TMNT – “Bat in the Belfry” Review
Even as a side story for this volume, “Bat in the Belfry” was easily one of my favorite episodes. April’s obsession with the Aeon Crystal amped up quickly, a possibility hinted at all the way back when she received it. We got to see the return of the Turtle Blimp and a welcome use of the grapple packs. The episode was packed with fun action and tons of humor, and we finally got the introduction of this iterations Wingnut and Screwloose, two of my favorite Turtle on again/off again allies.
The alternative versions of classic characters have been hit or miss in this series. It seems like for every Rhazar there’s a Tokka, for every Slash there’s a Neutrinos, but the writers really outdid themselves here. Having Wingnut and Screwloose be Batman and Robin analogues was really inspired, and portraying them as the Adam West/Burt Ward duo was just perfect. Not only does it fit in nicely with the other in-universe fiction the Turtles consume, but it really gave the audience a fun parallel to the normal crime fighting seen in this show. They even followed the traditional “superhero team up” model, with there being an initial confusion that causes everyone to fight, with a team-up following after everyone calms down. The patrol montage was excellent as well.
Also, Skullface McGillen is my new favorite villain, not only for his magic skull minions and creepy head, but also for his stereotypical 1920s gangster voice. That bit never gets old. The whole fight was tons of fun, and we got yet another comic trope with the Wingnut/Tur-fly-tle combo punch to win the contest.
The other story going on this episode had to do with April’s growing obsession/addiction to the Aeon Crystal. Mikey’s Lord of the Rings reference was an obvious, but funny nod, and proved to be pretty accurate. April is growing too dependent on the crystal, constantly wearing it, and it is causing her headaches. There was a brief moment in last week’s episode where they showed April’s growing attachment, but who would have suspected this story thread to escalate so quickly? Suddenly she’s yelling and pushing away her friends and Splinter, falling under the crystal’s influence. Not to mention the way she dispatched of Monoculus (the giant floating eye creature; the first that the Aeon Crystal willed into existence). That was pretty intense!
It was actually pretty heartbreaking seeing Donnie and the guys’ reaction to April, and the idea that they just had no idea how to help her. Here’s hoping the writer’s continue to develop this thread. I realize that we’ll probably get the culmination of this next week, but it would be interesting to see it expand over the rest of the season. April has some serious power and I’d rather see her learn to control it, and cope with this dependency, than see her struggle with confidence yet again. It feels like a better character arc.
One more nod to Wingnut and Screwloose. Having the corruption of the Aeon Crystal transform the duo into a form resembling their original designs was really cool and a great nod to Turtle history.
- Love this episode coming out between the TMNT/Batman comic crossovers! Go check those out!
- Oh my god, the giant coin and squirrel in their secret lair parodying the coin and T-rex from Batman!
- Always love Ice Cream Kitty! One of the best original mutants this show created!
- Arachnid-Man! The Indelible Bulge! The Fantastic Four Food Groups! Can we get some one shots of all of these? TMNT has some of the best in-universe fiction.
- The Indelible Bulge comic cover says “The Weirdest Guy of all Time! As Crazy as You Want It!”
- The comics even have the Comic Code Authority seal of approval on them. That’s great attention to detail.
“Bat in the Belfry” was such a fun episode. These are the kind of side stories you hope for. With a solid theme and excellent execution, the writers and animators delivered strong doses of action, adventure, and humor. Wingnut and Screwloose are a great addition to the Nick TMNT universe and it was cool seeing their villains come to life with them. After the seeds were planted last volume, we finally got to see April struggle with the Aeon Crystal, even if it did feel like it came out of nowhere. This turn could put April’s character development into overdrive, and would really be a better story element than questioning her confidence again. With “Bat in the Belfry,” the volume continues it’s strong run heading into the fall.