The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles just got a glimpse of the worst future they have ever faced, thanks to a time-traveler with a very familiar face.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #113 by Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz, Sophie Campbell, Ronda Pattison, and Shawn Lee, on sale now.
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been facing hard times in Mutant Town. Aside from the budding political movement that’s brewing amongst a state of unrest in the community, the Turtles have found themselves acting as parental figures to some of the borough’s youngest mutants, training them to protect themselves as well as teaching them how to be good people amidst the chaotic environment.
The work they’re doing now gives them hope for the future, but that peace of mind is about to be shattered when Lita, one of their students, comes home from a future that is worse than anything they’ve ever seen in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #113 with a dire warning.
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While Michelangelo appears on a local news radio show to discuss the various issues facing Mutant Town as a community, the other Turtles are getting ready for the evening’s class, including young Lita. Not long after the lesson is finished, Michelangelo shows up, apologizing for his tardiness, just as a much older Lita does the exact same. While Jennika is understandably suspicious, Donatello recognizes the Time Scepter on her back from the Turtles’ previous time-traveling adventures, and they quickly agree that Lita is exactly who she says she is. Of course, anyone coming from the future rarely has good news, but the news has rarely been as bad as what Lita has come from.
She tells the Turtles that she’s come from the year 2040, eight years after the entirety of New York City became mutants. As she tells it, the Splinter and Foot Clans went to war over the newly dubbed Mutant City, each of them putting aside anything else in their lives to focus on the battle at hand. When Karai is killed, the Foot Clan makes a direct attack on the Turtles’ dojo, leaving the team shattered completely. Donatello is turned into a War-Cyborg a literal killing machine after receiving cybernetic enhancements while Raphael turns to solo work as a mercenary bounty hunter. Jennika herself returns to a life of crime, lording over the underworld of Mutant City, and Michelangelo leaves to expose the secrets behind the Turtles’ lives together as a famed journalist, and Leonardo seemingly falls off the face of the Earth.
When everyone else on their side of the fight is killed off, Lita is found by the benevolent Timestress Renet, who takes the young mutant under her wing.
It sounds exactly like the kind of horrible future that any of the Turtles would risk themselves to try and prevent, but it also sounds much worse than even the bleak future presented in the pages of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin. In this other dark, alternate timeline, Manhattan has become a fortress island surrounded by toxic waters and crawling with the Foot Clan’s cybernetically enhance ninja police force. Even with the rest of the Turtles dead and gone, save for the Last Ronin himself, there is a glimmer of hope in the form of an underground resistance hidden just out of the Foot Clan’s sight.
The world of The Last Ronin might not sound great on its own, but it’s still better than being forced to rewrite time itself for any chance of survival. In that timeline, many of the Ninja Turtles appear to have simply died. But in Lita’s timeline, all of the Ninja Turtles betrayed who they were in deeply personal ways. And to save the Splinter Clan’s future, the Turtles will have to follow through and heed Lita’s dire warnings about what tomorrow will bring.
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