TMNT: Macro-Series #1 Donatello Review - Donatello Vs. Metalhead, Nuff Said!
Updated: Jun 18
• IDW (Publisher)
The issue opens with a flashback to Teenage Mutants Ninja Turtles #44. The issue where Donatello was nearly killed by Bebop & Rocksteady. Whereas in the original issue Donatello was beaten to within an inch of his life, in this scenario he manages to turn the tables on the villains by being prepared for the situation. Metalhead who was also dismantled in the issue flips to Battle mode instead of being destroyed and assists Donnie. Together they manage to survive the encounter.
The scene transitions, we get the reveal that the encounter is actually a simulation of the events that Metalhead is running. He gets an alert that an "Old Friend" is up to no good and flies off.
Donatello is actually meeting with his estranged mentor, Harold. He threatens to leave when he finds out that Donnie has ulterior motives. Harold believed that Donatello wanted to dismantle MetalHead but what Donnie actually wants to do is repurpose the technology to effectively allow him to predict the future. Donny reveals that he has also been living in the past and replaying events but he's not smart enough to work through all of the variables. Harold tells Donatello that he's playing at being a mad scientist and threatens to leave with the Metalhead technology. Desperate, Donny tells him to give him one night to figure things out.
Later in the middle of the night, Donatello is awakened by a noise and upon investigation discovers Metalhead standing in his lab. Donatello attacks but he's easily swatted away. Realizing that he has no chance in a direct confrontation Donatello crawls away and activates a trap. It doesn't work and Metalhead manages to grab Donnie again. Metalhead demands that Donnie tell him what he's working on. Donatello tries to lie but Metalhead correctly deduces that he's trying to use the old technology to predict the future.
Dejectedly, Donatello reveals that it doesn't matter because he can't get the tech right. Metalhead tells him that the problem is that his math is off. Donatello rejects that conclusion and shows Metalhead his formula. Metalhead immediately points out the error and agrees to help him figure out the technology. The robot reveals that he's basically gone as far as he can with his intellect and that he's bored.
They begin working together as a team and we get some insight into both of their perspectives and connections. Donatello wants to prevent future events like the older version of himself that abandoned his brothers to die. Metalhead reveals to Donnie that he can't hide his true motivations from him and that they both when they have downtime they both are constantly revisiting the past in order to predict future events.
Metalhead tells Donatello that they are ready to test the device. Upon putting on the Interface helmet he is flooded with images ranging from His brother's being killed to Bebop & Rocksteady becoming Rockstars. The device does him physical harm which prompts Metalhead to ask if the device is working. Donnie says yes and Metalhead goes to turn the device off but is shot at by Harold which breaks the interface.
Donatello yells at Herold for destroying the technology. This confuses Harold and while trying to process the situation Metalhead appears again and tosses Harold. Harold then throws a grenade at Metalhead which causes an explosion and damage to the robot's frame.
Harold and Metalhead begin exchanging gunfire but Harold manages to land a direct hit on Metalhead causing him to collapse. Confused he says he doesn't understand why he's he's moving so slow. Donatello reveals that while Metalhead was trapped earlier he fired up a radiation field that was gradually slowing down his processing speeds.
This appears to catch Metalhead off guard and he's genuinely surprised that Donatello betrayed him. The confusion causes Donatello distress and he asks demands to know if Metalhead was going to betray him. He gets too close and the robot grabs him by the throat and says it doesn't matter because now he knows where they stand.
Harold takes another shot and threatens to destroy the robot if he hurts Donnie. Metalhead tells Harold to throw a smoke grenade at them or he will kill the Turtle. As smoke fills the area Donatello apologizes to Metalhead for the betrayal. He tells Metalhead that he took away the opportunity for both of them to have someone around that can empathize with them.
This prompts Metalhead to drop Donatello and leave. Harold approaches and says good riddance. Donatello reveals that figuring out and repurposing the tech was never the end goal. The goal was getting Harold back on his side by giving him a project to work on that he could solve. Harold agrees to help him clean up the lab. The comic ends as Donatello say's then they can try to figure out what happens next.
The first issue of the Current IDW run of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that I picked up was issue #44. It was hyped up and really turned me on to this world. It was a horrific intro but I was hooked on the writing world and character development ever since. In this One-Shot, we get a deep dive into two of the most fascinating characters in the series. Donatello and Metal Head.
Both characters experienced extreme trauma in that issue and in the aftermath Donatello's consciousness spent time in the Metalhead frame. Donatello has been trying to harness the tech and become better ever since they became separated. Metalhead seems to have been imprinted by Donatello and at this point, they are essentially the same character except that Metalhead lacks human empathy and emotions. Metalhead tells at one point tells Donatello that emotions damage everything.
Donatello later proves Metalheads point by letting his fears get the best of him, betraying the robot and destroying a potentially beneficial relationship with the one individual that understands him better than anyone.
This issue was fantastic. I'm not a huge fan of the circle headed TMNT's but the art is very fluid and really works in the action sequences and the quiet moments in which Metalhead is obviously thinking about the situation he's in. The Pencil's of Brahm Revel combined with excellent colors by Chris Peter make this issue vibrant with a dynamic palette even when the scenes are slower and somewhat scary.
Overall this is a book that perfectly encapsulates the IDW TMNT experience. This is a credit to the writer and a strong editorial direction. The issue works on its own but adds flavor to the main series. We get further insights into Donatello's character and the struggles that he deals with and potential groundwork for stories down the line. Our heroes are a lot more complex and weightier than you'd think at first glance. The comic is great and deserves a spot in your collection whether you are a huge TMNT fan, casual or simply a fan of the comic book medium.