I think this review just might get me excommunicated from the church of Batman. However, I can’t be a coward, I have to say it, I think there is an oversaturation of Batman properties on the market.
I’m not a DC comics expert by any means, and they appear to be once again in the midst of another reboot. So there is no way for me to actually know how many Batman and Batman related characters have comic books currently. Ones that come to mind though are Batman, Detective Comics, Grayson, We Are Robin, The Outsiders, Batgirl, Harley Quinn, Batman and Robin, etc…
Some of the comics are good, but some that I’ve read are really bad. Others fall in the just ok category.
The most recent Batman property I’ve read that was in the just ok category is the Batman/ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossover. What prompted this crossover was a bit of a head scratcher, and I’m not really sure why this idea was even conceived.
Written by James Tynion IV and drawn by Freddie Williams II. The story feels very reminiscent to good old fashioned intercompany crossovers from the 90s. Think the Batman and Spider-Man crossover. Formula wise they are pretty similar.
You take one villain from one hero’s rogue gallery and a villain from another hero’s rogue gallery and you have them conspire together to take over Gotham (New York, or insert favorite city). Then the heroes come together to kick butt and take down the bad guys.
In this particular crossover the Turtles and Splinter have traveled to the DC Universe, Gotham City to be exact. In addition to the Turtles being in Gotham, Shredder and the Foot have managed to come through the same portal.
Shredder has dastardly plans for his new home, and manages to team up with what is essentially his DC comics doppleganger Ra’s al Ghul. They are both immortal warriors, master martial artists, and are in control of a secret ninja organization.
Naturally, Batman and the Turtles join forces to bring down their enemies and to get everyone back to their respective universes. Plot wise this a pretty basic story. It is satisfying and fun, but it does nothing to really progress the cannon for these two properties.
The positive parts of the plot are also negative ones. The simplistic story and some of the more corny scenes and scenarios can be appealing but mostly young adolescent readers. For the more sophisticated older reader though, these things might elicit a number of eye rolls.
Dialogue wise the writing was adequate. It didn’t jump off the page as being either good or bad. Perhaps one of the more groan worthy scenes though is Batman explaining his origin story to Raphael. Up until this point Raphael had been very critical of Batman. However, with a simple re-telling of how he became the Dark Knight all animosity is swept under the rug. Losing your parents sucks, but no one likes a cry baby, and Batman has been whining about his parents for over 75-years now. Just once I’d like a writer to not fall back on this plot point. Lots of heroes in comics have lost a parent or two, but most of them seem way more well adjusted.
Perhaps the strongest part of this book is the art. Freddie Williams II does a good job with the illustrations. Batman looks very formidable in his fights with the Turtles, and each of the Turtles have their own recognizable identity outside the colors of their masks. Perhaps my favorite part (artwise) in this comic was the fight with the Arkham Villains after exposure to the mutagen. Although, this is one of the silliest parts of the story, visually it is a lot of fun to look at.
Crossovers like this seem kind of dated at this point, and the plot really isn’t anything that feels super original. There is also lots of silliness in Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles both intentional and unintentional. The strength of this comic is that it is probably going to be more appealing to younger audiences who enjoy both of these properties. As for adults, the story lacks complexity and may be too silly. The art is the strongest part of this book.
- Silly and simple plot that is good for a younger audience
- Arkham Asylum baddies get the mutant treatment
- Silly and simple plot that is bad for an older audience
- Plot feels similar to other crossover books
- Doesn’t really move the cannon forward for either Batman or the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles