Fans of the ’90s TMNT Cartoon Will Love the Name of Donatello’s Alter-Ego


While the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were established heroes upon their introduction just by being a part of the titular team, that hasn’t stopped practically each of them from adopting separate superhero alter-egos over the years–from Michelangelo’s Last Ronin to Raphael’s Nightwatcher–and now, Donatello can add his name to that list with a superhero moniker that fans of the ‘90s cartoon and the original comic series will absolutely love.


The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were first introduced in the 1984 comic of the same name by creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. However, the Turtles didn’t see world-wide popularity until the 1987-1996 TMNT cartoon was launched–an animated series that would redefine the Turtles forever. While the comic was dark and gritty, the cartoon was fun and bright–though while it technically wasn’t the most accurate to the original comic, the cartoon transformed the Turtles into what they are today. In the comic, the Turtles were hard to identify aside from their weaponry as all of them were hardcore, focused assassins ready to tackle whatever murder-mission Splinter sent them on. It was the show that introduced not only differently colored masks, but also different personalities and unique skill sets for each of the Turtles–all of which were laid out in the iconic TMNT theme song. As stated in the lyrics: Leonardo leads, Donatello does machines; Raphael is cool but rude (or ‘crude’), and Michelangelo is a party dude.

Related: TMNT: Shredder’s Rivalry with Krang Corrupts their ‘90s Partnership

In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #48 by Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz, and Cory Smith, the villainous Baxter Stockman is attacking the TMNT with his mouser robots, and the Turtles are defending Stockman’s true target, Master Splinter, while also trying to protect Donatello’s body from being destroyed in the crossfire. Previously, Donatello was beaten to death by Bebop and Rocksteady, and while his mind was saved, his body was still healing and was–at the moment–uninhabitable. In the meantime, Donatello’s consciousness resided in the android Metalhead–though ‘Metalhead’ wasn’t a very fitting alter-ego for him. So, Donatello came up with another call sign while in this robotic form: Duz_Machines_84.

Donatello’s Call Sign References the ‘90s TMNT Cartoon & Original Comic

Donatello’s Duz_Machines_84 is the perfect callback to the two most influential aspects of his and the entire TMNT’s origin. ‘Duz_Machines’ is a reference to Donatello’s role on the team in the ‘90s animated series as described in the theme song, while ‘_84’ references the year in which the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic was released–an interesting look at Donatello as a character in terms of where he is now versus where he started. When he uses this call sign, Donatello is a robot who was technically brought back from the dead by way of highly advanced multiversal technology utilized by the Fugitoid. Donatello’s ‘rebirth’ through Metalhead represents his future, though he chose a name that clearly reflected his past, and in doing so, shows fans just how far he has come as a character while proving perhaps his greatest TMNT stories are still ahead of him.

Regardless of the perceived symbolism behind the name of Donatello’s alter-ego, these details in his call sign during the most recent and ongoing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic series are a fun treat for long-time fans who have been with the Turtles since the original comic and the ‘90s cartoon.

Next: TMNT’s New Turtles Make an R-Rated Change to the Original Cartoon


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