The Ninja Turtles are one of the most iconic superhero groups in the comic book world. The idea of four anthropomorphic mutant bipedal turtles that live in the sewers and have Ninja Skills sounded very absurd and ridiculous when the first TMNT comic was published way back in 1984 by Mirage Studios. Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, and Michelangelo patrolled the city at night and protected the innocents from the Scourge of Evil. Their adventures are legendary. They have established themselves as a flagship quartet of the comic book world, having tons of movies, TV Shows and Video Games to their name.
But how many of you know that there is an actual fifth ninja turtle within the TMNT Universe? No we are not talking about the time April was morphed into a turtle, Venus or even Jennika here. There is a secret fifth ninja turtle, brother to the original four shelled warriors. His name is Slash. And rumor has it that he is making an official return to the franchise as the permanent fifth member of the TMNT squad.
Let’s dive into some history. Who is Slash? Where did he come from? Where was he all these years? Is he a friend or foe? Fandom Wire is going to give you some juicy details.
Slash was introduced first into the Mirage Studios Universe via an animated debut. In the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated show, it is revealed that Slash once used to be the pet turtle of Bepop and Rocksteady, Shredder’s henchmen. Bepop and Rocksteady used to pour mutagenic substances all over the poor turtle, which was a victim of pet abuse. As a result, Slash grew up to be prone to violence and was mentally unstable all the time. He would go into fits of rage the moment he could not find his small toy tree called Blinky, the same plastic tree he used to live under when he was a simple four legged.
Blinky was the pride of Slash. He would go to any lengths to protect it. Once when Bepop lost the toy tree in New York City, Slash decided to venture out into the suburbs and look for it. He left a trail of damage and destruction wherever he went. The good name of the Ninja Turtles was being dragged through the mud. The Turtles needed to find this impostor who was the reason of all the bad-mouthing. But when they finally encountered him, Slash gave the four turtles a run for their money. Slash has a build that surpasses all the other turtles’. He is armored and armed up to the teeth. He is also a very good fighter, relying on his greatest strength in combat – his brutish strength.
Archie Comics would then pick up where the series left. Slash was introduced to the comic book world because of his rise in popularity among the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fans. They also made some pretty neat character changes to Slash.
While the Cartoon’s continuity was originally followed by Archie Comics, they deviated from that line after a while. Slash was no longer a mutated turtle under Bepop and Rocksteady’s care. He was an alien warrior who was born in another planet. Slash had his chance to visit Earth while tagging along with Krang, the inter-stellar warlord. The Planet he belonged to was called Blinky, and that was the massive ret-con in his initial animated origin story that Archie Comics made.
Slash would change sides and join the Mighty Mutanimals, a spin-off superhero group that had a pretty good run within the TMNT Universe. Then the team was killed by Null, leaving Slash as the sole survivor. Slash vowed revenge against Null and joined forces with the Earth’s Ninja Turtles. He would switch between teaming up with the Ninja Turtles of the Present as well as the Future (another TMNT group had time traveled back to the past to beat Null). Slash would commit the greatest sacrifice of all when he gave up his life to defeat Null, saving his Ninja Turtle pals from their doom.
Slash did not make a return in the acclaimed 2003 animated series. Some fans were disgruntled because the 2003 series changed a lot of the original source material. So in the 2012 TMNT animated show, Slash made a comeback along with several elements from the original comic book issues.
Slash is introduced as a pet turtle named Spike living in a small tank. But this time, he is the pet of Raphael, the angry and rebellious Ninja Turtle. Slash would hear his master rant how his brothers always belittle and demean his opinions. Those complaints would affect Slash psychologically. When a Mutagen accident leads to Slash mutating and becoming a humanoid, Slash makes it his life mission to take down Donatello, Leonardo, and Michelangelo. Slash thinks they are holding Raphael back. He even agrees to partner up with Raphael and help him gain the glory that he deserves.
Raphael would turn against Slash for trying to hurt his brothers. Slash then teamed up with Newtralizer to defeat Krang. He later switched sides after realizing the error of his ways and became a good guy. Slash would then go on to start the show’s version of the Mighty Mutanimals.
Slash’s most recent iteration come forth in the TMNT reboot by IDW Comics. Slash was the result of an experiment gone wrong by Stock-Gen. After April frees him, Slash goes on a rampage across New York, eventually meeting the turtles. Since he is a mutated snapping turtle, Slash’s primary role was to hunt down the turtles. He was a powerful foe but was mentally unstable because of his large size.
Slash would form a kinship with Michelangelo, and later team up with the Mutant Cat Old Hob. He eventually gained intelligence and became an anti-hero of sorts and the secret fifth teenage mutant ninja turtle.
Pretty amazing roller-coaster ride right? Can’t wait to see if Slash does become the official fifth turtle!!