Publisher: DC Comics/IDW Publishing
Story: James Tynion IV
Artwork: Freddie E Williams, Jeremy Colwell
Release Date: 9th December, 2015
You know when people drive past a car crash and can’t help but slow down to take a peek? Or when they squash a bug, but then have to take a little look at the gooey mess that’s left behind? Yeah, that’s kinda what prompted me to pick this one up. I’ve never really been a huge fan of crossovers, mainly because they have a tendency to feel forced, gimmicky and – well – just not very good. However, I am a huge fan of both Batman and the TMNT, so my (perhaps morbid) curiosity got the better of me and I decided to pick this one up.
But do you know what? There’s no car crash. No gooey mess. Instead, this is actually kinda fun. Don’t get me wrong, it’s gimmicky as all holy hell, with the Turtles showing up in Gotham via some trans-dimensional shenanigans that aren’t really explained all that well and trying to find their way home without causing too much carnage. The Foot Clan and their leader (or, their original leader, not the current IDW boss) are in tow as well, leading to all manner of crossover goodness, and while it’s unlikely to cement its place in the annals of all-time great Batman stories, there’s no denying that this is a pretty damn enjoyable first issue.
It certainly doesn’t hurt that James Tynion IV is at the helm, possessing as he does a firm grasp of the Caped Crusader and the inhabitants of Gotham. His dialogue, while a little on the nose at times, does the job, with Batman sounding like Batman and the Turtles sounding like the Turtles, even if we aren’t given much more than some superficial banter between the brothers and a gruff exchange between Bruce and Alfred to this point. The story does seem a little simplistic to fill out a six-part series thus far, so I’m hopeful that Tynion can use some of his proven writing chops to throw in a creative wrinkle or two along the way, otherwise this could end up becoming a flat, superficial affair.
Visually, Freddie E Williams II seems to have adopted a “go big or go home” approach to his artwork, with bulky, jacked-up characters aplenty. Batman has a fairly Bane-esque physique, the TMNT are thick, scowling mutants, and Killer Croc – who makes a brief appearance – looks to be about ten feet wide. While it’s definitely not realistic, it actually kind of fits with the inherently over-the-top nature of a Batman/TMNT crossover, and the bold, in-your-face, action blockbuster aesthetic definitely prevents things from ever becoming too dull. My only real issue so far is with his design for the Batmobile, which looks – to be blunt – horrific. Not my cup of tea at all, especially with it playing such a central role in this first issue.
Okay, cards on the table, my expectations for this series were ridiculously low, so the fact that it hasn’t turned out to be a complete car crash thus far is almost reason enough for me to recommend it. That said, if you’re willing to fight through your misgivings (assuming you actually have them and aren’t whipping yourself into a fanboy frenzy at the prospect of these characters meeting face-to-face – something I probably should be doing myself), there’s actually a pretty fun story here with some chunky, dynamic artwork and a Batmobile-load of potential. Definitely worth a look if you’re curious, but it doesn’t quite do enough to qualify for the “essential reading” category. Not yet, anyway.
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