In the latest example of Western entertainment’s favorite way to score social media points while avoiding having to put any real effort into creating new characters, Boom! Studios and IDW’s have closed out their latest Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossover with the revelation that the four green-skinned brothers’ human identities have been race-swapped.
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Picking up six months after the conclusion of writer Ryan Parrott and artist Dan Mora’s previous Turtle-Toku team-up, the aptly named Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II sees the two teams reunite to take on the combined forces of both Krang and a powered-up Rita Repulsa now going by the moniker Mistress Vile.
Eventually fighting off the villains’ planned invasion of Earth through a combination of new Zords, new transformations, and stellar team-work, the series’ climactic battle eventually ends with the day saved and Rita and Krang locked away within the same kind of containers that once served as the former’s Moon-based prison.
As Angel Grove begins to pick up the pieces and rebuild in the aftermath of this latest attack, the two teams take a much needed respite at Ernie’s juice bar.
However, due to being unable to freely traverse the surface thanks to their reptilian appearance, the Turtles arrive to the festivities using holographic image generators to make them appear human à la Nightcrawler in the X-Men: Evolution animated series.
In doing so, the four are shown voluntarily taking on the guises of four black teenagers, replete with their signature masks being replaced with appropriately colored durags (save for Raphael, who instead sports his as a bandana).
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(As an aside, while a case could be made that this fact was revealed in the crossover’s first issue when Donatello and Michelangelo appeared in these forms to hang out with Zack, this final issue is the first time readers have received confirmation that their brothers shared their aesthetic choices.
Further, the fact that Donatello and Michelangelo ultimately return to these identities reinforces the read that their latest looks are their new standard.)
But hilariously enough, despite this design choice ostensibly being made in the name of progressivism, in doing so both Parrott and Mora have further revealed both how the media is ready and willing to throw any other demographic – and particularly Asians – under the bus in favor of black ‘representation’.
According to IDW’s own continuity as established in the fifth issue of their core Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles book – which notably was written in part by franchise co-creator Kevin Eastman – these versions of the Turtles are not merely mutated pets, but also the reincarnated sons of the Japanese ninja Hamato Yoshi – known better in his next life as Master Splinter – and his wife Tang Shen.
Raised as warriors by their father, the family would eventually be wiped out at the hands of Shredder (the villain’s later appearance in modern-day New York being the result of a magical resurrection) in retribution for Yoshi’s leaving the Foot Clan over a disagreement between the two over the former’s brutality.
And while some may argue that the Turtles’ race is solely ‘reptilian’, and thus their holographic disguises counts not as a race-swap but rather simply ‘giving the Turtles human forms’, the IDW series has seen the heroes not only being explicitly made aware of their heritage by their father:
But also being watched over by the spirit of their Japanese mother, who instantly and unequivocally recognizes them as her own:
All five issues of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II are now available in floppy format, while a collected trade is currently set to hit shelves on September 19th.
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