Holy Heroes in a Half-Shell, Batman! The Turtles have landed in Gotham City and they’ve brought their happy-go-shreddy buddy along with them. Yes, this sounds like some sort of drug induced hallucination but in actuality it turned out to be a very enjoyable read.
It wouldn’t have been just the most cynical fans who wrote this off as a gimmicky cash-grab when it was announced some months back and it was certainly a justifiable stance. This crossover had all the makings of a complete and utter childhood killing disappointment. Which is why it is such a relief that it was handled so expertly by the team of James Tynion IV, Freddie Williams II, and Jeremy Colwell.
Tynion headed up the writing side of things and did an excellent job of depicting both sets of characters without sacrificing the integrity of any. Batman is not suddenly a jovial soul to better fit the Turtle universe, instead he remains as brooding as he always has been and actually comes off as a little more dangerous in certain moments than he has done in either of the other two spin-offs’ out right now (Those being The Master Race and Batman: Europa). You get the sense that he is being built up in this manner to have fans clamouring for an eventual showdown with the equally imposing Shredder.
The Turtles similarly do not come across as being dark, serious versions of themselves but instead retain the teenage humour that they are so well known for. Now, they do seem slightly more intimidating in an early panel when doing battle with The Foot Clan but this is made up for with later sewer based scenes returning them to their pizza and video game loving ways. The addition of the early, ever so slightly more serious scene makes for a more interesting read overall as readers realise that these ridiculous creatures are not quite as out of place in Gotham as one might have assumed.
As for the villains of the story, Shredder is, as has already been said, a very imposing figure. He appears for the briefest of moments in this first issue but his presence is felt and the anticipation for future battles between him and Batman is going to be high. He truly feels like a character that should have entered this universe before now as he just fits the Batman aesthetic perfectly with his menacing nature and tremendous fighting skill. His Foot Clan also suit the tone very well despite feeling somewhat like a discount League of Assassins.
Williams and Colwell are responsible for the art on this book and they have knocked it out of the park. It must have been a difficult job to blend two licenses that are so very different together and have them both retain their individualities. The pairing manages it though as they ensure that the art is true to the gritty, grimy Gotham that everyone is familiar with whilst also introducing enough colourful comic style to satiate Turtle fans too. Due to the latter format the characters are a little over-exaggerated but that works in the favour of this comic as they all feel as though they fit together much more neatly than they would have done otherwise. Killer Croc is penciled in such a ridiculous manner that he really does look like a Turtle on steroids, minus the shell, as he wanders into frame and yet it actually works to make him a welcome addition to the cast.
What this comic ended up being is the polar opposite of what most expected. It should, by rights, have been a soulless money-making endeavor and nothing more as is so often the case with these types of crossovers. Instead audiences were treated to one of the most fun DC titles in years and something that will be remembered fondly by all who read it. All that needs to happen now is for The Turtles to run into The Joker. Maybe throw in a little Shredder/Deathstroke team-up for good measure.
Score: 4.5 out of 5.