Wow. If you've not been keeping up with IDW's excellent Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic by Tom Waltz and Kevin Eastman, you might have just missed out on a jaw-dropping turn of events for everyone's favorite mutant animal ninjas. Be warned: major spoilers beyond the cut!
Seriously, if you're not up to date with the series or don't want to find out what happened, turn back now.
Waltz and Eastman's run on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has been defined by its drawing back to the characters original, darker roots in the comics, rather than the goofy, pizza-loving overtones of the classic cartoon — but the 44th issue, out yesterday, ended on a game-changing turn of events that certainly delivers on the darkness.
Donatello is dead. And not just dead dead, he literally got his shell smashed in by Bebop and Rocksteady. WHAT THE WHAT.
To catch you up if you've not been following along, the turtles left Donatello behind to support them from their base as they tried to stop Krang from terraforming the world with an alien device. Bebop and Rocksteady, assaulted the base, and although the lone turtle put up a fight, it unfortunately ended gruesomely for Donatello: Rocksteady landing the killing blow, shattering the turtle's shell wide open.
Jesus H. Christ. This is not your childhood Ninja Turtles! Well, unless your childhood Ninja Turtles was the original Kevin Eastman/Peter Laird comics, but even then, JESUS H. CHRIST.
Now of course, death is perhaps more fluid in the world of comic books, and lets be honest, it's not the first time something hugely messed up has happened to one of the four turtles in their long comic history, but still, a scene like this is shocking and heartbreaking:
Who knows whether Donatello will miraculously survive his fatal wound at some time down the line, but even if he does, for now there are only three Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
You hear that? That's the sound of roughly a million childhood innocences shattering into pieces. Great work, TMNT. I mean, good lord, but still, great work.