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COMIC REVIEW: Batman / TMNT Adventures #1

by Dan Gehen
Batman is once again teaming up with our heroes in a half shell. Image Source: DC, IDW.

In this second crossover featuring these comic icons, the world of Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon collides with the legendary Batman: The Animated Series. Co-published by DC Comics and IDW Publishing is this first in a 6-part miniseries which has been highly anticipated by hardcore and casual comic fans alike.

COMIC REVIEW: Batman / TMNT Adventures #1

(W) Matthew K. Manning, (P) Jon Sommariva, (I) Sean Parsons, (C) Leonardo Ito

When it was first announced that Batman: The Animated Series would be crossing over with the 2012 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon, I was equally excited an perplexed. 2015’s crossover between the two properties was one of the pleasant surprises in recent memory, and the fulfillment of the childhood fantasies for many older millennials. However, a crossover of these specific appears, at first glance, to be a stylistic mismatch. One was produced one old-school, cell animation while the other is a glossy, CGI production. One is a definitive, beloved, relatively mature take on the canon, the other has polarized segments of the fanbase as it veers back and forth from silly to serious. One hits heavily on nostalgia, while the other simply does not. But in reading this first issue by Matthew K. Manning, Jon Sommariva, Sean Parsons, and Leonardo Ito, its evident that these two iterations of their respective franchises, on paper, are a perfect match.

This is the original artwork for the cover of issue #1. Image Source: IDW, DC Comics.

This is the original artwork for the cover of issue #1. Image Source: IDW, DC Comics.

One of the big mysteries of this issue is how will the TMNT interact with the Batman universe. While the mechanism that brings these two worlds together remains unknown by the issue’s end, Manning’s script provides enough entertainment for such a detail to become an afterthought. From the opening page, Manning’s respect and appreciation for both properties as evident. In fact, the opening sequence is a tribute to the 1989 film Batman, which ends up being the perfect segue to the formal introductions of each of the Turtles. What follows is a series of mirror sequences, with both the Turtles and the Dark Knight investigating a mystery that will undoubtedly bring them together. Along the way, Manning takes advantage of this crossover’s possibilities, diving into Batman’s rich and robust rogues gallery. Two-Face, the Joker, and Clayface are among those that show up, with each one true to the spirit of their animated incarnations.

Though Manning’s script is a big factor in this issue’s enjoyment level, equal credit is due to the art team. Sommariva, Parsons, and Ito’s collaboration successfully blends the CGI world of the Ninja Turtles’ cartoon with the neo-noir aesthetic of Batman: The Animated Series. The crisp, clean linework and shading recalls the late, great Darwyn Cooke. Do not be confused – I’m not saying the art team’s work is on par with Cooke’s work. However, the influence of Cooke on Sommariva and Parsons’ work is evident. Perhaps what is most impressive is that this creative team manages to shift from charming and goofy to grounded and back again without causing the reader any degree of whiplash.  The smoothness of these transitions boosts what is already an enjoyable experience.

Batman/TMNT Adventures #1 is far from a perfect comic. The story itself is simplistic, and not much actually happens over the course of the issue. Also, the issue ends with a lot of unanswered questions. However, despite these flaws, there is an undeniable enjoyment for the reader to experience. This is the comic book equivalent of comfort food: it may not be of the highest quality, but it is deeply satisfying.


What did you think of Batman / TMNT Adventures #1?

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1 comment

NUMBER ONE TMNT FAN November 9, 2016 - 12:52 pm

i love the art style. And this is just such an awesome crossover.

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