- Raphael's death in "The Last Ronin" led to the creation of Splinter's Strikers, an army that significantly increased Splinter's Hamato Clan membership.
- The truce between the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the Purple Dragons, facilitated by Splinter, saved April O'Neil's life and allowed her to give birth to the next generation of TMNT.
- The inclusion of Splinter's Strikers and the continuation of the TMNT legacy would not have been possible without the tragic demise of Raphael.
Warning! This article contains spoilers for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin - The Lost Day Special While Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fans may understandably assume that the death of one of the original Turtles (in this case, Raphael) would only create a decrease in Splinter’s Hamato Clan membership, that wasn’t the case in The Last Ronin timeline. In fact, Splinter’s clan membership exploded after Raphael’s demise, as that’s when Hamato Yoshi created the brutal kill-squad, ‘Splinter’s Strikers’.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin chronicles the tragic final chapters of the TMNT, including and especially Michelangelo as he takes the role of the Last Ronin following the deaths of his brothers, friends, and father. In the original five-issue story arc, the greatest fallout from the deaths of most of the original Turtles was that the new Shredder, Oroku Hiroto, and his Foot Clan didn’t get all of them, leading to the villain’s ultimate downfall by the hand of Michelangelo. However, as the story is currently expanding and the chain of events within this separate reality in TMNT’s ever-growing multiverse is becoming more clear, it seems the unparalleled wrath of Michelangelo as the Last Ronin wasn’t the only thing that happened once the original Turtle brothers started to fall. After Raphael was killed, Splinter quickly joined with the one-time enemy of the TMNT, a street gang called the Purple Dragons, who were trained by the ninja master to become the aforementioned Splinter’s Strikers.
TMNT’s Splinter Turned The Purple Dragons Into Splinter’s Strikers
In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin - The Lost Day Special by Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz, Ben Bishop, Esau and Isaac Escorza, and Freddie E. Williams II, readers follow April O’Neil years after the events of the original Last Ronin, as she runs a few errands with her grandchildren Yi, Uno, Moja, and Odyn. In this borderline post-apocalyptic future, those errands are a bit more dangerous than they would have been in the modern time, as everything they need to survive is traded on the black market, meaning most goods and necessities are guarded by criminal syndicates. One such syndicate is the Purple Dragons, and while they reverted to being enemies of the TMNT, April’s dealings with them in this issue made her think back to a time when they fought side-by-side. When the TMNT fought against the Shredder and his Foot Clan - a fight that resulted in Raphael’s death - the Ninja Turtles realized they couldn’t beat him alone, and Splinter convinced the Purple Dragons of the same. So, they came to a truce, and while it clearly didn’t last, that truce was actually more significant to TMNT lore than many fans might realize.
Splinter’s Strikers Made TMNT’s Successors Possible
As revealed in one of April’s flashbacks in this issue, Splinter’s Strikers actually saved her life after she was believed to have been killed by the Foot Clan. This is immensely significant to the future of the franchise, as April was pregnant with Casey at the time, who would grow up to be the martial arts master for the next generation of TMNT: Yi, Uno, Odyn, and Moja. Not only that, but April effectively gave life to the new Turtles. So (for more reasons than one), if Splinter’s Strikers didn’t save her, then the new four Turtles might have never come to be, meaning the TMNT legacy would have died with the original four, and fans would have been robbed of seeing these new heroic Turtles cleaning up the city the same way as their predecessors.
So, not only did the truce with the Purple Dragons make the membership for Splinter’s Hamato Clan absolutely explode with the inclusion of an entire army that would become known as ‘Splinter’s Strikers’, this truce was, in fact, necessary for the continuation of stories within this fan-favorite corner of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles multiverse - and it was only possible by the tragic demise of Raphael.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin - The Lost Day Special by IDW Publishing is available now.