Some time ago I read on the internetz that Batman and the Ninja Turtles would come together for a six issue crossover, and I was pretty darn excited. In part because it provided me with a post! But more than that, I’m pretty weak when it comes to DC comics and there is literally no better way for me to get my feet wet in their comic universe than to toss in the turtles.
I love me some TMNT.
The sixth and final issue of the miniseries dropped last week, so I’m going to talk my way through it below. I’m going to start with a plot synopsis of the first issue. If that intrigues you, stop reading right afterwards and go grab the singles at your local comic shop because below that things will get a bit spoilery!
The turtles try to thwart the Foot’s robbery of a high-tech generator, but get blamed for the missing machinery instead as a witness alerts Batman of the presence of something “inhuman” in Gotham. Batman sets a trap at Wayne Enterprises and bests the Foot clan who stumbles into it. He demands to know where their metahuman friends are (thinking the turtles are in cahoots with the Foot), but Shredder intervenes and threatens to kill Batman if he interferes any further. The turtles emerge from the sewers and bump right into Batman who still believes them to be associated with the Shredder and responsible for the recent wave of crime.
Batman and the Ninja Turtles: Foes, Friends, and a Bromance
The turtles and Bats come to blows and Batman totally kicks their shells before Splinter intervenes, drops a smoke pellet, and whisks the dispirited teens back to the sewers. Batman runs some scans on Raphael’s sai (because that’s what Batman does – scans things), finds traces of the turtle’s blood on it, and discovers that the mutagenic component of the blood is slowly rendering inert.
Bad news for the brothers.
Meanwhile Shredder has teamed up with Penguin and has plans to bridge their respective dimensions because he “see[s] no reason [he] can’t rule two cities” (emphasis his).
After a sympathy-inducing history from Splinter, Batman teams up with the turtles to stop that from happening. In the ensuing confrontation, Shredder blows up the portal…and the head of the only dude capable of rebuilding the machine. He knows that pretty much spells doom for Splinter and his sons.
Raph blows his top and storms off (because that’s what Raph does – blows his top and storms off), calling Batman nothing but a “rich guy who puts on a costume and punches bad guys because it seems like fun.” He would later be shown Crime Alley by Batman and given the tragic reason he wears the cape and cowl.
Shredder, now in league with Ra’s Al Ghul, brings Casey Jones to Gotham through another (secret?) teleporter and Casey is packing canisters of mutagen to save the turtles from reverting to decidedly non-teenage, non-mutant, and non-ninja forms (a scientist back in their world predicted this would happen). The two baddies snatch the mutagen, head to Arkham Asylum, and proceeds to turn nearly the entirety of Batman’s rogues gallery into mutants like the turtles.
The brothers are left with a choice: Use the transdimensional device Casey brought with him to go home and prevent their devolution or help a very much in trouble Batman and Robin (oh yeah: Damien drops by).
Raphael makes the decision in an impassioned dialogue:
You’re talking about a man who has spent the last week giving everything he has to help us. A man who just walked into a room full of his worst villains – villains powered with a dangerous mutagen from our world, by the way. Stuff that’s only here because of us. Now he might die because of the problems we left behind.
The turtles collectively take Ra’s out, Batman tangles with the Shredder in what is called his Intimidator Suit (powered armor), and Splinter takes out literally every single one of the mutated Arkham inmates by himself.
With everything resolved (well…sorta…there are still a prison’s worth of Batman baddies that are now mutated animals lying unconscious everywhere), the turtles leave Gotham for home. But not before Raph tells Batman the following with a sparkle in his eye:
I know you lost your family way back when. But you’ve got a hell of a good one now. I’m glad we got to meet you. And if you ever come ’round our place…you have another.
Raph then removes his trademark red mask and hands it to Batman before teleporting away.
Batman and the Ninja Turtles: Final Thoughts
I really dug the six issue miniseries. Some of that undoubtedly is due to my TMNT fandom though, so there is a pretty obvious bias at work here.
Raph and Batman’s somewhat cheesy (but totally adorable) connection aside, this run did some pretty great stuff with:
Shredder He is a total bada@# in this arc on so many levels. He basically drops in on Gotham with a legion of his Foot ninjas and takes over in very short order – proving he is a formidable villain in his own right. And I was a pretty proud TMNT fan to see that Batman had to use this powered suit to go toe-to-toe with him.
Splinter He is a ninja of the highest order here. He alone is able to fend Batman’s initial assault off and then follows that up by stealthily following Batman home without his knowledge. And I’m not going to lie: The frame showing him victoriously standing over all the Arkham inmates was straight up gangster.
Batman Single-handedly besting the combined efforts of the turtles in issue #2? That set the tone fast by comparison: He is their superior in combat. I’ve long known he was tremendously skilled, but this defined the bar in terms that really heightened my appreciation of it.
The turtles The writers really nailed their personalities and styles – something the IDW title has done exceedingly well in my opinion. And they manage to do so without accessorizing them to death *cough cough Michael Bay cough cough*
All in all: I thoroughly enjoyed the miniseries and consider it a welcome addition to my library. Now its time to forcibly loan it to my nerdy associates who love either the turtles or Batman and allow them the same satisfaction.