Let’s go for one final ride, dudes and dudettes.
Yes, despite the threat of Mad Hatter being wrapped up in the previous issue, Matthew Manning and Jon Sommariva have one more story to tell. I’m ok with that, and if you’re here, I’ll take it you are too.
Batman/TMNT Adventures #6 picks up an indeterminate amount of time after #5, but it’s been long enough for Dick Brayson to become Nightwing and Tim Drake to take over as Robin. Yes, for their epilogue Manning and Sommariva have elected to channel The New Batman Adventures in design, complete with new costumes and Nightwing’s sweet, sweet mullet.
Opening with a special screening of The Gray Ghost: The Men from Planet X (yessssssss), this issue is full of corny sci-fi goodness. See, the Kraang have reopened the dimensional portals between Batman and the Turtles’ worlds, and they invade Gotham intent on domination. Help soon follows, though, as the Ninja Turtles arrive on the scene.
It’s good, solid fun from beginning to end. The chemistry between the Batman characters and the Ninja Turtles is great, with Tim commenting on the weirdness of it all. The teams work together to fight the Kraang and, ultimately, send them back to their own dimension.
Frankly, it’s all over way too soon. It’s a really quick read and there isn’t much time to build any tension. I’m not saying we needed another five issues here, but a slightly longer issue would have sufficed to let things breathe. Indeed, when I saw the digital issue was 31 pages I thought that was going to be the case, but no; everything’s wrapped in twenty or so and there’s a sneak peek at an upcoming Turtles series (which is still fun, but not what I was hoping for).
Cramped narrative aside, it’s still a solid outing. Manning really developed a great voice with these characters over the course of the series, and his comfort is evident. There are some solid jokes here and there, and the two groups work well together. Bruce is loose and even smiles when the Turtles appear, Robin and Michaelangelo play well off each other’s personalities, and Donatello is still struck by Batgirl. Unfortunately for him, he has to compete with Nightwing’s sweet, sweet mullet™. Maybe next time, Donnie.
Sommariva is the big draw here, I think, with an artistic style that manages to evoke the looks of both shows without outright copying them. He’s great with sight gags and Easter eggs, but there were a few points where I was kind of dumbfounded at how dynamic the visuals are. That spread there with Raphael jumping on the police blimp? That’s some really solid stuff.
Oh, and the police blimps actually factor into the story. It’s kind of thin and a bit of a reach why they’re involved, but hey: police blimps! They’re impractically perfect in every way.
Really, the best thing I can say is I want more from these guys. I’ve chatted with both Manning and Sommariva on Twitter and they would totally be down with doing more Batman Adventures-style work. Here’s hoping DC gives them that opportunity, as it’s a series we need now more than ever.
BONUS: Some great variant covers from the likes of Sean Galloway, Ty Templeton, and Neal Adams, of all people. No joke, it may be the best thing Adams has drawn in years. It’s so good.
- You like Batman.
- You like the Ninja Turtles.
- You want to see more animated style Batman in the future, because this could be the first step towards getting that.
Overall: A solid, fun conclusion to a solid, fun series. It’s funny, exciting, and gives you a nice Batman: The Animated Series fix. For Batman and the Turtles, lighnting has struck twice, and Manning and Sommariva have proven to be a really solid team. I wish this could have gone on longer, both because this issue was just too short and I genuinely want more of these books.