Batman’s deadliest rogue has a face-to-face with the Ninja Turtles’ arch nemesis. Meanwhile, our heroes investigate the inter-dimensional portals that have been popping up in their respective cities.
Comic Review: Batman/TMNT Adventures #2
(W) Matthew K. Manning, (A) Jon Sommariva, (I) Sean Parsons & Serge Lapointe, (C) Leonardo Ito
The second issue of the second crossover between Batman and the TMNT, funny enough, does not feature the Caped Crusader’s dual-obsessed villain, Two-Face. Titled “The Clown and the Clan,” the issue by Matthew K. Manning and his talented collaborators unsurprisingly sees the Joker come face-to-face with Oroku Saki himself. Beginning with a jailbreak at Arkham Asylum, Manning takes full advantage of arguably the greatest villain in animation history by tapping into the the Joker’s calculated-yet-manic lunacy.
The art from penciler Jon Sommariva, inkers Sean Parsons and Serge Lapointe, and colorist Leonardo Ito was the best part of the first issue, and that continues here. The quartet’s output is a successful blend of the aesthetics of Batman: The Animated Series and the current Turtles show. On paper, these two styles should be at odds. However, the streamlined designs from both shows blend very well, as evidenced by the encounters between heroes and villains alike.
It’s clear by the way Manning depicts these characters that he truly “gets” them. The Joker’s initial disgust at Harley Quinn’s plan to break out of Arkham is due to the lack of dramatic flair, which he “improves” upon after a sudden spark of inspiration. The dismissive attitude of the Shredder with regards to these two, thinking them to be merely clowns, is in-line with his own sense superiority over all others – at least as depicted in the 2012 show. Ultimately, the back-and-forth between these two baddies mirrors Joker’s relationship with Batman; it’s chaos clashing with order. But despite their differing methods – and visible contempt for one-another – they ultimately unite behind their common goals. This is further evidenced by the two-villain combination which concludes the issue.
It’s not all villains, as both the Turtles and Batman have a chance to shine. Manning’s script plays both Batman and his sidekicks (Robin and Batgirl) as well as the Turtles relatively straight. As a result, there is equal parts drama and humor. Both sets of heroes are investigating the mysterious inter-dimensional portals that have popped up in Gotham and New York. While the mystery of their origins remains unsolved, there is great buildup to the moment when the Batman Family and the Turtles cross paths.
When it finally does occur, Manning and Sommariva make it memorable with a genuine laugh-out-loud instance of physical humor. Yes, it does play into the tired trope of “heroes must fight each other first before teaming up,” but the lead-in and resolution make it worthwhile.
Yes, this series does star the “kid-friendly” versions of Batman and the Turtles, but “kid friendly” does not mean “for kids only.” Manning and his art team are able to utilize what many consider the best incarnations of these characters, an opportunity which they are by no means squandering. A smile-inducing page-turner, Batman/TMNT Adventures #2 is way better than it has any right to be.