Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Volume 1 Review (James Tynion IV, Freddie Williams II)


It’s time for a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossover which means someone’s been fucking with a portal causing the Turtles to wind up in a different universe - it happened when they crossed over with the Ghostbusters and it’s happened again with Batman! This time Shredder and the Foot have also gone through the portal and allied themselves with Gotham City’s villains - Batman and the Turtles must team-up to defeat them because that’s what they do! 

James Tynion IV and Freddie Williams II’s crossover (wow, for a republic Americans are really concerned with dynastic namesakes!) is a pretty shallow read. I suppose it needs to be a bit contrived to get these two franchises together but I wish they’d just acknowledge that and get on with the story rather than spend so much time manufacturing a bullshit explanation - and there is a LOT of pointless dialogue about portals and portal technology here, all of it fictional and boring to read! Batman and the Turtles are fighting Shredder and Ra’s Al-Ghul - it’s a ninja slug-fest, have at it and leave it at that! 

The story is no great shakes as a result of the tiresome portal nonsense and the ending fight is silly with a Deus Ex Machina slapped on, but the book definitely has a fair share of cool scenes to enjoy: Batman vs the Turtles, Batman and the Turtles vs Shredder and the Foot, Mikey riding the Batcave’s robot dino, Batman sharing a pizza with the Turtles, Mikey being a nuisance to Alfred around Wayne Manor, Shredder vs Batman, and the Turtles taking the Batmobile out for a joyride. So it basically delivers what fans are looking for in this crossover. 

I also didn’t realise how many similarities there are between the two franchises: Damian/Raph are the temperamental teens, Shredder/Batman are visually alike, Ra’s/Shredder are roughly the same character, ditto the League of Shadows/the Foot, Alfred/Splinter are the doting older father figures or you could view Batman as the father figure and the Robins like the Turtles, and Leo/Batman are the fearless leaders. 

Freddie Williams’ art looks a lot better than I’ve seen in the past - less scratchy, less noticeably digitised art. The comic looked very cool throughout and he draws both sets of characters really well. I didn’t like the Batmobile though which had a horrible insectoid face on its front! 

Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is what you’d expect from a crossover between these two franchises in that it’s the sort of story you’d get if a kid dumped his toybox out and made his Batman and the Turtles toys fight. It’s amusing for a bit but nothing special.

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