Cowabunga, Batman is back with the Turtles! In a continuation of the most surprisingly entertaining title in DC’s current line-up Batman does battle with The Ninja Turtles. Fans will be pleased to know that the quality remains astoundingly high throughout this second book.
The action hits early in this issue as Batman starts off the book by fighting with The Turtles in a superbly written and drawn set piece. James Tynion IV takes the smart option of having Batman completely outclass his mutant foes with his far superior martial arts skills. It would have been absurd to see him on the back foot against these temporary opponents as it would have served only to undermine him as a character. This isn’t to say that the shell-clad quartet are completely ineffectual though. They fight with dogged (Turtle-ed?) determination and show all of the heart and never say die attitude that endeared them to millions in the first place.
An interesting moment occurs towards the end of this fight as Master Splinter steps forwards and briefly duels with Bats before disappearing in a cloud of smoke. This is not a confrontation that many had written about whilst predicting the path of this series but it is one that should be explored further. When you think about it they are not all that different as characters. Both are high skilled martial artists who have taken several young, impetuous students under their wing, into an underground lair, and used them to fight their own causes. Of course one is mutant rat and the other is a man dressed as a bat but no one said they were mirror images.
Tynion proves himself as worthy of writing for both sets of characters as he avoids jump starting the obvious alliance that entitles this book, choosing instead to remain true to Batman’s wary nature by having them go their separate ways for the time being. It makes sense as Bruce has very well established trust issues and is hardly likely to be all pally with the mutant turtles that are seemingly stealing high tech machinery all around his city. The story progression does not suffer from this move either as everyone finds their own purpose after this split and as such no one feels like a third wheel, rolling along behind the rest.
One thing that Tynion has done here that is incredibly effective is to introduce a real sense of peril as he reveals that Splinter and the Turtles will return to their pre-mutation states if they remain in this alternate universe for too long. This is because the mutagen that caused them to become so humanoid in nature is not present in Batman’s universe and as such it will degrade in their systems if they stay for too long. You should expect this to factor into the remainder of this story in a big way and it will undoubtedly provide a great deal of tension surrounding the closing issue of this series. Many will now be eagerly anticipating the moment that they all return to safety or, heaven forbid, become ordinary rats and turtles trapped in Gotham for good. That would certainly be a brave route to take and, since this is out of canon, it could feasibly be done if the team so chose.
Shredder is also seen in this issue and what becomes immediately clear is that he could be a true force to be reckoned with if he ever decided to stay put in Gotham. He is shown to be dealing with Penguin here and it is no exaggeration to say that he dominates the diminutive crime lord. All anyone really wants though is for him to go to war with Batman so that everyone can see that surely glorious battle at long last. It will likely be saved until closer to the end of this series but the wait is slightly excruciating for fans everywhere.
Just as it was last time, art is once more handled by Freddie Williams II. He does a superior job yet again in his drawing of both universe’s characters. Everyone looks as they should, if a tad exaggerated, and it helps to create the feeling that both of these vastly disparate worlds have truly come together in a way that adherence to one books overall style could not have achieved. Shredder benefits the most from Williams’ work though as he looks more intimidating that ever before, looming over the Gotham underworld as he does.
For the second straight issue Batman/TMNT has hit a home run. There is nothing to criticise in this fun, engaging, and interesting title. Add to this the fact that the impetus to keep reading is provided by the bucket load and you have yourself all the makings of a winner right here.
Score: 5 out of 5.
To keep up to date with Up For Review’s posts you can like our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/upforreview/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel
You can also follow the author on Twitter: https://twitter.com/shaunpond1994