Batman / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 Review


Batman  / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 – “Knights in a Half Shell”

Script: James Tynion IV / Art and Cover: Freddie E. Williams II / Colors: Jeremy Colwell / Letters: Tom Napolitano / Variant Cover: Kevin Eastman with Tomi Varga

Batman meeting the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!?  That’s crazy!  Those were my first thoughts when I heard about this nutty crossover being released.  It turns out that this isn’t as crazy as it sounds.  The Dark Knight crossing over with the Heroes in a Half Shell is probably the most logical of team-ups ever.  Think about it: both are adeptly trained in the martial arts; both work in the shadows; both live with an old dude (Alfred and Splinter); and both can be headstrong and determined.  Yes, this is a match made in heaven.  Batman / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 is an issue that reads too short — because it’s so awesome.

The plot of this first issue is simple: Shreddar and his Foot Clan are in Gotham City, and they’ve been hitting various research facilities for the purposes of gathering equipment.  The Turtles have followed their metal-clad adversary, and are now battling with him on Batman’s home turf.  When Batman gets wind of this, he sets out on his investigation.

The first issue doesn’t have any interactions between Batman and the Turtles, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any fun or excitement.  Both sides — not knowing about the existence of each other — fare pretty well as independent storylines.  As Batman digs deeper, he creates a trap to capture these “anomalies.”  And yes, we leave this issue a bit too soon as there is that one big question: How did the Turtles get to Gotham City?

I have to say that I’m quite impressed by how they managed to find a common ground in terms of art for this series.  The Turtles have always veered more towards the cartoony side of illustrations.  And Batman has, most of the time, been rendered with more realism.  I was afraid that they were going to draw both sets of characters according to the world they were originally rooted from, creating a very discombobulated issue.  But I was pleasantly surprised by how integrated everything was.

Batman still retains his serious nature and dont-mess-with-me look, while the Turtles have retained their more whimsical lines — with the exception that they still looked quite menacing when fighting.  Panels that had high action were clear and vibrant, and paired with the dialogue quite well.

I’m very much looking forward to next month when #2 is released.  This issue, due to its fast-paced nature and lean storytelling, went by much too quickly.  Is that a good thing?  Well, it certainly is, but it also begs the question of why this issue is only 21 pages long, especially with it being a monthly series.  I guess you can’t win on all fronts.  As this issue doesn’t require a lot of investment in time, the reward is pretty great.  That’s why I highly suggest that you check it out!