|“||Through your eyes brothers, I finally see the world for what it really is, this city is invested. 8 million parasites scrambling around in their pointless lives spreading disease. Forcing us to live in the shadows like vermin, no more.||„|
|~ Falco to his rat army.|
|“||I am The Rat King!||„|
|~ Falco taking on his new identity.|
Dr. Victor Falco, better known as the Rat King, is one of the main antagonists in the 2012 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. This version of the character has a more malnourished and corpse-like appearance, wearing a plague doctor-inspired costume of a black cloak and a wide-brimmed hat.
He was voiced by Jeffrey Combs who also voiced Brainiac.
Rat King started out as a human scientist named "Dr. Victor Falco", and debuted in the episode "Monkey Brains". He and his colleague Dr. Tyler Rockwell were working on an experiment that involved Mutagen, a neuro-chemical, and monkey DNA when they were approached by the Kraang. When it was mentioned on the news that Dr. Tyler Rockwell was missing, Dr. Falco alluded that he was oblivious to the situation.
Falco pretended to help April O'Neil and the Turtles and gain their trust. The Turtles later figured out what Dr. Falco was really doing experiments with mutagen on his former colleague Dr. Tyler Rockwell, turning the latter into a mutant ape with psychic powers. Falco gained the same psychic powers temporarily by extracting a neuro-chemical from the mutant's brain and injecting himself with it. With his new power, Falco was able to defeat the Turtles in combat by reading their thoughts and predicting their moves. Donatello finally defeated him by fighting without thinking, but Falco escaped before the Turtles could ask him what he knew about The Kraang.
In "I, Monster", Falco was shown living in hiding, and continued to work on his psychic neuro-chemical in a secret laboratory with only sewer rats to experiment on. One day, the rats chewed through some cables and started a fire in the lab. Falco was injured by the flames, but the neuro-chemical splattered on him, giving him a psychic connection to rats. Falco used his new ability to control the rats in his lab and they saved him from the fire. Some time later, Falco went into hiding in the sewers, nicknamed himself as The Rat King, and began plotting to use his powers to take over New York City. He launched a full scale assault on the city with his hoards of rats. Eventually Rat King became aware of Splinter through telepathy. Knowing that the Turtles would come to stop him, Rat King used psychological warfare to control Splinter's mind. When Splinter fights the turtles, they became overconfident because they were actually able to land a blow on him, but soon realized that Splinter was going easy on them all those years. They manage to snap him out of it and Splinter beats Rat King with two fingers. Rat King was last seen being carried off by his rats.
He returns in "Of Rats And Men". Where had mutated several of his rats into giant-sized versions of themselves and had them kidnap humans to experiment on. He plotted to mutate the entire city of New York into rat people who would spread a mutation virus that would mutate anyone they bit, similar to the black plague. The turtles manage to save his victims, leaving Splinter to face him. After rendering him unable to see, by knocking off the white rat on his shoulder, Splinter sent the Rat King plummeting to his supposed death.
In "The Super Shredder" Rat King was mentioned by Donatello when Splinter and Super Shredder took their fight to the Undercity.
He reappears in the episode "Darkest Plight". After Splinter falls down into the same chasm that the Rat King did long ago, they encounter each other at the bottom of it, being equally surprised by each others ability to survive. As the anthropomorphized rodent is unable to move because of his injuries, he stays put and listens while Falco once again tries to recruit him to his army. The king suggests that he succumbs to his instincts and regains his stamina by eating other rats, but Splinter resists the urge. The game of will's continues, until Yoshi remembers his sons and deceased wife and finds the strength to drive Falco away. Shortly after, Splinter finds an old dusty skeleton dressed in the Rat Kings attire, revealing that the entire encounter was nothing but a nightmare. The ninja-master states condescendingly that Falco may have taught him a useful lesson, but that he would never be his master.
Unlike other incarnation of the Rat King, who either want to take over New York for their rats or just want to be left alone and only attack the turtles when they invade his territory, the 2012 Rat King is a complete sociopath who gleefully causes others harm. When he first appeared, he acted as though concerned about his colleague, but he was the one who mutated him to create neuro-chemical that would make him psychic. After becoming the Rat King, he renounced humanity and became devoted to overthrowing them. During this, he takes over Splinter and watches in sadistic glee when the turtles are forced to fend for their lives against their master. Another difference between him and past Rat King character is that he's a hypocrite with his "brothers". He goes on about rat's being preferable to humans and how much he cares for them, yet he doesn't bat an eye when he experiments on them (one of them became a grotesque blob that was incapable of movement and crying out in pain, yet that didn't bother him) or sacrificing them in battle.
- Mikey tried to call him Verminator, as a homage to the Archie TMNT character, Verminator X
- Michelangelo was extremely annoyed that the Rat King nicknamed himself, as he's the one who usually comes up with the nicknames. He tried numerous alternatives: Lord Rattington, Count Ratula, Verminator, etc. Until he begrudgingly accepts it.
- Victor Falco is also reminiscent of Dr. Victor Feral from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangeness. Like Dr. Falco, Doc Feral is a kind-acting human scientist who secretly performs unethical mutagenic experiments involving animals (as Falco did to Dr. Rockwell), and keeps mutant rats as friends or servants (as does the Rat King).
- Rat King is the name of a phenomena in which many rats get stuck together by their tails.
- Victor Falco is extremely similar to the H.P. Lovecraft character Herbert West, who was portrayed by Falco's voice actor, Jeffrey Combs, in the "Re-Animator" film series. West was a scientist who experimented with a green substance similar in appearance (but not in effect) to the Ooze. As the Rat King, his appearance somewhat resembles the appearance of Scarecrow from The New Batman Adventures (1997), who Combs also voiced.
- The Rat King's outfit (long black coat and black wide-brimmed hat) is nearly identical to the standard outfit worn by medieval plague doctors. This is noteworthy in that the Bubonic plague was spread by fleas being carried by rats.
- Several of the Rat King's giant mutant rats from the episode Of Rats and Men were named after Roman emperors as Caligula, Claudius, Nero and Commodus.
- The Skeletons in TMNT season 2 episode Mazes & Mutants resemble The Rat King.
- The Rat King represents Splinter's inner demon; his fear of losing himself to his animal side.