminds them all to keep their distance. Raph drops a smoke grenade to conceal himself and begins attacking the men, knocking them out in turn. One of the men cries out, covered in blood, and Raph is surprised by what he has apparently done. The scorpion mutant reveals herself, also using the smoke as cover to attack the mercenaries with the sword she picked up earlier. The mutant tells Raph that if they agree to temporarily work together, they can probably all escape from the EPF.

Stockman, now wearing a type of exo-suit body armor, leaves the armory and searches for April, who has apparently given him the slip. Suddenly his phone rings and he answers it, demanding to know what is happening. Agent Bishop, on the other end of the line, is surprised that Stockman knows who is calling. Stockman explains that it is only logical that whoever called him is also the one responsible for the assault on his building, as all other communications had been blocked. Bishop explains that they are only trying to capture the five mutants inside the building, and Stockman agrees to do what he can to help. Bishop thanks Stockman and immediately hangs up. Bishop explains to Detective Lewis that Stockman was too eager to help, and that it is in Stockman’s nature to act in his own self-interest and double-cross anyone who may pose a threat. Bishop states that once the war is over and the tribunal begins, Stockman will be one of the first to answer for the crime of collaboration with the enemy. After Bishop leaves to take stock of his forces’ progress, Lewis asks Knight what kind of lunatic Bishop is. Knight explains that Bishop might be insane, but he is right about humanity being at war, and with the mutants in the building surrounded, it should only be a matter of time before the current battle is over.

Inside, Raph struggles against the Dark Water mercenaries while Leo and Mikey keep looking for April and Donnie sleeps off the tranquilizer, hidden away in an air duct. Near the stairway to the roof, the scorpion mutant surprises April. April is unnerved to see someone else wielding one of Leo’s swords, and the scorpion mutant lies and tell her that she killed him and took it from him. Just then Leo and Mikey appear on the landing but the scorpion mutant uses April’s momentary distraction caused by their arrival to escape to the roof. While Leo pursues the scorpion mutant, April asks Mikey who that was, but Mikey tells her that they don’t know anything yet.

The scorpion mutant leaps off the roof, trying to reach the adjacent building, but the perimeter defense orbs launched by Dark Water shock her when she gets too close, causing her to plummet to the ground below where she is set upon by more Dark Water mercenaries. Leo, taking stock from above, states that their plan should be to prevent as many casualties as possible and then figure out who sent the mutant and why the mercenaries are after them. Mikey rappels down to the ground with his grappling hook and interrupts the mercenaries who are tying up the scorpion mutant. She begins fighting the mercenaries again, urging Mikey to cut her loose so she can kill them. Inside the building, Raph is on the ropes, severely beaten down by the Dark Water mercenaries when Baxter Stockman comes to his aid, blasting the remaining mercenaries with a laser. Stockman secures the immediate area by destroying the stairs and tells Raph to come with him to find the others.

April, Stockman, the Turtles (Raph still carrying the unconscious Donnie) and the still restrained scorpion mutant make their way to the main security control room. While Stockman and April bring the computer console online, Leo, Raph, and Mikey discuss their current situation. The scorpion mutant, having eavesdropped, begins antagonizing them by pointing out the mistakes they’d made that night. When she touches a nerve, commenting that the Turtles’ actions will one day lead to one of them being killed, Raph loses his kill and punches her in the face. The scorpion mutant commends Raph on the quality punch and Raph takes her out into the hallway, telling Mikey to look away.

Part Three - Issue #3

Released on October 26th, 2016

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Donnie begins to wake up, overhearing Stockman muttering to himself that when the time is right, he’ll make his move. Outside the control room, Raph unties the scorpion mutant, who he blames for their current situation. The scorpion mutant introduces herself as Zodi and the two of them begin to brawl. Zodi throws Raph off with her tail but in retaliation he pins one of her hands to the floor with one of his sais, allowing Raph to land blow after blow until the other Turtles intervene. Donnie wakes up and stumbles out of the room, asking the others what’s going on. Mikey quickly fills in Donnie and Zodi makes more cutting remarks.

Sergeant Winter asks Colonel Knight how long it will be before their reinforcements show up, because Bishop is intent on continuing to send men into the building rather than wait.  Meanwhile, April, Leo, Donnie, and Zodi, who they have agreed to work with in order for them all to escape, begin examining the perimeter defense orbs. After lassoing one, the orb once again electrocutes Zodi, but the group finds that it will not target April. Inside the control room, Stockman tells Mikey not to push any buttons. Over the sound of Stockman and Mikey’s bickering, Raph hears some Dark Water mercenaries making their way up one of the elevator shafts and goes to head them off. Raph leaps down, striking at the mercenaries climbing up the elevator shaft. Mikey warns Raph that Stockman is about to activate the building’s security measures and Raph climbs back out at the last moment, before metal bars close the entryways to the elevator shaft and a laser grid comes online inside.

Atop the roof, Leo, Donnie, April, and Zodi iron out the details in the plan they’ve devised. April will leap to the next building since the drones won’t attack a human, sneak past the perimeter of mercenaries and police officers, and get to safety so she can figure out how to send help to the others. April readies herself and runs to the edge of the building, leaping into the air and towards the roof of the next building. Down below, one of the Dark Water mercenaries spies her and attempts to shoot her down, but Detective Lewis knocks into him, causing him to clip April in the arm. April barely manages to make it to the other building, but pulls herself up over the ledge and onto the roof. Bishop orders his men to go after her and he is forced to detain Detective Lewis who objects to the turn of events. Lewis tells Bishop that all his talk of collaborators and being at war is insanity but he tells her that humanity will thank him in the end.

On top of the roof, Raph gets mad at hearing that the others let April leap to the other building and get hurt in the process. Mikey tells Raph that he has to get over whatever is causing his bad attitude. Raph admits to his brothers that he’s been struggling to deal with the frenetic pace their lives have taken, and that he’s scared that if it keeps up, one of them may die. Mikey reassures Raph that everything will be okay if they stick together. Zodi tells the Turtles that they should take a look down below, where Bishop’s reinforcements have finally arrived, with more men, helicopters, and heavy-duty armored vehicles.

Part Four - Issue #4

Released on November 30th, 2016

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Zodi and the Turtles flee back into the building as the helicopters open fire on them. The mutants make it inside and Stockman activates the laser security grid in the roof access doorway, but before the mutants can even make it down more than one flight of stairs the Dark Water mercenaries blow a hole in the roof to make their way in. Zodi and the Turtles begin fighting their way out through the mercenaries but the Turtles urge Zodi not to kill any of them. Zodi instead uses Mikey as a shield and clears away for the group to make it to the next stairwell. The mutants make their way through a lab and encounter a heavy locked door, so they call out to Stockman who can hear them over the security system. Stockman thinks about how he has the perfect opportunity to recapture his old test subjects, but eyeing the armed mercenaries and dead guards all over the building, decides that he must continue to work with the Turtles to keep his options open.

As the mutants reach Stockman in the security room, the Dark Water mercenaries blast through the wall in a planned strategic maneuver and begin their attack on the mutants and their allies. Working together, Zodi, Stockman, and the Turtles manage to defeat the first wave of mercenaries. The second wave of Dark Water soldiers is about to move-in when a group of Nullbots arrive and begin attacking the mercenaries, meaning that April managed to make it to safety and reach out for help. Madame Null herself arrives outside to witness the destruction of the EPF and Dark Water’s forces at the hands of her Nullbots. Bishop orders Detective Lewis freed and orders his men to retreat.

The Turtles watch on the security camera feed as the EPF leave the scene. Stockman gets close to inspect a Nullbot but as he does so it lashes out and more Nullbots swarm to attack him. Zodi uses a voice command to call off the Nullbots. Stockman tells the mutants that he’s fed up with everything that’s happened this evening and tells them all to leave.

Zodi and the Turtles walk outside where Zodi introduces the Turtles to Madame Null. Null had agreed to help the Turtles escape in exchange for them allowing her to take some of Stockman’s tech. The Turtles decide it best to allow Stockman to think the Nullbots were sent out when Zodi didn’t check in, not because April brokered a deal with Null. Before she leaves, Mikey attempts to reach out to Zodi but she tells him that if they hadn’t been forced to work together she would have killed them if it would have let her escape.

On their ride back to base, Bishop and Knight discuss the fiasco that their mission turned into. Knight is upset that they lost so many men and threw away any advantages they had but Bishop tells Knight that he considers the evening a success, as they have seen what their enemies are capable of.

Back at the T.C.R.I. lab, April emerges from wreckage of the building and approaches Stockman, pretending she was hiding the whole time. Stockman finally realizes that there are indeed other threats that he is unaware of. Stockman agrees to work with April to rebuild his enterprises.

The Turtles make it back to their underground home. Raph begins talking to his brothers, apologizing for losing his cool because he was angry and scared, but when he looks up he realizes that they’ve all fallen asleep, exhausted from the events of the evening. Raph covers his brothers in blankets and starts working out his anger on the punching bag.