BATMAN/TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES #1 (of 6)
“Knights in a Half Shell” (20 pages)
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Freddie E. Williams II
Colors: Jeremy Colwell
Letters: Tom Napolitano
Covers by: Freddie E. Williams II
Publishers: DC Comics / IDW Publishing
Cover Price: $3.99
The dark and the light. The borderline pessimist-realist versus the high-octane optimists. The shadowy, stealthy, and subtle, opposite the flashy in-your-face overt individuals. What the heck am I rambling about?? Why, the pairing of DK and TNMT!! Come again?!? Batman, the Dark Knight Detective encountering the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!!! The most unexpected offbeat team-up comes about thanks to this inter-company crossover!
Ninjas of the Foot Clan raid a lab. Just as the security guards barge through the locked doors, a quartet of scary-looking masked ‘monsters’ with weapons drawn startle the narrator. This is ten times worse than the silent killers!! The scientist is shaken to her core. Another run-of-the-mill oddball attack in the Big Apple?? Nope!! Try Gotham City! WWHHOOAA :0
The scientist has just finished explaining the event to Gotham’s greatest protector. A generator was taken. For what illicit purpose remains unclear. Batman will most definitely get to the bottom of the case!!
How are the Turtles on the Caped Crusader’s turf?? Things can’t get stranger than this!! The adolescent anthropomorphs cannot carry on without their fave sustenance: pizza!!
Batman dismisses the possibility that the League of Assassins are behind the hi-tech heist. If it were Ra’s Al-Ghul, he would have gone public by now. Alfred, ever the voice of reason, perceptively points out that Bruce’s drive goes into overdrive once a year, specifically the anniversary of his parent’s death. Bruce/Batman dismisses the observation. The plan is to allow the next theft to occur at Wayne Enterprises R&D without hired guns to snuff out the ghost-like goons.
Trudging through the sewers, Killer Croc and two new hires are tracking the Batmobile. Croc assures his cronies that his hideous reptilian exterior houses an impressive intellect. He will follow Batman to Wayne R&D. The plan is to not engage with the Bat; it’s to carjack the Batmobile and sell it for parts. Even one small piece is a substantial amount in the black market. Croc and his henchmen come across the Heroes in a Half Shell’s HQ. Out of spite, he crushes one of their video games. The fab foursome are hiding in the ceiling. Mikey feels more crushed than his precious cartridge. Time for retribution!!
It’s green on green, excluding the humans. Mikey spooks one of the minions. Donnie pauses to become existential before Raph reminds him of the main threat. The four lunge at the ‘big monster thing’.
Right as rain, the Foot Clan strike. Batman emerges as the holograms of the personnel evaporate. Geez, Louise!! In the span of a three-page parallel scene, Bats has taken out the entire Clan but one lowly Foot Soldier. The newb begins to blab before a shuriken pierces his heart. The Dark Knight hears the mention of ‘Turtles’ before the mastermind makes his grand entrance. OOOHHH BBOOYY. Shredder versus Gotham’s Finest. This is going to be beyond epic. Fake-out!! The armor-plated antagonist opts for an abrupt exit. BOO! Batman mutters the phrase “Turtles…” I hear his gruff voice à la Marge Simpson’s disapproving tone.
Back to our co-stars! Raph is unsatisfied at defeating these new players. Their hideout is trashed and the unexpected arrival of Croc and company sidetracked their pursuit of the Clan. It is painfully clear their desperation to return home. Master Splinter rears his head to calm the situation. They must make tracks. When they surface, the quintet marvel at the Batmobile’s beauty. It ain’t gonna be a free ride, not when the owner is on the rooftop!! He repeats: “Turtles…” Tune it next month! Same Bat-time, with Turtle-power!!!
I’m flapping my makeshift cape (bath towel), I’m doing clumsy acrobatics. I’m full-on geeking out!! Trends recycle. The collision between different comic book companies is back on course!! This is the third partnership between DC and IDW, or vice-versa with the latter having done two. It’s finally time for DC to get into the game. Enough early reviews not only gush over this magical melding but bemoan this momentous event not occurring earlier.
James Tynion IV has graduated big-time from Scott Snyder’s tutelage. He’s become well-versed with the Bat-Universe the last four years. Mr. Tynion effortlessly weaves the disparate threads of the respective franchises and creates a cohesive tapestry. The juxtapositions are extremely logical!! Forget Bebop and Rocksteady! The Turtles have made a brand new enemy! Shredder has a new thorn to pluck from his side! Mr. Tynion expertly finds the voice for the five protagonists. It truly feels natural and reads so easily. Quite the joy!!
Freddie E. Williams II has a unique art style. The individual close-up of each NT is an exemplary copy of Kevin Eastman’s original concept.
Croc could easily pass as a denizen of the Turtle universe. Shredder looks every bit as dangerous and deadly. He means business!!There are some misses. Batman’s head is disproportionate to the rest of his body. He appears as too buff a gym bunny in danger of losing his neck. Plus, Bruce Wayne is missing his dashing good looks. The Batmobile resembles more the Catmobile. Did the Bat filch the feline femme fatale’s wheels??
Jeremy Colwell is the next to carry the baton of the HIAH. He could easily continue his career with the quirky quartet. He provides a lot of clarity through the broken holograms and the rising steam within the sewers. The same goes for Shredder’s smoke bomb showboating.
Tom Napolitano sharpens his pencil to perfection with the handwritten note from the hungry boys, the clearly-labelled pizza provider, and the indiscernible expletive from Raph’s mouth. I could scribble like that too ;-P He also goes for the throat with Croc’s growl, Mikey’s vow of vengeance, and the story’s title.
Mr. Tynion has given us a solid first start. Mystery abounds! What brought not only the Turtles and their venerable master but also the vicious villain and his zealots to the DCU?!? The raids on the labs are obviously to build a device to transport them to their rightful residence. Man, oh man!! I’m dreaming up multiple possibilities – maybe April and Casey will also appear teaming up with Batgirl and Red Hood!! Bebop and Rocksteady could collude with Tobias Whale and Penguin!! Karai could toss it up with Catwoman!! I’ll cool my jets. I know I’m not the writer ;-P
Since they are four turtles, I’ll multiply that by two to give this book 8 out of 10. Cowabanga! Banzai!
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