Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III #2 – James Tynion IV, Writer; Freddie E. Williams III, Kevin Eastman, Artists; Jeremy Colwell, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: While the first two series in this crossover franchise were fun mash-ups of villains, this final trilogy has bigger things on its mind. The last issue introduced us to a strange fusion-verse where an orphaned Bruce Wayne was raised alongside the Ninja Turtles by a suit-clad Splinter and now fights the Smile Clan with his younger brothers by his side.
If that wasn’t enough of a mind-bender, we were hit by a duo of twists – Krang hijacking the Anti-Monitor’s body, and the original Eastman-and-Laird Raphael showing up in black and white at the end of the issue to remind Bruce and the Turtles that not everything is right in their world. Naturally, when Raphael is around the odds are things will result in fights, and that goes doubly when you have two Raphaels picking the fights.
What makes this segment really unique, though, is that Kevin Eastman returns to draw the original TMNT segments showing how Raphael wound up leaving his world and winding up in the Amalgam-verse.
There’s an authentic 80’s indie comic vibe to these segments, with the black-and-white art holding up just as well as it did in the 1980s. It’s rare to see a legend return to his original creation – although Eastman has been co-writer of the IDW TMNT series for years – so that alone is worth the price of admission.
But the threat here is an entertaining escalation of the Ra’s and Bane plots from the first two, and it’s surprising just how well Batman and the Turtles work as brothers. The Turtles having an older protector who provides some darkness to their light and jokey nature is a dynamic that feels fresh, and the banter in the lair is excellent.
What doesn’t work as well? A little too much monologuing from Krang as he rides Anti-Monitor around like a bodysuit. Krang’s an acquired taste as a villain, and few writers have made him work beyond a campy cartoon villain. But the joy of a crossover is watching new dynamics form across dimensions, and on that front, this is a major win.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.