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By: Hess Sahlollbey
While we might still be over a month away from seeing Superman and Batman together for the first time on the big screen, a team-up of more epic proportions is already playing out in the pages of Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
With Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 on the verge of release later this year, the recently released six-part monthly miniseries also figures as an excellent appetizer to whet your appetite on.
The story begins in Gotham City where evil ninjas from the Foot Clan have been committing raids on scientists and researchers. Somehow they’ve crossed over to another dimension and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are hot on their trail. The Batman of Gotham might not be able to get along with the TMNT, but they’re all going to have to work together if they’re going to stop Shredder, Killer Croc and a host of other villains who have also teamed up to threaten the fabric of reality.
Written by long-time Batman scribe James Tynion IV, I knew that the properties were in the hands of a more than talented writer. The same can also be said of star artist Freddie Williams II. While I’m personally not a fan of his writing, his work in Robin, Captain Atom and authoring the phenomenal DC Comics Guide to Digitally Drawing Comics meant that the project was in competent hands. However, I was still sceptical and feared that I wouldn’t enjoy the serious; fortunately, I was wrong on both fronts. Not only is the characterization fully intact for the Dark Knight, but the wacky antics of the Ninja Turtles allows the two groups to have excellent chemistry as their conflicts progress.
Seeing the serious and gritty Batman deal with the immature Michelangelo, the temperamental Raphael or even the nerdy Donatello more than validates the cost of admission for this series. Freddie Williams II style of art makes this series fall perfectly in line with the 1980’s TMNT TV series and James Tynion IV keeps thing simple with a plot that’s not too convoluted. The Sci-Fi elements of how the Turtles ended up in Batman’s universe is played down to ensure a more fun book with witty dialogue.
The plot however is not without its faults. Too often, James IV takes his time and far too frequently bogs down the narrative by having overly long segments of narration and inner-monologue. This is in stark contrast to the sense of urgency that the Turtles have to return to their own world and creates a very choppy pace.
On the surface, this crossover seems like the kind of fantasy we all had growing up. Reading this story instantly created a sense of nostalgia, taking me back to elementary school where Batman and the Ninja Turtles reigned supreme in the thoughts and dialogues of my friends. I could never have imagined how well the crossover could be done, especially since I can vividly remember the TMNT/Power Rangers TV Special from 18 years ago.
This a golden age to be a fan of comics. We have the privilege of seeing the characters we loved as children reach greater and greater heights in contemporary pop culture. So far, three issues have been released with a trade paperback containing the whole story scheduled for mid-July.