I hate mash-ups. Whatever it is about our internet culture that decided, somehow, that taking two great things and haphazardly slapping them together would somehow make them proportionately better was wrong. Horribly wrong. It almost every case, it’s worse. In the very best cases, it’s nominally amusing.
There is one mash-up concept, however, which has taken inexplicable hold of my imagination despite my hatred of mash-ups: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as Avengers. I have been a life-long TMNT fan, but only recently a cinema-induced Avengers fan. Noticing parallels between a few key members, I took it a step further and investigated: had others envisioned it the same way I had? After some googling and some deviantArt, the answer was a resounding NO. Most of what I discovered was more of the haphazard slapping together of two very different ideas for the gratification of the artist. Characters were rendered to satisfy some kind of neat quota between both universes. Some characters are more obvious, but others not so much, so the artist lazily renders the leftovers together so no one is left out. Had I missed the concept of mash-ups altogether? Is it supposed to be arbitrary? Or is it supposed to be thoughtful and cohesive, built on parallels between character archetypes?
So the idea has consumed me, and continues to consume me, so here is my personal TMNT/Avengers mash-up:
This is the most obvious one. Both are leaders of their respective teams; both have a strong sense of right-and-wrong; both prominently feature blue in their color scheme. This is really the one that myself and the Internet community agreed on from the beginning. The only key difference is their primary weapons, although a sword and a shield together would be a nice fit.
Wolverine isn’t one of the core MCU Avengers, and it isn’t likely that we’ll see Wolvey fighting alongside Cap and the gang anytime terribly soon, but he is an Avenger nonetheless, and is the only one who could match Raph in rage. Plus, Ralph’s 3-tined sai are a great analog for Wolverine’s adamantium claws.
Another choice outside the cinematic core four, and again, with good reason. Being the youngest of his team, Michelangelo tends to be the most wise-cracking, much like Spider-Man. Not to mention, through most of the original TMNT cartoon, Mikey used a grappling hook instead of nunchucks, much like Spidey’s webs, making another great weapons parallel.
There are a lot of ways this isn’t right, but there are probably just as many that it is. Donatello is a genius. While he doesn’t possess the charisma or ego of Tony Stark, he is more than capable of designing and building advanced weaponry to help his team stay ahead technologically.
Master Splinter/Nick Fury
April O’Neill/Black Widow
The two primary human allies of the Turtles work great as the two non-super powered members of the Avengers. April has red hair, black widow has red hair; and Casey… Helps… Them… Like Hawkeye helps the avengers… Ok so maybe it’s a little weak, so what?
In the 1980s cartoon Leatherhead appeared as a villain, but the character of Leatherhead began in the comics as an ally of the Turtles. The current Nicktoon series happens to be my favorite (and most familiar) iteration of the character, so i will use him as my reference point. Leatherhead, like Bruce Banner, is a very sensitive creature. But, like the Hulk, is volatile, and his great size and strength cast him as a monster. He is deeply wounded, and when he becomes enraged, he can become a danger to his friends. Seeking seclusion, he has since learned to manage his rage and fights alongside the Turtles, helping them many times.