Written by Kieron Byatt
The key to a successful crossover is to unite two properties that you never thought would share the same page, but also create a team-up that immediately makes sense. 2015’s Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from DC Comics and IDW Publishing did exactly that, delivering a six-issue event oozing with nostalgia. The follow-up is finally here.
Last time around, James Tynion IV and Freddie Williams II delivered on catering both to fan-service and crafting a legitimately engaging narrative.
All the characters had their own room to breathe, even though there was a fair amount of action jammed in, with the highlights including Batman and Raphael’s brood-off, one of the wisest villain pairings in Ra’s Al Ghul and Splinter, Arkham’s inmates being turned into mutant-animal hybrids and to top it all off we learnt that Bruce Wayne doesn’t mind him some pizza.
With all expectations and nerdy Batman/TMNT wish-lists satisfied last time around, it makes one wonder as to where the next adventure may take us? Krang? Bebop and Rocksteady? Red Hood clashing with Casey Jones?
Well, seeing as last time saw the “heroes in a half-shell” finding themselves transported via portal into Gotham, plopping Bats in the middle of New York City feels like the logical next step for this adventure. Whereas last time around we were immediately dropped into the story that would see Bats and the Turtles cross paths, in Part II, Tynion IV takes his time in reuniting them. He plays credence to exploring the dynamic of the four ninjitsu trained reptiles, specifically Donatello, who receives some well-earned and deftly executed characterisation. Donnie’s demons actually plant the seed for why we’re back for a round two of the crossover and it ultimately leads to the particularly mouth-watering addition of fan-favourite Batman villain, Bane, who only appeared in a few panels last time round as a mutated elephant.
As first issues of a cross-over travel, the concept is set-up cleanly, even if there’s no serious Batman and TMNT splash panels yet. But fans of the last volume’s character interplay at the hands of Tynion IV combined with Williams II’s ‘90s cartoon inspired rich panels with the dark texture and shadowing of Jeremy Colwell’s ink-work will be more than pleased.