|First appearance||Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #19 (April 1991)|
|Base(s)||island on Earth|
Mighty Mutanimals are a fictional superhero team spin-off from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise. The team first appeared in the comic books series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures, where they formed as a team of mutant animals who were allies of the TMNT. Additional versions of the team and concept have appeared in subsequent incarnations of the franchise.
Fictional team biography
Mighty Mutanimals was first published as a three-issue mini-series released between May and July 1991, which was later released in a collection in Winter 1991. A follow-up regular series totalling nine issues was released from April 1992 until June 1993.
The series was cancelled due to low sales, but the Mutanimals received their own 7-part backup-series in the pages of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures beginning in issue 48 and ending in issue 54. This series saw the assassination of the Mutanimals at the hands of the high-tech Gang of Four. Issues 55-57 continued the aftermath of their death and its effect on the Turtles' storyline. The creator of the Mutanimals, Ryan Brown, has stated that the reason for this decision was that the Mutanimals were supposed to be something completely different from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Since the series, and proposed cartoon show, were cancelled, he no longer wanted his creation to become a second-fiddle act. Instead, he thought The Mutanimals could have a much more lasting impact if they were killed off.
Though the team was called " Mutanimals " implying that the members were all " mutant animals ", only 3 were " true" mutants, Ray Fillet, Mondo Gecko, and reserve member Merdude. LeatherHead ( Archie's version) was a human transformed by magic, same goes for Dreadmon, who was more or less a werewolf created by voodoo. Wingnut, Screwloose and Slash ( Archie's version), were all aliens from Dimension-X. And Jagwar was a demi-god son of a human mother and Jaguar spirit/god.
A new version of the Mutanimals also appears in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IDW Comic series, in which Mondo Gecko, Man Ray and Slash reprise their roles as part of its membership. While Old Hob served as its leader, exclusive to this group are Herman the Hermit Crab, Pigeon Pete, and a mutant lioness named Sally Pride as well as a new interpretation of the Fred Wolf cartoon character Mutagen Man.
This version was created when Slash and Old Hob abduct former StockGen scientist Lindsey Baker and offer her a table filled with money if she helps to create a mutant army to protect the other mutants of New York City. Hob had obtained a large canister of mutagen and samples of Splinter's blood (containing the missing psychotropic compound). Slash willingly injects himself with some of Splinter's blood and the compound within makes Slash intelligent in moments, proving her theory correct. Lindsay then uses a gecko and hermit crab stolen by Hob and Slash to create Mondo Gecko and Herman, having successfully combined the compound with the mutagen.
2012 TV series
An animated version of the Mighty Mutanimals debut in the 2012 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles episode "Battle for New York". The team is led by Slash and composed of Dr. Tyler Rockwell's mutant form, Leatherhead, and Pigeon Pete. Slash and Jack Kurtzman founded the team in order to combat the Kraang, who had conquered New York City in "The Invasion". When the Turtles return to the city, the two teams banded together to save New York from the Kraang, after settling their differences (largely regarding the animosity between Slash and Leonardo). In "Clash of the Mutanimals", Slash and Rockwell were captured and brainwashed by Shredder as a test run for a mind control serum. The two would be freed by their teammates and the Turtles, and the eight mutants would fight The Shredder to a draw.
In "Dinosaurs Seen In Sewers", Slash and Rockwell were injured by the crazed Triceraton Zog, and spent the remainder of the episode healing. In the third season finale, "Annihilation: Earth!", the four Mutanimals fought alongside the Hamato and later Foot Clan as they tried to save the Earth from the invading Triceraton Empire. The group's efforts failed when Shredder betrayed them all by stabbing Splinter, and the four Mutanimals, along with all of the Turtles' allies (save for April O'Neil and Casey Jones) and enemies, were sucked into a black hole to their deaths.
The Turtles subsequently spent the first half of the fourth season working to undo this turn of events. While they are unable to save the original versions of the Mutanimals and the others, they are able to save a second version of them in "Earth's Last Stand" where thanks to Splinter getting the heads up and intercepting Shredder's attack, the Turtles destroyed the timer to the Heart of Darkness, causing Earth's secondary annihilation to never occur.
In "Mutant Gangland," the Mutanimals (with Mondo Gecko as their newest member) stop the Faluchi twins from obtaining new-and-improved weaponry. Rockwell telepathically sees into one's mind and is shocked to learn that they are engineering these weapons to hunt down and destroy all mutants. The quarter head to warn the Turtles about this dangerous threat against all mutant-kind. Noticing that Pigeon Pete is missing, Donatello asks the Mutanimals where he is, to which Slash replies "We don't talk about Pigeon Pete", indicating that soon after their victory of defeating the Triceratons, Pigeon Pete left the team for unknown reasons.
Dreadmon is a character from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures comic book and the Archie Comics' Mutanimals. The character is a native of South Africa. During the uprisings his father sent him and his mother to Jamaica where they suffered from poverty turning Dreadmon into a thief. One day he stole a talisman that transformed him into a part-man, part-red wolf creature with super speed. The creature was friends with the Ninja Turtles and he eventually joined the Mutanimals with his close friend, Jagwar.
Jagwar was the child of a union between the magical Jaguar Spirit and a tribal woman named Juntarra. After his mother left to continue her personal quest (completing "The Path of the Four Winds"), the twelve-year-old magical being lived in the rainforests of Brazil until his discovery by the TMNT in issue #14, when they were dropped off in his homeland by Cudley. His membership among the Mutanimals came soon after.
Leatherhead is a mutant American alligator and hot-headead ally of the Ninja Turtles.
As a baby alligator, he escaped a pet store robbery by finding his way into the sewers, where he was found by a pair of Utroms and brought back to their headquarters in TCRI. There, he was exposed to their mutagen, thus mutating into a more intelligent humanoid form, and cared for very much by the aliens as if they were his parents. Leatherhead later got separated from his "family" when the TCRI building self-destructed and retreated back into the sewers, only to be attacked by a big-time hunter named Mr. Marlin, who injured his left eye. The Ninja Turtles saved him and brought him to their old home, but when four Foot Clan ninjas and promised him a Transmat device. Leatherhead complied, believing this device could return him to the Utrom home world. The Turtles intervened when they saw him trusting the Foot (even though their main idea was to help Leatherhead out). However, the Transmat was already complete, but it blew up in Leatherhead's face, enraging him to kill two of his Foot Clan assistants. Blaming the Turtles for wrecking his attempt to return "home", he went on to become an enemy to them, but received a change of heart when they saved him from Old Hob.
In the 1987 series, Leatherhead (voiced by Jim Cummings) was a giant American alligator living in the Everglades who swam in a part of his swamp that was polluted with mutagen by Shredder and Krang, and mutated into his current mutant form. Becoming an enemy of the Ninja Turtles, he first started hunting the Punk Frogs and then tried to help Shredder hunt the Turtles themselves. Leatherhead eventually cross paths with the Rat King, and allied himself with him to eliminate the Turtles when his plan to trick them into killing each other failed.
In the 2012 TV series, Leatherhead (voiced by Peter Lurie) was an American alligator that was originally owned by a kind boy until his parents found out and flushed him down their bathroom toilet into the sewer. The Kraang found him, took him back to Dimension X and experimented on him, mutating him into an 8 ft. humanoid mutant alligator with a tough hide, uncontrollable force in his spirit, keen sense and superhuman strength. But since they were unable to break his spirit, Leatherhead eventually escaped through the portal that they used to travel to Earth. Stealing the power cell that powered the portal, he returned to the sewers and spent the next 6 months guarding the cell with a maze of booby traps, swearing to keep it away from the Kraang (so they wouldn't start their invasion) at the cost of his own life. He first appeared in "It Came From The Depths," where he was saved by Ninja Turtles from the Kraang when they were demanding the power cell's location. After being convinced by Michelangelo to take him back to their lair to be nursed back to health, the other three Turtles went out to find the power cell. Unfortunately, Leatherhead attacked them after finding out and went berserk, only to be kicked out of the lair by Splinter. Michelangelo, feeling sorry for his new friend, followed him back to his lair (with the other Turtles following), where Leatherhead explained the power cell's purpose and entrusted it into their hands as soon as the Kraang returned to demand it back. In "TCRI," after the Turtles lost the cell to the Kraang, they went to Leatherhead to ask for the portal's location, and in return, he helped them fight against Traag when the Kraang used the portal to bring him through. However, when they started using the portal to bring something else (possibly Granitor) through, Leatherhead sacrificed himself by entering the portal to stop it, dragging Traag with him. In "Into Dimension X," he was revealed to have survived the portal closing and has rapidly aged (due to the time difference between Earth and Dimension X). After sending a message to the Turtles through a Kraang communication orb warning them that the Kraang have perfected their mutagen, Michelangelo led a rescue mission for Leatherhead and together they stopped the Kraang from pouring the mutagen through the various portals while Donatello closed them all down, thus leaving one open for them to return to their own dimension. In "The Invasion," Leatherhead accompanied Splinter with finding the Turtles (who fled the lair when the Kraang invaded it) until they were cornered by Shredder, who seemingly killed him by slicing into his hide and sending falling into the river. In "Battle for New York," Leatherhead was shown to have survived his wounds and recruited as second-in-command of the Mighty Mutanimals as they worked with the Turtles to take back the city from the Kraang.
In the Archie comics, Mondo Gecko had started out as a human skateboarder playing in a local heavy metal band. His girlfriend, Candy Fine, stuck by him even after some of Krang's discarded mutagen merged his DNA with that of his pet gecko as the band practiced in Shredder's former hideout. It was this version of the character whose story was incorporated into both the Mutanimals series and the action figure line.
In the IDW comics, Mondo Gecko was used as part of a mutant army that Old Hob established after he was mutated by Old Hob's ally Lindsey Baker.
Mondo Gecko appears in the 1980s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon voiced by John Mariano. This version is a mutated gecko who was taken in by a gang led by Mr. X. Michelangelo convinced Mondo Gecko to turn on his leader. After this, Mondo Gecko ends his career as a criminal and moves to the sewers and becomes "neighbors" with the TMNT and Splinter.
In the 2012 series, Mondo (voiced by Robbie Rist), was named Jason, a teenage skatboarding star who was skateboarding home one night when a vial of mutagen fell on him. As the result of placing his pet leopard gecko Lars on his shoulder, he mutated into a 4 ft. humanoid mutant leopard gecko and was left out on the streets by his parents (who saw him as a freak and unfit to live with them anymore), where he'd spent the rest of his days skateboarding until he was taken in as an errand boy by Fishface (who had called himself "Mr. X" by his peers). Making quick friends with Michelangelo and Casey Jones, Mondo eventually saw the true colors of his boss, and after racing against him, he defected from the Foot Clan and became friends with the Turtles.
Man Ray (also known as Ray Fillet) was once a marine biologist named Jack Finney who worked at the Burroughs Aquarium in New Jersey. He originated in the Archie Comics version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Jack met the TMNT at the aquarium where he explained his origin. Jack was exposed to Mutagen after he climbed into a pipe on Bayview Beach that was polluting the water. Jack needed proof of the illegal dumping and after finding the mutagen coming out of the pipe he climbed into it to try to find an emissions leak. Bebop and Rocksteady had accidentally spilled a barrel of mutagen down the sewer which washed Jack into the river and he became a mutant manta ray. Ray first met the TMNT after first saving them from a torpedo that Shredder, Bebop, and Rocksteady shot at them from a submarine and defeating Shredder under water. When Ray brought Shredder to the shore Shredder kicked sand in his face and escaped. That is when the Turtles showed up. Later on, he joined up with the Mutanimals, and the group received a spin-off series from Archie comics entitled "The Mighty Mutanimals."
Ray Fillet was also made into an action figure, and appeared in one video game, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters for the Sega Genesis. Ray also saved the Turtles from the Shredder in issue number three of the 1989 Ralston Purina Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cereal mini comic book series. He was created by Mirage Studios' artist Ryan Brown.
In the IDW Comics, there is a variation of Ray Fillet named Ray who is a mutant manta ray. He alongside Sally Pride were prisoners of the Null Group at a train station until they were freed and joined Old Hob's Mutanimals.
In the 1987 series an unrelated character named Ray appeared in the episode "Rebel Without a Fin". This Ray is a creature resembling a humanoid Sting ray created by a mad scientist named Doctor Polidorius. Polidorius gave Ray the abilities of sea life, like the shock of an Electric eel, the poisonous stingers of a Lion fish, and the tentacles of a Squid. Ray began planting explosives to sink New York City underwater so Polidorius could create a city populated by other fish mutants. Polidorius also turned April O'Neill into a similar mutant. During a fight Polidorius' lair is flooded and Ray escapes into the ocean while the Turtles, April, and Polidorius are distracted.
Wingnut and Screwloose
Wingnut is a heroic humanoid alien bat who was created by Mirage Studios artist Ryan Brown and appeared in the 1987 cartoon series. He comes from the Archie comics version, TMNT Adventures and The Mighty Mutanimals. His partner is an alien mosquito named Screwloose. Screwloose seems to be the brighter of the two.
The pair are not mutants, but the only surviving members of an alien race after Krang invaded their planet Dexion V in the Huanu system and wiped out everyone but those two. Screwloose's sting would calm the sometimes insane Wingnut. According to Screwloose, their two species shared a symbiotic relationship. Wingnut's species would provide Screwloose's with blood, while Screwloose's species' bite was the only means of the other species' sleep.
Wingnut and Screwloose appear in the 1990 Fred Wolf's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles episode "Zach and the Alien Invaders" voiced by Rob Paulsen and Townsend Coleman. The two of them plotted to mind-control the children in a plot to take over the city. Wingnut and Screwloose's plans were thwarted by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Wingnut originally made his debut as a bad guy and an ally of Shredder in issue number two of the 1989 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cereal mini-comic book by Ralston Purina.
A variation of Wingnut appeared in the video game Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan voiced by Jim Meskimen. This version is a servant of General Krang. He fights the Turtles at the top of a construction site.
Wingnut and Screwloose guest-star in the Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles season four episode titled "Bat in the Belfry". The episode aired 11am on Sunday September 11th, 2016.
Merdude is a merman-like creature.
In the Archie Comics, Alim was a boy who was born 5,000 years ago. When Alim fell into the sea, he ended up in a part where mutagen was and became a mutant merman. Many years later, Merdude befriended the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and later became a reserve member of the Mighty Mutanimals.
Merdude appears the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles episode "Atlantis Awakes" voiced by Kevin Schon. In this show, Merdude's real name is Alim Coelacanth who is a deformed merman and the true ruler of Atlantis.
Candy Fine is Mondo Gecko's girlfriend in the Archie TMNT Universe. Devoted to Mondo and loving him until the end, she remained at his side after he was mutated, and accompanied him when he joined the Mighty Mutanimals. Aside from Slash, she was the only survivor of Null's Mutanimal massacre in the TMNT Adventure's Terracide storyline. She listens to nothing except 1980s heavy metal music which she loved most of all, and attended every one of her lover's practices and gigs.
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Undersea allies of Man Ray.
A former mercenary styling himself after Old West gunfighters, Kid Terra was originally the chief henchman of the nihilistic industrialist Null, overseeing several of his environment-destroying projects (TMNT Adventures #15). During his second clash with the Turtles and Man Ray, he accidentally killed Man Ray's friend Bubbla the Glublub (TMNT Adventures #16). This deed and Null's insidious plan to sell Earth to the destructive alien race called the Malignoids finally turned Kid against Null, and his subsequent aid proved decisive in saving the Earth (TMNT Adventures #19 and Mighty Mutanimals miniseries #1, #2 and #3). He remained a staunch ally of the Turtles and the Mutanimals afterwards, assisting them in many missions against Null's schemes.
The original Mighty Mutanimals miniseries and issue six of the regular series were reprinted by IDW in their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures collections.