Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 (of 6)

Writer: James T. Tynion IV
Artist: Freddie E. Williams II
Publisher: DC Comics/IDW

With guys like Killer Croc, Penguin, Scarecrow, and, er, Humpty Dumpty, in his rogues gallery – as well as a Kryptonian, a Martian, an Amazon, and a guy who talks to fishes as super buddies – Batman really shouldn’t be surprised by a bunch of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles showing up in his city.

The premise for this unlikely match-up is, surprise, surprise, inter-dimensional travel, with Shredder’s Foot Clan making its way to Gotham to wreak havoc. Of course, they didn’t come alone, as Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, Raphael, and their sensei, Splinter, have also tagged along for the ride.

The first issue of this six-part collaboration between DC and IDW is everything you would expect from a Batman/TMNT crossover – and then some. James T. Tynion IV juggles the most identifiable characteristics of both properties perfectly: whenever Batman is the focus, the mood is all dark and brooding, and his encounter with Shredder is unsurprisingly serious and dramatic; and whenever the Turtles show up, there is a lighter, funnier tone to the proceedings.

str2_wow0501batmanturtles_cover_cnThe humour doesn’t let up even when the Turtles have to take on Killer Croc in their sewer lair, in a reptile-on-reptile bout that is easily the highlight of this debut issue. Having the Turtles fight Killer Croc is actually a good way of convincing sceptics that a Batman/TMNT crossover isn’t that much of a stretch after all.

Freddie E. Williams II’s art is also perfectly suited to this title. He is no stranger to Batman’s world, having illustrated the Robin title in 2006, but what’s more surprising is how well he manages to draw the Turtles as well, and how they fit seamlessly into the Gotham City environment.

Of course, the whole point of a Batman/TMNT crossover is to have the two meet, and sadly, that only happens right at the very end of this first issue – which is actually a clever tactic to convince us to get the next issue (due out next week).

As far as first issues go, Batman/TMNT #1 is a solid read. While it may seem like an incredulous proposition at first, the crossover seems quite seamless so far. Of course, the real test comes when the humourless Bats starts interacting with the joke-a-minute Turtles.

For now, all Batman/TMNT #1 has given us are more questions than answers. Will Batman be able to stand their constant prattling about pizzas and video games? Will the Turtles finally learn to take things more seriously? Will Batman build them some new Turtle-rangs? Will Donatello get to drive the Batmobile? Will we get to see Batman eating pizza? Holy Cowabunga, Batman! Looks like we’ll have to wait to find out….