Some TMNT stuff was always meant for grownups.
The end is nigh... twenty-one years in the making, the final three issues of Gary Carlson and Frank Fosco's legendary TMNT run are here!
Who is the Lady Shredder? The Turtles believe they've found the answer in Karai, but it soon becomes apparent that not all is as it seems. With Master Splinter on his deathbed and Warlord Komodo knocking at their door, what are they supposed to do now?!
Appearing in #24
- Dr. X
- Karai (debut)
- Lady Shredder
- Shadow Jones
Aiming to determine the identity of the Lady Shredder, Leonardo, Raphael, and Pimiko head to find Karai, who Leo suspects of being behind the armor. Not only did Lady Shredder know who he was, but Raph had been told Karai is no longer in charge of the Foot Ninja and Leo had Don track her down - she's been in New York City for three months, living in the same building that they first met Karai. Raph protests that the Foot don't even own the building anymore as he sold it, but Leo says he sold it to a shell corporation owned by Karai.
Leo drops down off the roof with a rope, but Pimiko and Raph are confronted by a group of Foot Ninja on the roof. The two face the Foot, with Pimiko shouting "Cowabunga!", much to Raph's ire.
Leo crashes through Karai's window, and finds her sitting in the dark. She had been expecting he and his brothers to find her for a while. It turns out Karai's daughter Amai, who was thought to have been killed during the events of City at War, only suffered brain death and Karai had left the Foot in order to care for her. Karai also takes offense that Leo thought she was the Lady Shredder, saying she wants nothing to do with that name or the New York Foot ever again.
Meanwhile, Shadow sees that April has made it onto the Oprah Winfrey Show. Oprah interviews her about "her" book, Rose Among the Thorns, which April claimed to have written under the pen name Michelangelo after her uncle Michael and aunt Angel. Dr. X asks Michelangelo why April is taking credit for his work, and Mike says that he couldn't possibly do a book tour and April needs the money, anyway, in addition to the fact that nobody would buy a romance novel written by someone who looks like him. Shadow tries to cheer him up by telling him that she loves him, but then notices that the cybernetic pieces are starting to fall off of Donatello. She picks up a part and it starts melding with her, as she shouts that it's biting her.
On the Astral Plane, Don has finally located Splinter, but he has been corrupted by the Foot Clan's Cheng. He has been siphoning off Splinter's strength in the Astral Plane and there seems to be nothing Don can do about it.
Mike tries to pry the cybernetic parasite off of Shadow, and he notices a piece is also going after the comatose Splinter. Dr. X fires off an electromagnetic pulse, which not only stops it from progressing, but also shuts down his exoskeleton. Don wakes up rooted to the floor, as the EMP has also taken out the armor attached to him.
Back at Karai's hideout, Pimiko and Raph finally enter and Pimiko insists Karai is lying to Leo. Karai mocks that the unloved bastard of Oroku Saki is so desperate to continue his legacy. Pimiko angrily insists she just wants the armor as she points a katana at Karai. Karai, all from her sitting position, backhands Pimiko and knocks the sword from her hand, flipping it up and over to turn it on her. As she hands the kunoichi back her katana, she says if she won't listen to her, maybe she'll listen to someone she's most of her life.
Go-Komodo and the Lady Shredder step out of the shadows, the former proclaiming that Pimiko's mother, Kujikiri, was his sister, and that as the Headhunter, she left his kunoichi troupe and became an assassin for hire. A job which required her to take out Oroku Saki lead to her having a secret tryst with him, which left her pregnant with Pimiko. She was abandoned by Kujikiri and raised by her uncle Komodo, and is just now telling her all this because she had been as "ungrateful" as her mother.
Komodo attacks Pimiko, and Leo attempts to intervene, but he is stopped by the Lady Shredder. She mocks him for still not figuring out who she is, but it finally dawns on him when she morphs her hand into a hammer - there IS nobody in the armor... she IS the armor! The rogue nanotechnology armor that left Donatello and flown off with Lurch had gained its own AI. She turns her arms into guns, ready to fire on Leo as Pimiko and Komodo still fight.
Raph susses out that Karai's been the one wiping out the Foot Clan in New York, due to how they almost killed Amai and then tried to kill her as well. Raph argues that they could have worked something out, but she points out that as soon as the Japanese branch came calling, they sold him out anyway. Raph tries to argue that he suspects Cheng was the cause of that with Karai stating that he no longer has to worry about Cheng.
As Mike sits down to dinner, he sees Shadow with a metal hand, thinking it's the cybernetics trying to infect her again. She points out that it's Leonardo's prosthetic hand from before he decided to go with the katana cap, and she put it on so that she'd be protected in case it attacked again. Don meanwhile is trying to reboot the armor, but it just keeps falling off. Dr. X says that it's still as alive as ever, and it he's actually been healing underneath it all and that the armor may have been hindering his recovery on purpose. Just then, Shadow smacks Don in the head with the prosthetic hand. Mike tells her Don isn't going to hurt her, but she says she attacked because, as she points out, it's "biting" Dr. X.
- This issue's cover has some differences, but seems to deliberately homage the cover of the unofficial Image TMNT #24 that was published years earlier.
- Karai's daughter is given a name, Amai, and is shown to have actually survived the events of City at War, albeit on life support. She is never brought up again after her death in the original Mirage continuity, and since Karai stays with the Foot in the Mirage continuity rather than quitting to care for her, it's unlikely she shares the same fate as her Image counterpart.