Trained by their master Splinter, these four turtles have been fighting the foot clan in New York city for decades and eating all the pizzas in city has to offer.

In many iterations of TMNT, there is turbulence between the brothers and if you’re a fan just getting into the world of mutant ninjas, you might have trouble figuring out…

Who Is The Leader Of The Ninja Turtles?

In every adaptation, Leonardo is the leader of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Leonardo is the sword wielding oldest brother with the blue bandana.

But it’s not just because he’s the oldest of his brothers, he’s also the most prepared and has the clearest mind in the most complicated situations. The four turtles indeed complement each other perfectly, although without Leonardo’s guidance things would be quite complicated for him.

Some may argue that the position of head of the family still belongs to Splinter, the mutant rat who adopted them when they were just little kids. In some stories where Splinter dies, Leonardo becomes the ultimate leader.

TMNT Leader Leonardo

Why Is Leonardo The Leader Of The Turtles?

Leonardo didn’t exactly earn his leadership title by being the most heroic. You see, his mind is cooler than it seems, but that’s the way it should be. 

In contrast to Raphael, who tends to follow his emotions to save everyone like Spider-Man, Leonardo recognizes that some sacrifices must be made if they wish to see another day. 

An example of this can be found in TMNT issue #86 published in 2018, in which the Ultroms and Triceratons are suddenly threatened by the forces of Agent Bishop. 

Of course, Leonardo summons his brothers to save the species that could become extinct, although Raphael was the last to show up, as he was rescuing a lady from muggers.

That’s right, while Leonardo left the city to prioritize the survival of two races, Raphael was on patrol to make sure everyone was safe and sound. 

Who Is The Second In Command Of The Turtles?

Raphael is the second and command. Raphael is very opinionated and there have been several stories where he has questioned Leonardo’s leadership.

Since being the second oldest and the physically largest turtle, he has the right profile to take the reins while Leonardo is unable to.

TMNT Raph with sai

Of course, that’s if we only take into account his physical prowess and his combat ability, since his brain is not much in control. Raphael is impulsive and wants to solve everything with blows, qualities that have made him confront the more mature and disciplined Leonardo on more than one occasion, although behind that rudeness there is a kind heart that wants to protect the team at all costs.

In the first comics of the 80s, Donatello, the brains of the group, was the second in command, since Raphael’s temperament was not suitable for that position. Surprising as it may seem, the childish Michelangelo could drive Raphael off his rocker with just a few jokes. Well, let’s face it, Michelangelo can get on the nerves of even the most serene person.

Final Thoughts On The Leadership Of The TMNT

Whether you are Team Leo or Team Raph, it’s clear that Leonardo is the official leader of the Ninja Turtles. He is skilled in Ninjutsu, has confidence, a sense of responsibility, and is capable of making sacrifices for the greater good, an indispensable characteristic when facing hordes of ninjas, aliens, and mutants. 

But we still wonder what if Michelangelo were to take charge, at least for a few minutes… Spoiler: it all goes wrong but at least there will be pizza.