Written by: James Tynion IV
Art by: Freddie E Williams II, Jeremy Colwell and Tom Napolitano
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: March 9, 2016
I have realized that I really have a thing for crossovers. When done right, the creative teams take the best of both franchises and mix them together in a delicious gumbo that may not be as tasty as the usual dish, but is special because it's different. I don't know if that really gets my point across, but it's making me hungry, so when I get back from eating we will continue. Two Hours Later...Okay, now I'm ready to continue. Where were we? Oh yea, crossovers. I love them and while a Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles book seemed like an odd choice when I first heard about it, I have really enjoyed it. DC Comics and IDW succeeded in drawing me in with Batman and turned me into a TMNT fan along the way. If that's not a great business plan, I don't know what is. Of course, none of that matters if the series doesn't continue kicking ass every issue and that's what leads me to my review of Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #4.
The issue opens in Arkham Asylum where Dr. Zaheer is busy trying to get anything out of the incarcerated Foot Clan. She's not even getting rank and serial number and as far as names go, it's a continuous "I am the Foot..." that is driving her crazy. I guess she's in the right place and while it's nice to see the unified front that is the Foot Clan, the scene is just a reminder that the Joker is in the house and wants to join the party.
While I often scoff at a scene like this, I am glad Tynion threw it in here. It does remind the reader that all bets are off and anyone can pop up in this crossover. It also made me laugh just thinking of how Shredder and the Foot Clan would react to an unpredictable force of nature like the Joker and also got my mind racing at all the other characters I'd love to see show up.
Tynion then takes us to the main event...Batman and the Turtles. While it's hilarious seeing Alfred deal with the influx of teenagers in the mansion, the best part was watching Batman and Leonardo sparing as Splinter coaches both of them. After a little Justice League name dropping we are again reminded of a pretty important thing...if the Turtles don't get back to their world, they will end up as plain old turtles. Raphael hasn't forgotten and puts his Batman hate on the back burner for a second to allow plain old anger to boil over. Hey, I like seeing Batman enjoy some pizza with the Turtles, but Raph may be onto something...shit's got to get done. Then he gets back to hating Batman before storming out.
We then go off to see what Shredder is up to. I'll admit it right here, after seeing Vandal Savage show up for last issue's cliffhanger, I was really pumped to see what he would bring to the book , but it's off to an underwhelming start here. He is only used as a pov character so Shredder can explain what he's up to...but what ends up happening is awesome and should have Turtle fans grinning from ear-to-ear!
The rest of the issue involves one of the better uses of Batman's origin story that I've seen in a bit and another cliffhanger that just has to have an awesome payoff next issue. I mean, this one is huge!
James Tynion continues setting the stage for what is shaping up to be World War XX in Gotham. This issue adds another kick ass character to the fight and I can only imagine what the cliffhanger is going to lead to. There are two issues left and while this issue was far from a calm before the storm, it served mainly to get everyone on the same page and ready to go.
Freddie E Williams' art remains a huge part of why I am enjoying this mini so much. I have read some other reviews that complain that it's too Turtle influenced and feels off being set in Gotham, but I say poo poo to you too! I love it, it works and I wouldn't want it any other way.
Bits and Pieces:
While this issue could be written off as setup, it sets up some pretty important things along with adding a great character to the mix and getting Batman and the Turtles all on the same page. Plus, it all ends with a crazy cliffhanger that promises even more craziness coming real soon. Sure, it wasn't perfect, but Tynion and Williams continue giving fans of both franchises something to have a ton of fun with.