*Oroku Nagi's attack on Tang Shen and subsequent death at the hands of Hamato Yoshi was seen in TMNT (Vol. 1) #1.
*The Foot Clan’s procedure of killing the entire family of a member for treason will be explored in greater depth in Tales of the TMNT (Vol. 2) #65.
*The town the Turtles visit is unnamed. In TMNT (Vol. 2) #1, Splinter says that his hometown is a village called Chihaya, so that is likely where this story takes place.
Ah, Oroku Nagi; the most superfluous part of the Ninja Turtles’ origin.
I mean, I can see why most adaptations (such as the movies and the current IDW comic) cut him out; it makes for just as strong a revenge theme to have Oroku Saki be the one to menace Tang Shen from the get-go than to create an older brother character to menace her, then have Yoshi kill him, then have Saki swear vengeance, then have Saki kill them both. If anything, the only aspect I like about Nagi’s existence in the Mirage series is that it gave Saki a more “noble” reason for revenge against Yoshi; instead of wanting to kill him for stealing his woman, he wanted to kill him for murdering his brother. TMNT #1 also included narrative text about the Foot Clan warping and manipulating Saki from a young age, robbing him of his innocence to fuel his hatred, but they never explored that concept to any extent and kind of squandered a chance at some tragic depth for the Shredder.
That tangent aside, it was still nice of author Ross May to explore Nagi’s spiritual fate, wrapping things up in a neat little ghost story. While Nagi doesn’t get much character exploration and remains the prop he’s always been, he functions as a pretty good one-shot villain for the story. From a standard haunted house POV, Nagi certainly has reason-enough to be a restless spirit and having him become so adds a nice layer to the overall Mirage TMNT mythology. What got me was that Splinter seemed to hold no grudge against Nagi whatsoever and more or less wished him well after exorcising his spirit. This is a major contrast from the Splinter seen in TMNT #1, who was all about the vengeance against those who wronged his Master Yoshi. It’s clear to see how much Splinter has mellowed since his introduction, and I prefer the wise and humble old sage over the revenge-thirsty master assassin.
It’s interesting to see how Chris Allan's style has developed in the decade and some change since he last drew the TMNT Adventures. While he’s slightly altered his style to better match the Mirage universe, he’s lost none of his aptitude for layouts, poses and just the insane ability to translate the sensation of movement to the static page. His design for Phantom Nagi is really cool, even if the long hair and glowing face reminds me a bit too much of the box cover for “The Thing”. The little girls are cute, too; especially the one that looks like Juniper Lee (HA! Remember that cartoon?). While Allan’s personal schedule kept him from doing too many issues of Tales of the TMNT, and not all the ones he did had scripts this good, his talent is always something to be savored and appreciated.
All in all, I commend Ross May for taking a rather forgettable element of the TMNT’s origin and wringing some story potential out of it. While Nagi doesn’t receive any superior characterization it was still fun to see him make a revenge bid from beyond the grave.
Grade: B (as in, “Beyoooooond the graaaaaaaave…”)