Birds of a Feather
Written by: James Tynion IV
Art by: Freddie E. Williams II, Jeremy Colwell and Tom Napolitano
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: April 13, 2016
I have gone on and on about how much I've been enjoying this crossover and with two issues remaining, I can't see that changing before it's all said and done. Well, I guess that things could explode into a heap of awful storytelling and shitty art...no, no it can't. James Tynion and Freddie Williams are nothing but professionals and with their work on this book (and in comics as a whole), they have earned my faith and devotion. Before I start sounding too much like a rabid fanboy, though, I will mention that everything up to this issue has felt like setup and I'm really looking forward to the big payoff and hopefully that starts now. Back to Fanboy Land...the setup has been awesome and each issue just keeps adding more and more cool characters which is my favorite thing in a crossover like this. So, does this penultimate issue begin the payoff or is it just another bit of setup for an explosive finale? Let's find out...
The issue starts off with Jim Gordon trying to come to grips with Batman's new "friends" as well as asking the Dark Knight for a little help. Actually, he needs a massive amount of help, the kind that only Batman can give. Through Gordon, we find out the situation and yes, I would have gone to Batman as well. Shredder has taken over Arkham Asylum and when Gordon tells Batman that Ra's Al Ghul is involved, it really is salt in the wound. It's also just recap as we pretty much knew or could have guessed all that from what we have already seen. The big reveal of this scene is when Leonardo ssuddenly passes out...the mutagen is wearing off!
Back in the Batcave we get some video games, one of the best lettering jobs I've seen in awhile, a pretty hilarious shout out to Tynion, and Casey Jones. Yea, Casey was one of the big reveals of last issue and he has arrived in Gotham fully aware of what's at stake. That was the reason he was bringing the mutagen over with him...the mutagen that Shredder stole. While this started out feeling like just a fun little transition scene, a certain young boy shows up to make it so much more. Yep, Damian Wayne is in the house...er, cave!
Tynion shows why this crossover is so good as he completely nails Damian's character as the little guy taunts, yells and fights Casey, Michelangelo and Donatello before Batman arrives with the others. That's when Casey drops some bombs...they have to get back home now and he has the way to do it. While it's a bit of a hero's choice for the Turtles, we leave the scene with Batman and Robin going off to fight Shredder, The League of Assassins and who the hell knows who and what else by themselves while the Turtles go back home. That can't be what really happens, right? And what about the Intimidator Suit that Alfred not so subtly mentioned?
We'll have to wait as Batman and Robin end the the issue by walking straight into...one of the best scenes I have ever seen in my years of reading comics! Seriously, it makes total sense in a crazy, whack funky way that had me giggling like the eight year old that I am every time I read an issue of this series!
Okay, this issue continues the setup for the finale and I don't care what I said in my introduction, I don't care, I want more and it sucks that we only have one issue left. How many more surprises would Tynion be able to give us with say, a fifty issue run? Why can't it happen? While we're at it, where is the animated film...and video game...and plushies??? I really want the plushies. Seriously, though, this is freaking amazing! Every comic should be this fun to read!
Now I will gush over Freddie E. Williams' art. Was he just saving up for this issue? The art in this series has been great, but he outdoes himself here. It starts from the first page, but that cliffhanger page will be traveling to many a Con from here on out. Not to be fully outdone,colorist, Jeremy Colwell, and letterer, Tom Napolitano, step it up this issue as well.
Bits and Pieces:
I have been saying that this series is a dream come true for Batman and TMNT fans who ever dreamt of this crazy mashup becoming reality, but that might sell it short. If you are looking for a comic with good guys fighting bad guys with everything on the line and want it all to be tons of fun...grab this series now. The only thing keeping this issue from a perfect score is it still is just setting up the finale, but it still came damn close. Damn close.