This article may need to be rewritten to comply with Wikipedia's quality standards. (December 2021)
|First appearance||Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #4 (Feb. 1988)|
|Created by||Jim Lawson|
|Team affiliations||The Pantheon|
|Notable aliases||Monster, Ghost, The Rat, Ha'ntaan, The Slayer, The Ultimate Slayer, Dr. Victor Falco|
|Abilities||Capable of communicating with and telepathically controlling rats|
Enhanced speed and agility
Inhuman healing factor
The Rat King is a fictional character from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles multimedia franchise. The character was created by Jim Lawson and first appeared in the comic Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #4 written by Jim Lawson and has made various appearances since, in the comic books and other media, such as animated series and video games.
Born and raised in Boston and later migrated to New York, the Rat King remains one of the more enigmatic characters in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, with various appearances depicting him as either a villain, a neutral character or even an ally to the titular team. The Rat King has apparent telepathic influence over rats.
In the Mirage Studios Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics, the Rat King makes his first appearance in Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #4 as the story's main antagonist. After residing in a swamp for several months, the Rat King (who remains unnamed until the end of the issue) decides to venture into a nearby abandoned industrial park and use it as shelter against the oncoming winter. There, the Rat King happens upon the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and their friend Casey Jones, who had come to the industrial park to train. Believing the Turtles and Casey to be other "monsters" who wish to take his territory, the Rat King proceeds to stalk them throughout the park, even capturing Michelangelo and leaving him to be devoured by the rats (Michelangelo later escapes). The Rat King is eventually defeated by Leonardo who, in a duel with the Rat King, flings several shurikens at him, which knock him off balance, sending him plummeting into a silo.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987–1996)
Despite being a minor character in the Mirage comics at the time of its initial airing, the Rat King (voiced by Townsend Coleman) is featured as a recurring character in the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series, being one of the few villains from the Mirage comics to make the transition into the cartoon (the others being the Shredder, The Foot Clan, the Triceratons, and Dr. Stockman). The cartoon counterpart of the Rat King was somewhat inconsistent in some regards to his comic version, being shown with blonde or orange hair instead of black and having a slightly altered costume; his first few appearances on the show also had him controlling rats with a flute (à la The Pied Piper of Hamelin) instead of his mind as in later episodes. Even Splinter was affected by the music and almost killed the TMNT in a fight. The cartoon version of the Rat King was also depicted as highly intelligent, shown to be able to create such things as various chemical concoctions and bombs.
In Archie Comics Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures series, the Rat King is given the name Lord Ha'ntaan. The Rat King's first appearance in the Archie Comics is in issue eleven, where the Turtles encounter him while searching for the Shredder in the sewers. The Rat King allows the Turtles to pass him unhindered and tells them where the Shredder is, after Leonardo proves that he and his brothers mean him and his rat subjects no harm.
The Rat King has an extended role in "The Future Shark Trilogy", which reveals him to be still active several decades in the future (showing no signs of having aged at all). After the future version of Donatello exterminated most of the world's rat population, in a future where floods following global warming causing rats to enter the houses in the towns, the Rat King declares war on him and his allies for killing so many of his "children". Though mentioned throughout "The Future Shark Trilogy", the Rat King only appears in person in the story-arc's last issue, which has him engaging in a battle royal with the Turtles, their allies and several other villains. The Rat King is defeated in the issue after Verminator X accidentally floods the room everyone is in, washing the Rat King and his rats away.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003–2009)
In the 2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Rat King (who is never referred to as such and voiced by David Zen Mansley) appears in the episodes "Bishop's Gambit" and later "I, Monster", which is an adaptation of his first appearance in the Mirage Comics. Flashbacks reveal the character as "Slayer", Agent Bishop's prototype clone/super soldier mixed with Splinter's DNA. After a fight floods Bishop's lab, he retreats to the sewers with no memories and battles the Turtles again. Instead of dying like in the comics, the Rat King survives the fall into the silo after his fight with Leonardo.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012–2017)
The Rat King appeared in the 2012 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon, voiced by Jeffrey Combs. In this series' season 1, the Rat King was introduced as Victor Falco, a scientist working on a neurochemical that allows him to read thoughts, and ultimately, to anticipate every move the Turtles make. After an experiment leaves him disfigured, he leaves for the sewers to plan his revenge on the Turtles by mind controlling Splinter, until he and his armies were stopped. In season 2, after the Mutagen rain that New York had, several containers of Mutagen fell on the city. The Rat King obtained one of these containers and began to perform experiments on his rats, mutating them. The Rat King's plan is to make an army of human rats like Splinter to conquer the city. In the final battle, the Rat King is defeated by being thrown into the Undercity by Splinter. In season 4, the Rat King returns from surviving the fall, using his mind games against Splinter again, but by overcoming him, he manages to defeat the Rat King, who is discovered as a skeletal corpse and realizes that everything he had it was nothing more than a hallucination created by his fever.
The Rat King appears as a boss in the Super NES version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time, battling the player using the Footski equipped with missiles and spiked buoys. The Rat King also appears as a boss and unlockable playable character in the Super NES version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters.
The Slayer version of the Rat King from the 2003 animated series also appears as the boss of Episode Two in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3: Mutant Nightmare. It also appears as a recurring boss in the Nintendo DS version, at one point fighting alongside Agent Bishop himself.
The Rat King is the primary foe of the first act of the 2014 3DS game, and functions as the game's second boss.
- Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird (w), Jim Lawson (p), Ryan Brown (i). "I, Monster" Tales of the Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, vol. 1, no. 4 (January, 1988). Mirage Studios.
- Buzz Dixon (writer) (1989-10-10). "Enter the Rat King". Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Season 3. Episode 33. Various.
- David Wise (writer) (1989-11-29). "Leatherhead Meets the Rat King". Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Season 3. Episode 55. Various.
- David Wise (writer) (1994-09-24). "Wrath of the Rat King". Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Season 8. Episode 171. Various.
- Ryan Brown and Dean Clarrain (w), Jim Lawson (p), Gary Fields (i). "White Light" Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures, vol. 1, no. 11 (June, 1990). Archie Comics.
- Chris Allan and Dean Clarrain (w), Chris Allan (p), Brian Thomas (i). "Past Lives" Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures, vol. 1, no. 43 (April, 1993). Archie Comics.
- Chris Allan and Dean Clarrain (w), Chris Allan (p), Jon D'Agostino (i). "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow" Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures, vol. 1, no. 44 (May, 1993). Archie Comics.
- Brandon Sawyer (writer) (2005-10-15). "I, Monster". Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Season 4. Episode 83. 4Kids TV.
- Konami (1991). Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time (Super NES). Konami.
- Konami (2006). Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3: Mutant Nightmare (Xbox, PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube and Nintendo DS). Konami.