Sunday, February 24, 2013

The IDW TMNT continuity timeline

Ever since completing my Mirage TMNT reading order and Archie TMNT Adventures reading order, some folks asked that I do the same for the IDW TMNT series, which has been growing increasingly more complicated.  I didn’t bother at first, as someone else was already working on it!

Users "ToTheNines" and "Chris" over at The Technodrome Forums have been maintaining this thread with help not only from fans but from IDW’s TMNT editor Bobby Curnow.  Curnow has been a great resource, taking things like chronological order seriously (something few editors particularly care about) and openly answering questions about issue placement over in this thread at the IDW Forums.

Still, for convenience, I’ll maintain a version here on TMNT Entity.  Unlike "ToTheNines’s" version, though, I prefer to try and break clusters of issues up by either story arcs or “eras” rather than years of publication.  For this version, I’ll group everything around the main arcs represented by the trade paperbacks (and storyline titles come from the trade paperbacks, as the issues themselves are untitled).


TMNT #1 (review)
TMNT #2 (review)
TMNT #3 (review)
TMNT #4 (review)
TMNT 30th Anniversary Special - "A Lot to Learn" (review)


TMNT #5 (review)
Micro-Series #1: Raphael (review)
Micro-Series #2: Michelangelo (review)
TMNT #6 (review)
Micro-Series #3: Donatello (review)
Infestation 2: TMNT #1 (review)
Infestation 2: TMNT #2 (review)
TMNT #7 (review)
TMNT #8 (review)


Micro-Series #4: Leonardo (review)
TMNT #9 (review)
TMNT #10 (review)
Micro-Series #5: Splinter (review)
TMNT #11 (review)
TMNT #12 (review)


Micro-Series #6: Casey Jones (review)
TMNT #13 (review)
TMNT #14 (review)
TMNT Annual 2012 (review)
Micro-Series #7: April (review)
TMNT #15 (review)
TMNT #16 (review)


Micro-Series #8: Fugitoid (review)
TMNT #17 (review)
TMNT #18 (review)
TMNT #19 (review)
TMNT #20 (review)
Villains Micro-Series #1: Krang (review)
Villains Micro-Series #2: Baxter (review)


The Secret History of the Foot Clan #1 (review)
The Secret History of the Foot Clan #2 (review)
The Secret History of the Foot Clan #3 (review)
The Secret History of the Foot Clan #4 (review)


TMNT #21 (review)
TMNT #22 (review)
Villains Micro-Series #3: Old Hob (review)
TMNT #23 (review)
TMNT #24 (review)
Villains Micro-Series #4: Alopex (review)
Villains Micro-Series #5: Karai (review)
TMNT #25 (review)
Villains Micro-Series #6: Hun (review)
TMNT #26 (review)
Villains Micro-Series #7: Bebop and Rocksteady (review)
TMNT #27 (review)
TMNT #28 (review)
Villains Micro-Series #8: Shredder (review)


TMNT #29 (review)
Utrom Empire #1 (review)
TMNT #30 (review)
Utrom Empire #2 (review)
TMNT #31 (review)
TMNT #32 (review)
Utrom Empire #3 (review)


TMNT Annual 2014 (review)
TMNT #33 (review)
TMNT #34 (review)
TMNT #35 (review)
TMNT #36 (review)


TMNT #37 (review)
Turtles in Time #1 (review)
Turtles in Time #2 (review)
Turtles in Time #3 (review)
Turtles in Time #4 (review)
TMNT #38 (review)
TMNT #39 (review)
TMNT #40 (review)


TMNT/Ghostbusters #1 (review)
TMNT/Ghostbusters #2 (review)
TMNT/Ghostbusters #3 (review)
TMNT/Ghostbusters #4 (review)


TMNT #41 (review)
TMNT #42 (review)
TMNT #43 (review)
Mutanimals #1 (review)
TMNT #44 (review)
Mutanimals #2 (review)
Mutanimals #3 (review)
Mutanimals #4 (review)


TMNT #45 (review)
Free Comic Book Day 2015 (review)
TMNT #46 (review)
TMNT #47 (review)
Casey & April #1 (review)
TMNT #48 (review)
TMNT #49 (review)
TMNT #50 (review)
Casey & April #2 (review)
Casey & April #3 (review)
Casey & April #4 (review)


The placement of issues outside the ongoing series is fairly intuitive and many of the issues come with notes on the interior cover telling you where the story goes.  Still, a few of them can be a little confusing, so as always, click “review” and scroll down to “Turtle Tips” for a full reasoning of placement.  For this article, though, I’ll summarize a few of the oddities:

TMNT MICRO-SERIES: Most of these one-shots came with notes on the inside cover from editor Bobby Curnow explaining where they slot-in in regards to the ongoing series.  In the case of TMNT Micro-Series #7: April, the note on the inside cover places it between TMNT #12 and TMNT #13.  Curnow later explained that between TMNT #14 and TMNT #15 was a better placement.

INFESTATION 2: Infestation 2 was an event that affected multiple IDW titles without actually requiring any crossovers.  The event began in Infestation 2 #1, ran through the title-based Infestation 2 miniseries, then ended in Infestation 2 #2.  The Turtles do not appear in the main Infestation 2 miniseries beyond the covers and a brief appearance in a montage, so as such I felt no need to include those issues in this timeline.  The events of the Infestation 2: TMNT storyline are self-contained and thus far have not been referenced in any other issues.  The issues were also excluded from the TMNT: The IDW Collection Vol. 1 hard cover, making fans question their canonicity.

HERO COMICS 2012: “Ready Set Go!” was a short comic by Kevin Eastman published in IDW’s charity book Hero Comics 2012 #1.  It was reprinted in the TMNT 30th Anniversary Special where it was designated as being a part of the Mirage universe, rather than the IDW universe.

UTROM EMPIRE and NORTHAMPTON: The events of the Utrom Empire and Northampton arcs occur concurrently with one another.  The Turtles play a minor part in Utrom Empire, with their scenes taking place at different times throughout the Northampton storyline.  Their scenes in Utrom Empire #3 actually take place before and after TMNT #32.  Personally, I'd recommend reading all of Utrom Empire AFTER Northampton, just because the storylines would flow better that way.

X-FILES CONSPIRACY: For those wondering why that issue is not included in my timeline, the events of the X-Files: Conspiracy event were rendered non-canon by the last issue of the miniseries, essentially relegating the chapters to an alternate universe.  As a result, the X-Files/TMNT: Conspiracy comic is retroactively non-canon (which may be for the best, as the issue contained several irreconcilable errors in continuity).

TURTLES IN TIME: According to Curnow, the 2014 TMNT Annual takes place between issues #32 and #33, while the Turtles in Time miniseries takes place concurrently with #37.  It can be read either before or after that one-shot issue of the ongoing, as that story doesn't feature the Turtles in it at all.

MUTANIMALS: The events of the Mutanimals miniseries spin directly out of TMNT #43 and then proceed to go in their own direction separate from the storyline of Attack on Technodrome.  For reading purposes, as with Utrom Empire and Northampton, I'd recommend reading Mutanimals after finishing Attack on Technodrome.

VENGEANCE: According to Curnow, the Free Comic Book Day special, "Prelude to Vengeance" is intended to be read before TMNT #46 but occurs concurrently with that issue (so despite being titled "prelude" it actually takes place between chapters 1 and 2 of that arc).

APRIL & CASEY: This miniseries spins out of TMNT #47.  As always, I'd recommend reading it altogether AFTER "Vengeance" instead of disrupting that arc's narrative flow.


Anonymous said...

Brilliant job with this list! The reading order can be a bit confusing for new fans, so I always use this to show them where the micro issues fit in. Thanks!

Mark Pellegrini said...


Thanks for the feedback, man!

Anonymous said...

this is absolutely brilliant.

Robert said...

so the utrom will be before the northhampton? interesting.

Mark Pellegrini said...


I *think* Utrom Alliance is only going to feature Krang, Baxter, Fugitoid and the Neutrinos and will be a side story away from the TMNT (hence why it can slot between TMNT arcs). I could be wrong, though, and I may move it around once it comes out. But I believe Bobby said that's where it goes, if my memory isn't betraying me...

Anonymous said...

Thanks a bunch for this list, it helped a lot. IDW's TMNT is like the first actual western comic series I've ever gotten into so a lot of this side story stuff is really unintuitive to me.

Anonymous said...

You might want to add TMNT Annual 2012 right before City Fall.

Zeph101 said...

As someone whose only being collecting the trades, I cannot tell you how useful this guide has been. Thanks for this Mark.

Michale M. said...

Soul's Winter was just released (12/02/14) in hardcover format under IDW. Where does this fit on the timeline? Which timeline?

Mark Pellegrini said...

@Michale M.

"Souls Winter" was a storyline from Mirage's TMNT Volume 1, IDW is just reprinting it with new colors.

But even as a Mirage story, it was deliberately an alternate universe take on the TMNT, unconnected to any other incarnation.