Written by Mateus Santolouco and Erik Burnham
Art by Mateus Santolouco
No TMNT villain is more notable than Oroku Saki, aka The Shredder. And with IDW’s recent reboot of the Turtles re-introducing him, it only makes sense to dive into his history.
Secret History of the Foot Clan takes place in two times. In the present, a researcher has found vital information about the Foot Clan’s past, which is information that both Shredder and the Turtles want. In Feudal Japan, an apparently immortal ninja leader is killed off, but a witch’s curse is placed on his assassins – a curse which causes the leader to be reincarnated in the body of a boy named Oroku Saki.
Oh yes, I should point out a few things about this reboot and my information of it. For one, I’ve only read the first two story arcs, neither of which introduced the Shredder. This does mean that I am obviously missing a part of this book. Although it’s possible to pick up and read, which I did, you’re still going to be missing a piece of the puzzle. Most of the information you need is fairly obviously given, though. And also, in this version, the Turtles are reincarnated versions of ninja warriors of the past. Don’t give me that look. It’s a comic, and if you’re willing to accept that a strange radioactive substance can turn ordinary turtles into human-sized, talking turtles, you can believe they could be reincarnated ninjas.
With the formalities out of the way, I can talk about the book itself, and it is a hell of a ride. The events in ancient Japan both start to reveal certain things about the new TMNT world that IDW is creating while also showing that this is not your ordinary “start of darkness” tale. If you’re accepting a good person who somehow gets torn down into a villain, well, it’s not here. The Shredder is the Shredder, he has always been the Shredder, he always will be the Shredder. What’s more fascinating is to see a Shredder unleashed. If you’re mainly familiar with the 90s cartoon, where Shredder was a comic lapdog to Krang, this isn’t him. This is a brutal Shredder willing to do whatever he has to do to win. And this also happens in the present day, which is filled with kinetic action sequences. Everything is paced perfectly, making it a page-turner during the action and slowing it down just right when it gets to the exposition. Not screeching it to a halt, but giving you a little relaxation before the next car chase or ninja battle.
If you’re not already reading IDW’s TMNT series, you might not get everything you should out of Secret History of the Foot Clan. On the other hand, if you read this, you’ll definitely be wanting to read their TMNT series afterwards. Secret History is a great place to get on this new series.