A Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 Review – City Boys

Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1TITLE: Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1
AUTHOR: James Tynion IV
PENCILLER: Freddie E. Williams II
PUBLISHERS: DC Comics, IDW Publishing
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASED: December 9, 2015

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

By God, it’s Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! After all these years! It’s the team up we’ve always…kinda…sorta wanted…maybe?

Indeed, DC and IDW are in the crossover business again, this time with The Dark Knight and the Heroes in a Half-shell. The Turtles, Splinter, The Foot Clan, and possibly April and Casey (that’s not quite clear) have somehow found themselves transported to Gotham City. The Foot have gotten their hands on several pieces of experimental tech, which suggests they’re building something big and dangerous. Naturally, Batman and the Ninja Turtles have a common enemy. But what sort of team will Batman and the TMNT make?

Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1, title pageThis team up is different than, say, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters, in that it’s driven less by the characters and more by the setting. The Turtles have always been from New York City, and it’s fairly obvious that Gotham is modeled after the Big Apple. That’s what they have in common. That, I think, is where the thought of a Batman/Ninja Turtles crossover has always been rooted.

Pencilling is Freddie E. Williams II, no stranger to Gotham, with a great run on Robin under his belt. That said, his take on Batman’s gear is a little too busy for my taste. He gives him unnecessary shoulder pads, his take on the Grant Morrison/Frank Quitely Batmobile is gaudy, and on the title page (shown right) Batman’s head is a little too small for his body. It’s not his finest hour. That being said, his Ninja Turtles look on-point, as does his Shredder. I also like the texture he brings to his Killer Croc, if not the hunchback look. His layout for pages 3 and 4 is great, with a four large panels spread across the middle, each showing us one of the Turtles draped in shadow. This sequence, and all the others, are given an interesting light from Jeremy Folwell’s paints.

Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #21, DonatelloSeeing James Tynion IV’s name on this book was encouraging. There’ve been times where I’ve enjoyed his work on Batman more than his cohort Scott Snyder’s. But again, oddly enough, the guy with a lot of experience on Batman falters with the Batman side of things. There’s a scene between Bruce and Alfred where our favorite brooding avenger of the night is a bit too chatty for my tastes. There’s a similar issue with Killer Croc, for that matter. The Turtles, on the other hand, come out mostly fine. Tynion takes time in the middle of the Turtles’ fight with Croc to play with the “Are the TMNT aliens?” issue from a few years ago. He manages to make this more charming than annoying, so it gets a pass from me.

I don’t expect any sort of grand magnificence from Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But there’s some mild intrigue here. How does Batman get along with the Turtles and Splinter? What happens when Batman fights The Shredder? Things like that, which are inevitably more fun in your head than they are on the page. But it will be interesting to see Tynion, Williams, and this team take a shot at it.

Images from bleedingcool.com.

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