Did IDW's TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES #44 Do the One-Time Unthinkable? SPOILERS

Page from 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #44'
Credit: IDW Publishing
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #44
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #44
Credit: IDW

Wednesday's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #44 wrapped up their current story arc, "Attack on Technodrome," in a big way, with many long-running threads coming to a close, and at least one major new plot point seeing the light of day.

SPOILERS AHEAD for all those who haven't read the issue yet!

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Midway through "Attack on Technodrome: Part Four," Donatello is seemingly killed in a battle with Bebop and Rocksteady, while the other turtles are assaulting Krang's Technodrome. In a particularly brutal scene, the Foot clan henchmen smash Donatello, and the remote controlled robot Metalhead with a hammer, leaving Donatello dying on the floor.

Credit: IDW Publishing

By the end of the issue, it is strongly implied that Donatello has died, with the other three turtles rushing to his side only to find that tragedy has already struck, with a tearful Splinter uttering, "My son... My poor, brave son."

While the fate of Donatello isn't explicit (it's never outright confirmed that he's dead) the implication is intentional. What's also unclear is exactly what this means for the future of the turtles. This IDW ongoing series is building up to what the publisher calls the "final storyline" in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #50 later this year, and upcoming solicits give no clue as to whether Donatello will be in some way replaced as part of the fearsome foursome, or if they'll simply continue on as a three-piece group. 

Credit: IDW Publishing

One thing is clear, this isn't the campy, kid-centric cartoon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles many fans grew up on.

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