Review by C.J. Bunce
It’s hard to beat a great crossover and we’ve seen many come and go this year. Take two superhero titles from the shadows of the big city and put them together and you have a pairing that will only have you ask why it hasn’t been done before.
The best Batman book you’ve likely read in years is waiting for you at your local comic book shop right now. Issue #1 of the new Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is now on the shelves and it’s simply the best series opener to a Batman story I’ve read since Issue #1 of Jim Lee’s Hush mini-series. You can evaluate the first issue as either a strong Batman title or a loyal-to-its-roots TMNT book, and either way writer James T. Tynion IV, artist Freddie Williams II, and colorist Jeremy Colwell have a winner on their hands here.
You won’t need to worry about thumbing slowly through an issue featuring one part of the title’s crossover only to wait next month for the next, as Tynion has weaved together both Batman, the Turtles, as well as Killer Croc, the Foot Clan, Splinter, and Strider, all into one exciting introduction issue.
And the design layout and look of this view of Gotham is unique and intriguing. It’s about time that Freddie Williams II had his own Bat-book. He’s been drawing Batman for years and some of the best Batman renderings I have seen from any Batman artist can be found in his sketchbooks and other drawings. Always strong in his characterizations and environments, and with his signature ink wash style, each page could stand alone as a poster print, especially the giant splash pages of Batman.
Unlike many Batman artists, Williams is not afraid to make Batman look heroic in every panel. Williams makes every panel count. I have to think that being able to clearly convey four separate personalities in the form of four cocky, determined, and fun-loving turtles can’t be as easy as he makes it look. I remember the original Eastman and Laird TMNT series (my first issue was a surprise freebie that Mile High Comics included in my mail order back in the 1980s), and Issue #1 of Batman/TMNT could just as easily be Issue #202 of an ongoing TMNT monthly.
These guys know their source material and are obviously writing and drawing a story they want to see as fans of these worlds. I only hope six issues is enough to show us all we want to see of Batman and the Turtles sparring or working together. You’d think something as big as the merger of these two titles–and done well–would warrant DC Comics and IDW Publishing thinking about an ongoing monthly.
Fans of the TMNT books, the TV show, and the movies will all find something familiar to love here. It’s the confidence and perceived ease that Tynion and Williams make this issue seem so familiar to both Batman and TMNT fans that will sell you on the series and add it straight away to your comic shop pull list. Keep an eye out for plenty of great variant covers, including the regular edition poster-worthy cover by Williams.