The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have their very own version of Alien’s Xenomorphs, and these ‘space bugs’ are far more terrifying than the original.
There aren’t many similarities between the Alien universe and that of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles–sure, both are technically science fiction complete with aliens and robots, but the world of Alien has one thing TMNT does not: Xenomorphs. However, TMNT does have a species of space bugs akin to Xenomorphs that surpass Alien’s iconic monster in every single way.
The Xenomorph was first introduced in the 1979 film Alien, though it arguably wouldn’t become the Sci-Fi icon it is today until after the 1986 sequel, Aliens. While Alien introduced the Xenomorph as a mysterious being of chaos and death akin to the ideas of cosmic horror made popular by H.P. Lovecraft, Aliens turned the beast into a legitimate alien species. Aliens revealed that the Xenomorphs had a Queen which they shared something of a psychic hive mind connection with, they had a caste system complete with ‘Drone’ and ‘Warrior’ positions any given Xenomorph would fill, and the extent of their invasive nature was fully realized. Essentially, Aliens turned the Xenomorphs into the creatures fans know and fear today–and nearly every aspect of their species is shared by a similar one in TMNT (but way more heightened).
TMNT’s Malignoid Swarm is Just Like Alien’s Xenomorphs (But Scarier)
In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #75 (written by Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, and Tom Waltz with art by Cory Smith, Mateus Santolouco, Chris Johnson, and Damian Courceiro), the Ninja Turtles find themselves in Dimension X as they prepare to testify against General Krang for his war crimes. Meanwhile, the planet they’re on, Planet Neutrino, is being attacked by a villain called Queen Maligna and her brood, the Malignoid Swarm. The Malignoid are a species of giant, sentient bugs who all follow the command of their queen, Maligna, through their hive-mind system. These bugs can fly through space, are advanced enough to create and operate spaceships capable of interstellar travel, and only have one goal in the cosmos: invade every planet they come across.
Not only are the Malignoid chitinous alien creatures similar to Xenomorphs, but their hierarchy and cosmic purpose is exactly the same as the Xenomorphs as well. The Malignoid do the bidding of their queen, just like the Xenomorphs, and they just want to take over any world they find themselves on–again, just like the Xenomorphs. However, where they differ is exactly where it becomes clear that the Malignoid are infinitely more terrifying. The Malignoid are capable of speech, meaning they are aware that what they’re doing is a cosmic atrocity yet continue to do it anyway, unlike the Xenomorphs who are little more than animals operating on base survival instinct. Plus, the Malignoid have the capacity for independent interstellar travel while the Xenomorphs either need to be brought to an alien world or catch a ride on a spaceship–with both of those options giving the Xenomorphs no choice in their destination, unlike the Malignoid.
The Malignoid are unarguably the more advanced species of ‘space bugs’, but they also have one natural ability that is the same as the Xenomorph, but with one major upgrade: the Malignoid can not only survive in space like the Xenomorph, they can fly through it. The Malignoid have spaceships, but this issue proves that they don’t necessarily need them. TMNT’s alien bugs are more than capable of soaring through the cosmos at will. Sure, a Xenomorph may survive the vacuum, but they are stuck drifting aimlessly forever in the vastness of outer space. The Malignoid are technologically advanced, consciously sinister, and biologically superior to the Xenomorphs while also sharing every one of the Xenomorphs’ scariest aspects–proving that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ space bugs makes Alien’s Xenomorphs look pathetic.