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Review – Batman/TMNT III #1 (DC Comics)

Batman/TMNT III #1 (DC Comics)
Overall
8.8/10
8.8/10
  • Writing - 8/10
    8/10
  • Art - 9.5/10
    9.5/10
  • Overall - 9/10
    9/10
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User Review
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Summary

Writer: James Tynion IV
Art: Freddie E. Williams II & Kevin Eastman
Colors: Jeremy Colwell
Letters: Tom Napolitano
Variant Cover: Kevin Eastman & Tomi Varga
Editor: Jim Chadwick
Assistant Editor: Liz Erickson
Maturity Rating: T+
Publisher: DC Comics/IDW Publishing
Release Date: May 1st, 2019

In an alternate universe, an orphaned Bruce Wayne is taken in by Splinter and the Turtles. After a fight against the Smile Clan and The Laughing Man, a forgotten figure of the past appears with a warning. 

 

An Introduction to Krang’s Multiverse in Batman/TMNT III #1

When they first met, the Turtles helped Batman restore order to Arkham Asylum and defeat Ra’s al Ghul. Their second encounter brought the Dark Knight to the streets of the Big Apple in order to take back the city from the sinister clutches of Bane. Now, to complete the trilogy, Batman/TMNT III #1 is taking readers to New Earth Prime. It’s a place that’s paradoxically familiar yet totally alien. And as writer James Tynion IV smartly teases “I promise, it only gets bigger and weirder from here.” 

Writing

Batman TMNT III #1 (DC Comics) cover by Freddie Williams II
Batman TMNT III #1 (DC Comics) cover by Freddie Williams II

Welcome to New Earth Prime: a place that both is and is not Gotham/New York. For the sake of this review, let’s just refer to it as “New Gotham”. In the New Gotham universe, an orphaned Bruce Wayne takes to the sewers after his parents are murdered in the streets. He comes across Splinter as well as the infant Turtles, who take Bruce in and make him a part of their family. In Batman/TMNT III #1, the heroes in a half-shell, alongside the Dark Knight, fight to defend the city against the Smile Clan; a ruthless group of ninjas led by the one they call “The Laughing Man”. In the midst of all the fighting, Bruce is struck in the head by a magical piece of meteorite which conjures a horrible vision of a man he’s sure he’s seen before. A man with bright green hair and pale white skin…

“Bigger and weirder”—I couldn’t have said it better myself. James Tynion IV is getting meta like never before and looking to push the existential limits of both Batman and the Turtles in completely new and different ways. No longer are they a reluctant team of heroes brought together by circumstances beyond their control; they’re brothers, family. It will be interesting to see how Tynion will choose to explore this familial element in his writing, and just how it will play into/affect the psychosis of Batman. 

Another incredible element that Tynion touches on is how complementary the “Bat Family” is with the Turtles. Dick is like Leo; the brave reluctant leader. Jason is like Raphael; angry, jealous, and sometimes dangerous. Tim, like Donnie, is highly intelligent and resourceful. And Mikey is, well…Mikey. But you see my point; Bruce’s family both is and isn’t in New Gotham. It’s a complete fusion of both worlds—one I am eager to explore further. 

Art

Now let it be known that I am a huge fan of Freddie E. Williams II. When I close my eyes and picture how the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles “look” in my mind’s eye—I think of Freddie. His character rendering is flawless, and his ability to capture intrinsic elements of the Turtles’ individual personalities through their rendering is impressive. This time around, however, he’s going completely off-script; delivering something that’s both fresh and innovative.

It’s quite literally a character fusion, where Williams is combining elements of both universes in order to create something entirely new. What do you get when you cross Leonardo with Nightwing? Splinter with Alfred? Or better yet, The Shredder with The Joker? The answer: one crazy, exciting, and most importantly weird (in the best way possible) Batman/TMNT story. 

Of all the standout panels in Batman/TMNT III #1, my favorite unquestionably has to be Williams’ Batcave. If you’re a true Batman aficionado and want to give yourself a fun challenge, see if you can spot all the differences the “New Gotham” Batcave. This Bruce Wayne has Triceratops instead of a Tyrannosaurus, the Batmobile looks more like the Turtle Van, and in place of the usual giant penny, there stands a 5 yen coin. I don’t quite understand the symbology behind the 5 yen piece, other than perhaps it is a metaphorical representation of the five brothers?

Conclusion

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: man, I love being a turtle. There’s just something about Batman and TMNT that fits so naturally well together; it’s nothing short of joyous seeing them reunited again. James Tynion IV and Freddie Williams II have established themselves as a powerhouse of a creative team. A formidable dynamic duo that can contend with the very best—both on the streets of Gotham and New York City. Now, while I am all for expanding this new universe to its very limits and beyond, I do hope Tynion won’t completely throw the baby out with the bath water. The last thing Batman readers want or need is another complicated, apocalyptic Crisis event. 


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Jordan Claes

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