Donatello is the turtle that is most often overlooked in comparison to his brothers. He's generally not as goofy as Michelangelo, nor as emotionally-intense as Raphael, or as motivated to lead as Leonardo. Donatello is generally the most passive and intelligent of the brothers and is often more of a pacifist than a fighter. His combat skills are exceptional, of course, due to his training, but he just isn't as effective a fighter as his brothers. Where Donatello's most badass moments are concerned usually revolve around his genius, cleverness, and influence on his team. Here are 10 examples of the most badass things Donatello of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has done.
10 He was the first to master the Dragon transformation
The "lost" season of the 2003 animated adaptation of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is referred to as the "Ninja Tribunal" arc. During this arc, the turtles are recruited by ancient ninja masters, along with four humans to deal with a major threat. In order to combat this threat, a Tengu that was the original Shredder, the turtles received amulets to channel their chi in order to develop mystical avatars. Donny, despite not being much for the spiritual, was the most focused of the brothers and was the first to summon his dragon avatar.
9 He was shrunk... and used it for espionage!
During the fourth volume of the Mirage series, Donatello along with some others including the Utrom is shrunk down to the size of an action figure.
After solving a conflict between stranded Utrom and mutant lizards, Donatello was unable to be brought back to proper size due to his mutant genetics. To deal with this, Donatello converted an android body to use like a mecha-suit until the Utrom could figure out a solution to his shrunken condition. Donatello's small size, however, also allowed him to infiltrate the lair of Yogu and capture his gang.
8 He nearly died and came back as a robot
Donatello famously nearly died in issue #44 of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ongoing from IDW. Dying isn't really badass, but his managing to hold on and get his soul ported to a robot form definitely counts. Donatello, with the help of some friends, was able to remain conscious inside the programming of Metalhead. During the final battle against Shredder's forces in the "Vengeance" arc, Donatello/Metalhead self-destructs, and Don reappears in the flesh with a metal shell and staff.
7 He was worthy of cosmic awareness
The Archie Comics TMNT series, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures was loosely based on the first animated series. During the "Black Hole Trilogy" (issues #48-50) the turtles travel through Dimension X. During an attack Donatello is abducted by a group of aliens known as the Sons of Silence. Donatello is able to communicate with them telepathically, and by the end of the arc, the smartest turtle also unlocks his mind to cosmic awareness. It doesn't last past the arc, however. The Sons of Silence were manipulating the turtle for their own, mysterious ends.
6 He became a cyborg
There is something about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles adaptations and trying to main, transform, or generally incapacitate the team's most intelligent asset. The Image comics run of TMNT is very much about this tradition. Most of the turtles suffered in this non-canon volume of the series; Raphael gets scarred and Leonardo loses a hand. Donatello, however, had his shell broken after getting dropped from a helicopter. He then merged with a living armor, becoming a cyborg for the rest of the volume. Throughout the Image-run Donatello would be more aggressive and violent.
This happened again in one of the final episodes of the 2012 TMNT animated series in a dark, post-apocalyptic future. In Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Donatello has a "battle-shell" to make up for his species' soft shell.
5 He figured out the location of the Bat-Cave
The Batman vs Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film features the meeting of Gotham's Dark Knight and the Hamato Clan. The turtles track Shredder to Gotham City and encounter the Batman, only to be defeated by him. While regrouping and planning their next steps, Donatello manages to develop an algorithm that allows him to triangulate the position of Batman's lair through sightings around Gotham. Donatello and his brothers then casually swim right into the Batcave, complete with Donatello pointing out a number of security vulnerabilities.
4 He killed the Shredder
The turtles famously defeated Shredder, their most iconic foe, in their very first appearance back in Mirage's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1. However, the turtle who landed the actual final blow was Donatello. Shredder was at first defeated with a team effort, however, when given a chance to commit seppuku by Leonardo, Shredder instead pulls out a grenade! Donatello uses his bo-staff to knock Shredder, and his thermite grenade off of the roof where the group waged battle.
3 He invented an interdimensional portal device
The Turtles Forever animated film was a celebration of until then was the complete history of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, prior to the IP being purchased by Nickelodeon.
The film united the 1987 animated turtles, the 2003 animated turtles, and even the original Mirage Comics turtles in an adventure. Donatello has a key role to play in the film as the 2003 and 1987 incarnations of the character develop a "dimensional portal stick" which 2003 Donatello begrudgingly develops, finding the whole idea to be rather scientifically impossible.
2 He keeps the team together
Donatello is just about every continuity is the second-in-command after Leonardo. Since leadership is Leo's defining trait, Donatello's ingenuity and balanced nature often are what keeps the team together in times of crisis. One example of this plays out in the 2003 animated series episode "Same as it Never Was." During this episode, a time-displaced Donatello journeys through a Foot-dominated New York of the Future and reunites his disparate brothers. Without Donatello, the clan simply fell apart. With Donatello, they finally could defeat the Shredder, though the victory is pyrrhic at best.
1 He journeyed with Jack Kirby
Donatello, like the other Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, has had a few solo outings throughout the franchise's publishing history. Mirage Comics' Donatello #1, however, is a special case. Donatello goes on an adventure with a fictionalized tribute to Jack "the King" Kirby, a true comics icon.
During this issue, Donatello meets an artist named Kirby with a magic crystal that can bring drawings to life. The pair find themselves entering the story that Kirby is illustrating and help the heroes fend off the evil creatures. The issue ends with a bitter-sweet moment between the turtle and the artist that should be experienced by all comic fans.