We’ve come a long way on this journey with Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and our time is drawing to a close. There have been some laughs, plenty of excitement, and a few surprises here and there.
As awesome as it was seeing the Dark Knight and the Heroes in a Half-shell team up, though, I think the real treasure of this series has been the friends we made along the way.
Or in the case of Batman, the family he learned to appreciate.
You may think I’m kidding, but no, that’s a pretty major theme in this issue. And frankly, despite it being a little heavy-handed and sappy, I am still all here for it.
It’s good that there are some fairly intimate themes, too, because despite the fact that entire multiverses are at stake, the finale here feels a bit… small. As much as I love seeing the Batfamily being led by two Batmans (Batmen? Sound off in the comments for which one is correct, because I don’t know anymore) and joined by two separate teams of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the action is focused in just a few locations. Rights issues may have been in the way, I’m sure, but it still would have been amazing to see tons of different versions of Batman and the Turtles join together to defeat Krang. Instead, we have the same groups that we’ve been following the whole time. Again, it’s fine, but it could have been so much more.
And to that point, there isn’t an awful lot that actually happens here. The first series ended with Batman donning armor that made him look like an honorary Turtle, which was as silly as it was amazing. It was fan service of the best sort, the kind of twist that a group of kids would come up with when they’re trying to one-up each other during an all-out action figure war. This series, on the other hand, is just a whole lot of fighting, mostly around the interdimensional tower that Krang and the Anti-Monitor use to manipulate realities.
Freddie Williams II makes the most of it, though, with some of the best work he’s done on any of these series. For one, I will never grow tired of seeing his pencils alongside Kevin Eastman’s which is just as exhilarating to see as it was in the very first issue. Williams’ detailed style and Eastman’s heavily-shaded figures blend seamlessly, with the Mirage Turtles looking like they’re from another book altogether yet feeling right at home in this amalgamated world.
Williams also knows how to use the full page to his advantage, if it hadn’t become obvious. There are some absolutely stunning full-page splashes, and incredibly clever panel layouts as well. As much as anything Williams is gifted in depicting movement, whether it’s with a character flying through the air, racing along the road in a car, or simply walking up a set of steps. It gives the book a distinct look and style that is perfect for the story being told.
He’s aided by Jeremy Colwell’s colors and Tom Napolitano’s letters, and they’re both a perfect fit for the material. My only real complaint about the coloring is that the whole issue is awash in that pinkish hue, so some of the pages kind of blend together. Even then, Colwell uses a lot of different techniques to evoke different effects, like the transparent specks in that splash above. It looks like a paintbrush’s bristles were flicked against the page, letting the randoms speckles evoke a kind of “Kirby Krackle” energy field for the portal. It’s kind of a “controlled chaos” that isn’t distracting or obvious, but really serves to set the visuals apart.
Napolitano’s lettering is pretty ingenious as well, as subtle as some of Colwell’s coloring and just as effective. I love how the characters from different universes have their own unique fonts, with the main Turtles and Batman characters having a fairly normal style and the Mirage Turtles looking a bit scratchier, like they were hand-lettered. Even the “classic” Batman has his own font, which helps set him apart from everyone else.
All in all, this is a perfectly acceptable conclusion. It didn’t do anything major, when it certainly could have gone bigger than it actually did. Still, even if it’s a bit more subdued (inasmuch as a fight to save the multiverse can be, of course), it could have gotten too big and been unwieldy and out of control. As it is, this is a fun piece of Saturday morning cartoon storytelling, the kind of story you would have made up with your friends while playing with action figures. It says things about Batman and family that may not be entirely profound, but it’s welcome just the same.
Oh, and there’s the requisite clowning of Jason Todd, too.
It is the national pastime, after all.
- You love Batman.
- You love the Ninja Turtles.
- You like the idea of Batman being all about family.
Overall: A solid ending to a great miniseries. It could have gone bigger and been so much more, yeah, but I still liked it and enjoyed what it had to say about Batman and his desire for family. There are some nice themes explored, and it’s a visual feast from beginning to end. If this is the last time Batman and the Turtles will ever cross paths, then they certainly went out on a high note. Cowabunga, chums.
DISCLAIMER: Batman News received an advance review copy of this book from DC.