I love this crazy bastard. At least, in theory.
During the height of Turtlemania, specifically in the year 1990 – shortly after the first film was released in theaters – we were introduced to a new concept that’s also as old as time:
What if one of the Hero Turtles was EVIL?
The back of Slash’s package describes him best:
In an attempt to fight fire with fire, Shredder created the perfect Turtle terror – a ninja nemesis from Dimension X named – Slash. This snarling, snapping mutant menace is the total opposite of our beloved Turtle Teens. He’s a crazed carnivorous cannibal who only eats tender Turtle tenderloin – even for breakfast!
This anti-Turtle teen slashes his way through the sewers on a maniacal mission of mass destruction. Armed with his Psycho Sai and one good eye, Slash skewers anything that’s good and green. This mad monster hates everything the Turtles love: pizzas, parties and pranks. Allied with Shredder, Slash won’t rest until he’s devoured our green Teens. His spiked knee and elbow pads and horned shell keep Slash a cut above the rest.
And Slash came with twisted versions of each of the Turtles’ trademark accessories: Leo’s swords are replaced with the Razor-Spiked Gnarly Knife, Mike’s nunchaku are replaced with a Nasty Nunchaku complete with a spiked chain, Don’s bo staff is replaced with the Mutant Mace, and Raph’s sai is replaced with the Psycho Sai. Even the “S” on his belt buckle is backwards, further establishing him as a twisted mirror version of the heroes.
In short, the toy for Slash was fucking AWESOME. He was like Venom, the evil version of Spider-Man, but for the Ninja Turtles! I couldn’t wait until he appeared in the cartoon!
And then he did, and was a complete joke. An idiot obsessed with a plastic palm tree, he was stronger than all the other Turtle Teens, but was about as smart as tapioca pudding. And what’s with all the high-tech gear? I just… this isn’t what I expected.
Slash also appeared in the Archie Comics series, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures, and its spin-off, The Mighty Mutanimals. There he was smarter than his cartoon counterpart, and was obsessed with murder. And palm trees. And punishing those who polluted the environment. Hrm. Better than the cartoon, and he looked more like the toy. But…again, not what I was expecting.
Early previews for the 2nd film in 1991, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, previewed an evil turtle with a spiked shell! Maybe I’d finally get the awesome version of Slash that I imagined? Sadly, that turned out to be Tokka, a brand-new villain created specifically for the movie. Sigh. I mean, Tokka and his buddy Rahzar turned out to be cool and all, but still not what I expected from Slash.
Slash also appeared in two of the TMNT video games, both from 1992. First was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project on the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System, where he was a mini-boss on stage 3. This appearance was pretty cool, although he was kind of easy to beat.
Slash next was a boss on the Super Nintendo version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time, in the stage Prehistoric Turtlesaurus. This was a vast improvement in character choice over the arcade version’s boss for that stage, Cement Man, an obscure monster who appeared in one episode of the cartoon and literally nowhere else, ever. And he’s tough-as-nails here, as you can only hit him from behind! I’m pretty good at this game, and he still usually kills me once or twice. This is about as close to the vision of Slash I initially imagined.
Since I’ve never really been happy with any of Slash’s appearances, I figured I’d just have to make my own version. So I took one of the 1990 toys, and painted him up:
Pale green, all mucked up, and armed with his Psycho Sai like in Turtles in Time, my Slash is the evil, brutal version that the original toy packaging inspired in my eight-year-old brain. Rotting wood on his shoulder pads, with disgusting teeth to match, my vision of Slash is crazed and powerful enough to take on all four Turtles at once, and come out on top.
And then he’d eat all their pizza. AND HATE IT.