TMNT: Last Ronin is one of the edgiest and gritty Ninja Turtles comics to come out in a while. What makes it stand out among TMNT’s usual story flow is how dark it gets.
We follow the story of a now-hardened Michael Angelo, otherwise called Mikey. In this comic, every other member of the TMN, including Master Splinter, has been killed, and Mikey is now “The Last Ronin.”
The five-part miniseries gives us a never before seen version of Mikey as he goes through much turmoil and is forced to watch his family die around him.
One such death is that of Donatello, the third son of Master Splinter. Donatello and Splinter fight to the very death, and the heat of the battle seems to come right off the page. Probably one of the most intense sequences in this series.
Who Was Donatello?
Donatello is one of the four original members of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Donatello, fondly called Donnie, is one among the four adopted sons of Master Splinter. For those who grew up watching TMNT, this Bo staff-wielding turtle needs no introduction.
Donatello is usually portrayed as the smartest one among the four, always speaking in techno-babble. His affinity for science and technology was different from what his brothers shared.
However, this made him their most valuable member. With the purple eye band wrapped around his head, Donnie, the second-in-command of the TMNT, is a serious force to reckon with.
What Did Donatello Do?
Donatello, or Donnie, was the in-house genius of the Ninja Turtles. While Leonardo was revered for his leadership qualities, Raphael for his brute strength, and Mikey for his playfulness, Donatello was known to be a calculated genius. He is the calmest of his brother and would much rather solve things in peace than get into a fight. That being said, he did not run away from a fight once.
The Shell-raiser, the Party Wagon, and the Shell-cycle are all inventions of Donatello. He also creates many of the more advanced weapons used by the turtles. Donatello was essentially the Quartermaster of the TMNT. The only difference is that he too, could kick butt.
Where Did Donatello Live?
For most of their lives, Donatello, his three brothers, and his father all live in the sewers of New York City. After being exposed to radioactive ooze while still baby turtles, the four chosen ones were transformed into humanoid, mutated turtles with super strength and agility.
Due to their appearance, they could leave the sewers and use their abilities and learnings to fight the Foot Clan, an evil organization that aims to take over the world. New York ends up as a stronghold for the Foot Clan; therefore, Donatello and his brothers stay in the Big Apple to try staving off this global threat.
How & Why Did Donatello Die?
In one of the most heartbreaking sequences of the “Last Ronin,” we are taken to the past, where we see Master Shinichiro describe the scenario that led to the death of both Donatello and Master splinter. It starts with Master Shinicrio explaining the saddening events.
The Hamato clan and a few of its main heads are called to a secure location to meet with the Hiroto clan to discuss peace terms and finally end the century-long war between the two clans. It quickly becomes evident that a level of treachery is involved, and it turns out that Oroku Hiroto, the current leader of the Foot Clan, sought to ambush the mutant family and their allies.
A battle breaks out, and Donatello, Master Splinter, and Master Shinichro are faced with wave after wave of foot clan soldiers. The brave warriors cut through most of them, but the numbers turned out to be too large to handle. Donatello gets injured and pushes Master Splinter to retreat as the archers are coming.
However, Splinter is blinded by rage and wants to kill the leader of the Foot Clan. Splinter manages to hurt Oroku but fails to seal the deal. The archers fire their arrows, and they reach their target head-on, killing Master splinter and Donatello.
Donatello dies simply because of a bad judgment call by Master Splinter when they should have retreated instead.
Is Donatello Dead?
In the events of The Last Ronin comics, Donatello is dead and is not coming back. Donnie fought bravely alongside his master and died with great honor. Once they were showered with arrows at a very close range, there was nothing that could have saved them. Not even their mutated genes.
We do see Donatello throughout the series, speaking to Mikey. However, we are just as quickly shown that Donatello is now only a figment of Mikey’s warped mind. Probably a coping mechanism by Mikey for all that he is lost. Some good does come from it as Mikey learns from his imagination/imaginary brothers and uses that to fight the Foot Clan as the Last Ronin.
When Was Donatello Born and Died?
While we do not know the exact birthdate of the Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles, We do know that the first comics that theory appeared in was back in 1987. In that, the turtles are introduced as brash young teenaged who still have much to learn from their masters.
So, if this is to be taken as the first time they have appeared, and if they are, in fact, teenagers, then they would have all been born around the 1970s, to make an educated guess.
While many storylines have a different telling of which of the turtles survive or if all do. The “Last Ronin” Storyline is set in 2040, a dystopian land where the Foot Clan has gained control over the world.
Mikey describes how he found out about Donatello’s and Splinter’s deaths, which is set just a few years before. To take an educated guess on this, too, Donatello died around 2035, give or take a few.
How Old Was Donatello When He Died?
Based on the explanation given in the previous section, we can make a pretty good as to how old Donatello was when the Foot Clan ambushed him. If he was born around 1975 and died around 2035, that would make his age around 60.
This might seem like a lot, especially given his physical prowess, even at that age. However, it is important to note that ninja turtles do not age the same way as humans due to their mutated physiology. This makes it very plausible for Donatello to be around that age and still fight like a young man.
What Happened To The Ninja Turtles?
In the Last Ronin storyline, we see that the TMNT family is being picked apart one by one. Starting with Raphael, who mistakenly thinks that Splinter has been killed and goes on a rampage right into a foot clan base. Raphael takes many with him, but eventually, he is killed. He is the first one to go.
Leonardo and Casey are killed in an explosion by Stockman, who is after Fugitoid (Honeycutt). Master Splinter and Donatello are killed in an ambush by Oroku Hiroto. The only remaining members of the team are Michael Angelo, April, and April’s daughter, Casey.
Eventually, even Mikey dies in battle with a futuristic Shredder (Oroku Hiroto). The entire comic ends with the whole Ninja Turtle team reuniting in what only can be described as the afterlife. A fitting end to a great series.
“The Last Ronin” storyline gives us a sad yet satisfactory and probably end that the Ninja turtles may one day face.
An alternate universe, if you will. With incredible artwork and great storytelling, this miniseries is not one to miss. How did you like it, and how shocked were you when you found out how each turtle met their end?
Please let us know in the comments!
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