Written by Sensei Akira Shikime of The Shadow Ninja Clan
The Secret History of the Foot Clan
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YOU’RE NOT ON
Some TMNT stuff really isn’t for little kids.
Cover of the trade paperback
Originally published as a four-issue mini-series and later collected into a trade paperback with
additional material, including character design sketches. The story tells the history of the Foot
Clan and its current leader Oroku Saki, also known as The Shredder .
Story: Mateus Santolouco
Script: Mateus Santolouco & Erik Burnham
Art: Mateus Santolouco
Letters: Shawn Lee
Editor: Bobby Curnow
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Issue 1 Cover by Mateus Santolouco
The story is split between present day New York City and flashbacks to Feudal Japan during the
Muromachi period. April, Casey and the turtles (hiding in the rafters high above) attend a lecture
by a Dr. Miller, an expert on the history of the Foot Clan. He details the history of the Yuu Clan,
ruled by Daimyo Ashikaga Yuu, a candidate to become Shogun of all Japan. There was a member
of the Yuu Clan, Takeshi Tatsuo, who was the greatest and most feared swordsman who had ever
lived. His skill was so great, that even Daimyo Ashikaga feared him, and so he sent Tatsuo into the
mountains to patrol for bandits, where a legion of the Daimyo’s men were waiting to ambush and
kill him. Tatsuo’s skill was great, but the men were too great in number. Although he managed to
slay every last one of his attackers, he was mortally wounded, his right leg completely severed.
As Tatsuo lay there dying, however, a mysterious stranger brought him to a hidden temple in the
mountains, where he was given powerful medicine. The medicine was so powerful that when Tatsuo
awoke, his leg was completely regrown, only missing the skin. Everyone assumed Tatsuo slain,
but Daimyo Ashikaga feared the worst when Tatsuo’s body was not found amongst the remains
of the men sent to kill him. Eventually, Ashikaga was found slain in his own bed.
Dr. Miller explains that he learned all this from the Ashi No Himitsu – a book detailing the secret
history of the Foot Clan, which he found in the very temple Takeshi Tatsuo was restored.
The book provided information on how the Foot Clan influenced the politics of its day, recipes
for medicinal salves, and even tales of the black magic used by the clan. Dr. Miller discovered
that the book was authored by Takeshi Tatsuo, years after his supposed death. Dr. Miller deduced
that Tatsuo had formed the Foot Clan from the remnants of the Yuu Clan after killing Daimyo
Ashikaga. Furthermore, he learned that the source of the Foot Clan’s power was its alliance
with a witch, Kitsune, who served the powerful Tetsu Oni, the Iron Demon. The clan became
extremely ruthless, carrying out atrocities in the name of the Oni, including burning villages
to the ground and slaughtering women and children. Many members of the clan, led by Oroku
Maji and Masato, disagreed with the path the clan was taking and were becoming fed up with
its brutal tactics. One night as the clan was carrying out the Iron Demon’s orders, Maji and Masato
had their suspicions confirmed, seeing the witch Kitsune using magic. They formulated a plan to
take down Takeshi Tatsuo and restore their clan’s honor. Once a month during the full moon, Takeshi
Tatsuo isolated himself in his quarters while Kitsune left with an empty satchel, returning two days
later with it full. Maji spies on Tatsuo during the next full moon, witnessing Kitsune give Tatsuo, now
an old man, the elixir she received from the Iron Demon, restoring his youth. The next month, Maji
staged a surprise attack, interrupting Tatsuo before he could ingest the magic elixir. A battle ensues,
and Oroku Maji slays Takeshi Tatsuo. Kitsune warns Maji, claiming he does not know
the consequences of what he has done. She curses him, stating that his downfall will come from his
own house. The honor of the Foot Clan had been restored.
In the present day, April, Casey and turtles decide to ask Dr. Miller for further information on the
Foot Clan, after consulting with Master Splinter. As Dr. Miller leaves the lecture, Oroku Karai, posing
as a private collector’s assistant, approaches him about getting his appraisal on another part of the
Ashi No Himitsu. Karai reports back to the Shredder that she spoke with Dr. Miller as instructed.
She asks why they are allowing Dr. Miller to live, when all the information he has on the Foot could
harm them. Shredder says that his plan is to force Dr. Miller to find more information on the Foot
Clan for him.
In Feudal Japan, Kitsune approaches the shrine of the Iron Demon, beseeching him to aid her.
She states that she cannot provide him with what he requires at that time, but she would repay
him in the future. The Iron Demon steps forth, revealing himself to be an Utrom.
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Issue 2 Cover by Mateus Santolouco
Present day: April, Casey and the turtles sit in April’s van as April and Casey try to plan how to ask
Dr. Miller about the Ashi No Himitsu. Leonoardo spots Dr. Miller entering a limousine with Karai and
they decide to follow them. Karai realizes they’re being followed (by April’s bright yellow Volkswagen
van) and a high speed chase ensues. The chase transforms into a battle, with Foot ninja leaping from
the limo onto April’s van, where Leonardo and Raphael fight them off. Karai disables April’s van
with an arrow to the tire, but not before the turtles plant a tracking device on Dr. Miller. Dr. Miller
is brought to one of the Foot’s hideouts where Shredder reveals himself to be the leader of the Foot
Clan, and demonstrates his sincerity in hiring the doctor for his expertise.
Feudal Japan: a young Oroku Saki is being tested by a monk to determine who he was in his previous
life. Saki passes over the objects laid on the blanket until they land on the Ashi No Himitsu,
immediately recognizing it as his own creation, revealing him to be the reincarnation of Takeshi
Tatsuo. Oroku Maji is initially highly distressed by this, but the monk encourages him to look at it
as an opportunity to end a cycle of negative karma.
Over a decade later, a feast is being held to celebrate a successful contract carried out by the clan;
Oroku Saki and Master Masato’s son Hamato Yoshi are honored as heroes. Yoshi leaves his wife
Tang Shen unattended for a moment while he speaks with Master Masato. Saki makes an unwelcome
advance towards Tang Shen, provoking her to slap him. Saki is poised to strike Tang Shen but is
taken down by Yoshi. Before they can battle further Master Masato breaks them up. Masters
Oroku Maji and Hamato Masato speak to Saki and Yoshi, telling them they need to cooperate
more, as they are both being promoted to chunins. Upon learning that he is not the only one
being promoted to chunin, Saki storms out. Saki and Yoshi speak. Saki reveals his frustration
due to his father’s reluctance to recognize his greatness. Yoshi advises him to meditate on his
anger. As he meditates later on, the witch Kitsune reveals herself to him in the form of a three-
tailed fox. She leads him to the hidden location of the Ashi No Himitsu, so that Saki may know his
true legacy as the founder of the Foot Clan.
Present day: Raphael makes fun of Donatello’s screenname as Donatello changes the flat on
April’s van. The turtles find the location of the Foot and Dr. Miller using their tracking device and
decide to infiltrate. Upon entering the building, a fight breaks out. As the Foot Clan fights the turtles,
Shredder has Alopex stand guard over Dr. Miller. Shredder enters the battle, claiming it at his
destiny to conquer all his foes.
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Issue 3 Cover by Mateus Santolouco
Feudal Japan: Oroku Maji realizes that Saki has learned the truth about himself and found the Ashi
No Himitsu, which could be used to return the Foot Clan to its dark ways. Maji learns that Saki has
left for the mountains with the Ashi No Himitsu and sends men to persuade Saki to return.
Although the men were instructed not to kill Saki, one overzealous soldier ignores the order
and scars Saki’s eye. Saki slays his attackers easily. Kitsune appears before him.
Present day: Splinter and the turtles fight Foot soldiers, led by Karai. April and Casey slip away
to find Dr. Miller, but are forced to flee from Alopex and a large number of Foot soldiers. Donatello
and Michelangelo distract Alopex and the Foot while April and Casey lead Dr. Miller away.
Feudal Japan: Kitsune aids Saki in accessing the memories of his previous life as Takeshi Tatsuo.
Saki and Kitsune plot to once again enlist the aid of the Iron Demon, the Utrom, in retaking the Foot
Present day: the turtles begin to make their escape after getting Dr. Miller to April’s van. Dr. Miller,
April, Casey and the turtles (minus Raphael, who is holding off Alopex) flee the scene. Alopex tosses
Raphael aside and pursues the van. Raphael borrows a bystander’s motorcycle and takes off after
her, disabling her with a well-thrown motorcycle helmet. Inside the van, Splinter informs Dr. Miller
that the Shredder is actually Oroku Saki, the founder of the Foot Clan reincarnated. Dr. Miller reads
part of the Ashi No Himitsu to them. They learn that the Shredder is the Dragon Warrior, a person
with the ability to be reborn whole.
Feudal Japan: Oroku Maji sits drinking tea late one night. Out of the shadows his son Saki appears,
dropping Master Masato’s corpse at his feet. Saki declares that he knows the truth about the past,
and that he has also glimpsed the future of the clan. He then slays Oroku Maji.
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Issue 4 Cover by Mateus Santolouco
Feudal Japan: Oroku Saki holds a funeral for his father’s honor, the rest of the clan unaware that is
was he who killed him. With Master Masato ”missing” (Saki kept hidden the death of Masato), all
the chunin voted Saki to be the next Jonin, ruler of the clan. Saki declares he will restore the honor
of the Foot Clan.
Present day: April, Casey, Splinter and the turtles bring Dr. Miller to the Skara Brae, a pub owned by
the father of Casey’s friend Angel. Dr. Miller is expressing his reluctance to believe in reincarnation.
Michelangelo likens it to playing video games: one can play as many different characters in an
endless number of games, but still remain the same person controlling the game. Casey looks
out the window to see a car pull up, and the Shredder step out, along with Karai and Alopex.
Splinter, remembering a strategy used by Saki in the past, warns the group to defend the rear
entrance, where sure enough Foot ninja enter moments later. Dr. Miller, finally realizing that
everything he’s learned that day is true decides to grab the Ashi No Himitsu and bring it outside to
the Shredder, but he is stopped by a mean right hook to the face courtesy of April. He flees outside
and pledges his services to the Shredder. Splinter instructs the others to leave and take the book
with them, then steps outside to face the Shredder. The two battle briefly, until Shredder realizes
Splinter is covering the others’ escape. Leonardo and Raphael hold off Karai and Alopex while Casey,
April, Donatello and Michelangelo leave with the book. April calls the police to the bar to force the
Foot to flee.
A few days later, the group is at the turtles’ home reading the Ashi No Himitsu. They discover how
Oroku Saki managed to live for so long: by drinking a specially prepared potion and hibernating until
awakened by one of his descendents. After reading the book, they destroy it.
At the Foot’s headquarters, the Shredder expresses his displeasure over the loss of the Ashi No
Himitsu to Karai and Dr. Miller. The Shredder offers Dr. Miller an ultimatum: find the secret resting
place of Kitsune and be granted immortality, or fail and be killed.
Feudal Japan: Oroku Saki and Kitsune stand before the shrine to the Iron Demon, the interdimensional
portal the Utrom uses to travel. Kitsune says she has found the key to permanent immortality, and
all it requires is more of the Utrom’s elixir. The Utrom steps through the portal with a canister of
mutagen, and is then ambushed by a group of Foot soldiers shooting flaming arrows. Having
acquired what they need, Saki and Kitsune make the final arrangements for their master plan.
Saki drinks a highly potent preparation of the Utrom’s mutagen and commits hara-kiri (ritual suicide),
and his body is then put in a casket and submerged in pure mutagen. Saki died, but his spirit was
bound to his body, and over the years his body and spirit were strengthened by the mutagen.
Finally, one day his descendent Karai woke him with a blood offering, completing Saki’s
transformation into the Dragon Warrior. Saki is then ready to rule the land seen in Kitsune’s vision –
New York City.