Anyone out there reading the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Micro-Series? It’s kind of a companion series that gets further into the main characters of the TMNT comic being run by IDW. They’ve had one for each of the turtles and for Splinter. Some of them furthered the story that’s happening in the primary series and others have just focused on the individuals and their character growth.
The one about Casey Jones this week was about Casey Jones’ personal growth. I can’t speak much to the former version of Casey Jones but in this IDW reboot, he is a college student on a hockey scholarship that is struggling with his grades. But the reason isn’t because he’s not smart. It’s because he spends his nights putting on a hockey mask and beating the ever-loving hell out of the ne’er-do-wells that take advantage of people in his city.
Maybe it’s not the most original story ever told but that’s not what makes Casey so compelling. And, frankly, even the rest of his story isn’t very original but it tugged at all the right heartstrings for me. See, Casey’s father is a drunken, abusive man. We learn that right away in his appearance in TMNT, where Raphael saves him from a particularly bad beating. But what we don’t really understand at that point is why doesn’t he fight back or defend himself. I mean, yes, there’s the obvious “he’s my dad” angle, of course, and I don’t mean to demean that as an idea. I really don’t. But I wasn’t entirely convinced that it was the only reason.
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Micro-Series #6 explores the depth of the relationship between Casey Jones and his father, Arnold. Mrs. Jones, Casey’s mother and Arnold’s wife, is dying of cancer, leaving behind an unstable man and his strong son. Mrs. Jones constantly assures Casey that he is a stronger man than his father is and begs for her son to take care of Arnold, no matter what.
So there’s the motivation. Also, there’s a short little memory that Casey shares, about his father taking him out to the ice as a child, handing him a hockey mask, and teaching him to love the sport of hockey. And then, afterwards, he took him out for hot chocolate. So there’s a glimmer of something good, even though Casey did admit that his old man had been drinking, there was some affection in that memory.
I think it’s that memory, coupled with a promise made to his mother, that prevents Casey from using all the skills he’s developed on the streets and on the ice. He witnesses his father being bullied by some loan sharks for money owed on bets. Or maybe not loan sharks. I don’t really understand the seedy underbelly of gambling, to be honest, but from what I imagine, these guys can be pretty nasty.
Casey does what any good son would do: he calls in his Ninja Turtle buddy to stake out the debt collectors at a bar and stop them from beating some random gambler and demands that they leave Arnold Jones alone as well. A job well done, Casey goes home to find his father, who doesn’t appreciate his “smart mouth” and proceeds to beat the hell out of him, having no idea to what extent his son has helped him.
Casey then goes back to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, who love and accept him for who his is, no matter what. They’re his family.
I’m a sappy girl and I don’t mind admitting that I cried a little for young Mr. Casey Jones. Struggling with school and family doesn’t stop Casey from just doing the right thing. Nothing stops Casey from doing the right thing. He is a hero and I hope to God he gets away from his dad
and gets to call Splinter father.