Captain America. Spider-Man. Superman. The list of heroes whose comic book deaths broke our hearts goes on and on and this week, another name was added to the list. While this character may not have been a “superhero”, per se, there is no doubt that his actions both on the page and on the big screen were heroic and selfless, and many comic book readers considered him a favorite of his group. After 30 years of being one of the heroes on a half shell, Donatello has been killed at the hands of Bebop and Rocksteady.
In this week’s issue of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Issue #44, Donatello was murdered by those mutant goons on the orders of Shredder.
How could such a thing happen? Well, writers Tom Waltz and Kevin Eastman have decided to take TMNT in a bit of a different direction by committing to provide a more grounded, gritty take on the series than the comic has provided audiences over the past few years. Not that grounded and gritty is new to the series, of course. Long time TMNT fans remember when Eastman’s black and white turtles fought their way through a much darker New York prior to gaining popularity through the 1987 cartoon series, which began the sugarcoating of the property. Nowadays, many fans of the property base much of their fandom on that cartoon series, so the loss of Donatello will no doubt come as a bit of a shock but after 30 years, it was about time to shock some people.
While this death may hurt a few people, it is important to remember that comic book deaths rarely stick. Even though the comic book pages appear to provide the entire story, chances are that Donatello will likely be brought back in some form or another, though it may take a bit of time.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles took the world by storm in the 80’s and while their impact on pop culture may have dwindled a bit once the 90’s said “farewell”, the franchise still remains very popular. If you want proof of this, just take a look at the 2014 big screen treatment, which managed to break over $485mil in the worldwide box office. Keep in mind, this was a movie that was almost a guaranteed flop – early screenings had audience members confused during the fight sequences, angry with the design of the turtles, and just sick of seeing Megan Fox on screen. However, once the movie was released, the negative press did nothing to stop the flock of theater goers. In fact, Empire State Development, a NY economic development company, announced just today that a sequel to the 2014 hit would begin filming in New York City and Buffalo beginning next month.
Are you upset with Donatello’s death? Do you think he will be back? If so, how do you think Eastman and Waltz will bring him back?