Warning! Spoilers for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #2 below
The most shocking change in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin is without question Michelangelo’s transformation into a killer, hellbent on getting revenge for his fallen brothers and family as the final turtle standing. However, while Michelangelo – usually the most lighthearted of the turtles – might seem like an odd pick to become the Last Ronin, he’s actually the perfect choice.
In Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s new series, Michelangelo has become the Last Ronin, after the Foot Clan and Oroku Hiroto (and his family) are responsible for the deaths of his brothers. Raphael went out in a blaze of glory after finding out Splinter had been stabbed, while the deaths of Donatello and Leonardo haven’t been shown yet. Michelangelo, considered as the joke-making “party dude” in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles more light-hearted adventures, has been shown to be suicidal while trying to find answers for his fallen family. He’s teamed up with April O’Neil and Casey Marie Jones to fulfill his destiny and takedown Oroku.
Michelangelo is the perfect choice as the Last Ronin because he’s not who readers would expect to survive and become a killer in a dark future without his brothers. Leonardo is a natural leader, who’s arguably the best fighter in the group. Meanwhile, Raphael is hot-headed and isn’t afraid to get dirty to complete his tasks. Donatello might be the other surprising candidate, as he’s a brilliant inventor and tech guru who often helps his brothers behind the scenes more than he does in hand-to-hand combat.
Choosing Michelangelo, who’s the less serious turtle personality-wise in the group completely subverts readers’ expectations of how the character has previously been portrayed. He’s become hardened by the significant trauma and tragedy surrounding him. Michelangelo doesn’t have time to crack jokes as he previously would, as he’s focused on training and getting revenge for his brothers. It’s a complete 180 for the character, which further shows how dark things have truly gotten.
It would have been much easier for Eastman and Laird to plug in Raphael or Leonardo as the Last Ronin, as their previous experience and personalities are much better suited to become the killer. However, by picking Michelangelo, they can really tell a story about how grief and death can transform a person. He’s turned into the Last Ronin because of what’s happened to him and how far he’s been pushed into darkness. It’s extremely sad and tragic. But, in terms of storytelling, choosing Michelangelo as the Last Ronin was a perfect choice. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #2 is in stores now.