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Off The Page: Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

By Patrick McNair Oct 24, 2016 - 7:44 AM print


Crossovers are usually reserved for special comic events. When two characters come together, it's for a particular reason. For instance, when a villain hatches a diabolical plot and the hero needs to team up with another hero to help combat the incoming villainy. Such crossovers help build the fictional universe and create a greater sense of interconnectivity between publications. There are many examples of hero team ups such as the Justice League and the Avengers, whereby a group of heroes come together to form a team when one hero wouldn't be enough. What's even rarer though is intercompany crossovers, from which characters from completely separate publishing brands are brought together for a special event or a one-off. Perhaps the most famous intercompany crossover is 1996’s DC vs. Marvel Comics , where the legendary rivalry between both publishing companies was depicted through fictional battles between each companies most famous characters. 2015 would see another unique crossover as DC Comics and IDW Publishing came together to produce Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles . This exclusive crossover took the best elements from both Batman and TMNT in an entertaining mash up, ensuring that two very different worlds were about to collide.

The Setup:

Following a battle with the inter-dimensional warlord Krang, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles along with their mentor, Splinter find themselves in a crime infested Gotham City. Meanwhile, Batman investigates a mysterious ninja organisation known as the Foot, of which their leader begins to make plans to take over Gotham.

The Players:

Bruce Wayne/Batman
Michelangelo
Oswald Cobblepot/Penguin
Leonardo
Hamato Yoshi/Splinter
Joker
Raphael
Damien Wayne/Robin
Ra’ Al Ghul
Donatello
Alfred Pennyworth
Okoku Saki/Shredder

The Breakdown:

Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was announced during San Diego Comic Con 2015 at the IDW panel. James Tynion IV would write the six part series, illustrated by Freddie Williams II. Additionally, Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman would provide variant covers for all the issues. The crossover begins when during a battle with Krang, the Turtles, with Splinter and their arch enemy Shredder, along with a good portion of the Foot Clan are transported to the DC universe in Gotham City. Shredder orders the Foot to steal various components, abducting a scientist specialising in trans-dimension research to find a way to return home. The various break-ins around the city come to the attention of Batman, who predicts an attack on one of his own Wayne Tech facilities that leads to a brief encounter with Shredder, who complements Batman's skills. At the same time, the Turtles do battle with Killer Croc, forcing the Heroes in a Half Shell to flee their lair now that it has been compromised. Upon reaching the surface, the Turtles find the Batmobile, which Donatello is enamoured by, but are soon discovered by Batman, leading to a brief fight before Splinter distracts the Dark Knight with a smoke bomb, allowing the Turtles to escape. During the fight, Batman retrieves one of Raphael's sai and takes it to Lucius Fox to be analysed, whereupon they discover that the blade is from an alternate universe and is slowly transforming into their version of steel. Furthermore, Fox discovers a strange mutagen (which doesn't exist in the DC universe) on a blood sample provided by Batman. The pair discovers that the mutagen is becoming inert, whereby anything transformed by it will revert back into its natural form (meaning the Turtles will turn back into regular turtles). Splinter learns of the situation by following Batman back to the Batcave and implores his sons to ask Batman for help as without it, they will be stranded in Gotham and change back into animals. After striking an uneasy alliance with Batman, the Turtles lead an assault on the Iceberg Lounge, where Shredder has teamed up with Penguin to build a portal to create a link between New York and Gotham so he can conquer both worlds. During the Turtles attack, Shredder destroys the portal and kills the scientist who build it, escaping with the help of Ra’ al Ghul and the League of Assassins.

With Shredder in the wind, the Turtles grow patient at their lack of progress and Raphael storms off in disgust, accusing Batman of just being "a rich boy playing at being a hero." Batman later intercepts Raphael in the Batmobile, taking him to Crime Alley, where he shows Raphael the event that forever changed his life: the death of his parents, explaining to the turtle that what he does is to protect all the families of Gotham so that no one experiences such a loss again. Moved by this admission, Raphael begins to accept Batman and rejoins the team. The duo are alerted to another portal, which has been created by Ra’s and Shredder and are met by Casey Jones, who has brought fresh mutagen for the Turtles, only for it to be stolen by Shredder and taken to Arkham Asylum. As Leonardo collapses due to mutagen decaying in his system, Damien returns and finds the Turtles and Casey in the Batcave. Following a brief fight, Batman breaks it up, stating to his son that the Turtles are allies. Casey reveals that he has a device that will enable them to return home, which Batman suggests they do to avoid the mutagen decay from becoming any worse. Despite Splinter's warnings not to underestimate Shredder, Batman and Robin prepare to engage him at Arkham. At the institute, the Dynamic Duo are overwhelmed by the now mutagen powered inmates, learning that Ra’s and Shredder intend to use the mutagen throughout every city in the DC universe, enslaving humanity as they achieve world domination. Just when the situation looks its bleakest, the Turtles join in the fight to save Batman, risking their own lives, despite being given the chance to return home. While the turtles battle Ra’ al Ghul, Batman uses his new battle armour to confront Shredder, who uses acid to damage the suit. Despite Shredder gaining the upper hand, Batman is able to defeat the leader of the Foot, with the help of Splinter as Robin and the GCPD roundup the rest of the League of Assassins, while Ra’s escapes. A new portal opens as Casey returns along with April O'Neil, taking with them the defeated Shredder and Foot Clan back to their home dimension. Raphael gives Batman his mask as a sign of respect, saying that he has the Turtles support. With the Arkham inmates returning to normal, Batman and Damien hold a vigil for the anniversary of Bruce's parents.

Summary:

Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a terrific romp, combining the best of both worlds with Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. James Tynion IV does a great job of capturing the irreverent style of the Turtles and contrasting it with Batman's straight-laced approach to protecting Gotham. There are a number of comedy moments between the Turtles and Alfred (involving pizza of course!), with Batman racing against time to save the Turtles before their mutagen becomes inert. The idea of mutagen decay is an interesting concept, since it doesn't exist in the DC universe, meaning its effects are only temporary instead of permanent (unlike the Turtles’ universe). The story is well paced, with a climactic showdown at Arkham Asylum, as Batman's entire rogues gallery is transformed by the mutagen into animal hybrids, in a scheme masterminded by the Turtles arch nemesis, Shredder and the Demons’ Head, Ra’s al Ghul. Despite being name checked, Krang does not appear and the initial incident that stranded the Turtles in Gotham is glossed over, so the reader does not see how the Turtles came to be in an alternate universe (which was apparently Krang’s idea to rid himself of the Heroes in a Half Shell). All in all, Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is worth recommending and is an excellent joint-venture between DC Comics and IDW Publishing. Here's hoping for the rumoured animated adaption by Warner Bros.



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