Review: ‘Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II’ #1

Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II Writer: James Tynion IV Artist: Freddie Williams II DC Comics; $3.99 Rated T for Teen Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles may sound like they go together about as well as some of the pizza toppings enjoyed by the latter in their original cartoon iteration—you know, marshmallows and pepperoni, […]

Batman TMNT II Header

Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Freddie Williams II
DC Comics; $3.99
Rated T for Teen

Batman TMNT II 1Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles may sound like they go together about as well as some of the pizza toppings enjoyed by the latter in their original cartoon iteration—you know, marshmallows and pepperoni, or jelly bean and sausage—but readers sure seem to have been gobbling up their comic book crossovers.

This new series is the third such pairing in as many years. Last year IDW published Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures, which teamed versions of the characters from Batman: The Animated Series with versions of those from the then-current TMNT cartoon on Nickelodeon. And in 2015, DC published writer James Tynion IV and artist Freddie Williams II’s initial crossover. This one, as the Roman numeral in the title indicates, is the direct sequel to the original.

The versions of the ever-fluid and open to reinterpretation characters used are the Batman from the current DC Comics and the Turtles from the current IDW comics. As those Turtles have been fraternizing with other comic book characters–including two team-ups with IDW’s Ghostbusters–the meeting is premised on a sci-fi doohickey that allows for inter-dimensional travel not much more complicated than public transportation. The border between the stars’ worlds is pretty permeable, to the point where Batman visiting the Ninja Turtle-verse isn’t much different than the Silver Age Justice League popping over to the Justice Society’s Earth-2 for their annual team-up.

Because The Shredder revealed weakness by teaming up with Batman‘s Ra’s al Ghul in the last go-round, his followers in The Foot Clan are warring among themselves. Meanwhile, on Batman’s world, Ra’s al Ghul’s followers are reacting in much the same way, and they have turned to Bane to lead them instead.

Donatello, who gets pretty beat up in a ninja fight and is feeling blue because he’s not as good a fighter as his brothers, wonders why he can’t be both a brilliant scientist and a superb fighter, like Batman. So he attempts to contact Batman across the dimensional barrier for some advice, and he ends up swapping places with Bane. The next five issues, then, should involve Batman and Robin following Bane to the Turtles’ world and teaming up with them to defeat and capture him. Pretty simple stuff, really.

Freddie Williams II is back on art, here colored by Jeremy Colwell. Williams again proves himself a superior Turtles artist, his big, thick figures and ink-washed and speckled panels recalling their self-published, black-and-white comics roots. Though in color, Williams’ art manages to retain all of the grit of the earliest Turtles comics. His Batman characters aren’t quite the same slam dunk, which is actually sort of surprising, given that Williams has worked on various characters for DC for quite a while before he drew the first issue of the first Batman/TMNT crossover.

Honestly, there’s not much to the first issue of this new series, but then, it’s a rather safe sequel to a hit comic. And if a formula is successful enough, there’s probably not much incentive to change things up all that radically.

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