The first chapter of the current crossover between the Nickelodeon Turtles and Batman: The Animated Series is going back to print in a snazzy director’s cut issue. Is this new presentation and the extra content worth picking up?
Comic Review: Batman/TMNT Adventures #1 – Director’s Cut
(W) Matthew K. Manning (A) Jon Sommariva
See our original review of issue #1 here.
I’ve always found the concept of a “director’s cut” for comic books baffling. The content itself is what I’d expect to see from a collected edition – either in trade paperback or hardcover format. Some publishers like Valiant or Image include a few pages of back-matter with rough layouts, character designs, or scripts to give readers an inside look at the making of the comic they’ve just read.
However, a “director’s cut” is, more often than not, a cash grab reserved only for series that have been commercially successful. The publisher knows that the collector mentality of many comic readers will push enough units at an inflated price to make it worthwhile. Batman/TMNT Adventures #1 – Director’s Cut checks all of the boxes that makes this release worthwhile only to completionists.
Am I being to harsh? Possibly. There is no denying the novelty of looking at the untouched work of artist Jon Sommariva. However, it only highlights how crucial Leonardo Ito’s colors – absent here – are to the final product. Yes, the original comics from Mirage Studios were presented in black and white, but those comics were built around that specific look. Sans color, the Nick Turtles and Batman family are stiff, lifeless husks that occupy page space rather than inhabit it.
I’ll give credit where it’s due – the $4.99 price tag is pretty justified based on the amount of content. While seeing Sommariva’s uninked, uncolored pencils may merely be a novelty to some, for those that love the craft of making comics, it is a gold mine. Not only are the pages presented as original comic boards (hell, they may even be scans of the original boards), but readers can see the blue lines of the original rough sketches. This allows readers to see the changes an artist can make from original conception to finished product.
The issue also contains the full script for issue #1, giving aspiring comic writers a peek into how the pros do it. Of course scripts can vary from writer to writer, but seeing how one team handles this process can be a guiding hand to those who may over- or under-write their scripts.
Batman/TMNT Adventures #1 – Director’s Cut is not for everyone. For those that love the comics creation process, this is a welcome peek behind the curtain. Those that are interested in the finished product and couldn’t care less about the process, it’s best to spend your money on one of this week’s other releases. So before you plop down your money on this issue, ask yourself “what kind of reader am I?”