It’s a dark day for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, as one of the heroes in a half-shell met their end in the latest issue of the franchise’s comic book.
Spoilers for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #44
This week’s issue, “Attack on Technodrome, Part 4,” includes a battle that leads to the death of Donatello at the hands of Shredder’s lackies Bebop and Rocksteady.
Donatello was separated from the other Turtles, running point from their home base as Michaelangelo, Leonardo, and Raphael went out into the field to fight Krang. Bebop and Rocksteady, on orders to kill Donatello should the plan run into problems, take on the solitary Turtle and eventually defeat him.
IGN has the final page, where the Turtles and the others return home to find Donatello on the ground, Splinter cradling his head as the rest weep around his body.
The comic was written by Tom Waltz and TMNT‘s original co-creator Kevin Eastman who have returned the franchise to its original dark roots. While many fans may know the series for the goofier and lighter films and multiple animated TV shows, TMNT started out as a brutally dark comic in the 1980s.
Co-creators Eastman and Peter Laird originally produced a gruesome franchise that in many ways parodied the dark nature of many comics around the time. The Turtles gained popularity in their lighter incarnations, but the recent version of the comic book has returned the group to its more ominous roots.
Now, this is a comic book, so whether Donatello is actually dead—or for that matter, remains dead without being revived—certainly remains a question. And this of course won’t mean Donatello suddenly disappears in other versions of the franchise, like in the ongoing Nickelodeon animated show. But it’s a huge moment in the comics, and, whether Donatello’s fate remains as it is now, this will likely be a huge creative and emotional shakeup for the series going forward.
But, at least for the foreseeable future, rest in peace, Donatello.