Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #6 (of 6) (DC Comics/IDW)
It’s safe to say with this final issue that Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has been one of the strangest intercompany crossovers in the history of the Dark Knight’s career. It’s featured the Dark Knight eat pizza with four oversized turtles, and battle a Bane that has been transformed into a Mastodon. But at the same time, James Tynion IV and Freddie Williams II’s miniseries has a ton of heart, and nails what makes both Batman and the Ninja Turtles so beloved by many. It’s that heart that helps elevate this awesome, but rushed, finale.
This issue finds Batman and Robin finally squaring off with Ra’s Al Ghul and Shredder. With an army of Foot Clan and League of Assassin ninjas, as well as the mutagen infected members of Batman’s rogues gallery, the fight isn’t in Batman’s favor. Lucky for him, the Turtles and Splinter arrive to help even the odds, leading to some spectacularly geeky moments, like Michelangelo facing off with a Polar Bear version of Mr. Freeze and Batman and Shredder having an absolutely devastating fight. Of course, as awesome as the fights are, they cut into the other motivation of the series: getting the Turtles back to their dimension before their mutagen reverts. Tynion’s script has to rush into getting the Turtles back home, and that’s the flaw with this issue.
Actually, it’s the flaw of this miniseries as a whole. The relationship between the Turtles and Batman comes very quickly, and the villains’ master plan is never really that well established. In the end, there’s simply too much ground for Tynion to cover in this miniseries, so much so that I’m surprised it was kept to only six issues. Eight, nine, or even ten would have given Tynion plenty of time to have the Turtles and Batman form a more believable bond, and it would’ve also fleshed out Shredder and Ra’s plan more.
More issues in this series would’ve also given Freddie Williams II time to hone his style. While he started off as a better Turtles artist than a Batman one, by this issue Williams has finally hit his stride and delivers some truly awesome panels. There are still a few weird panels and poses here and there, but it’s nice to see Williams deliver on the potential he showed in the first issue.
While Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ final issue is a little rushed, this is still the best crossover of the year so far. For all of the weak moments, Tynion and Williams really nail the characterizations of all the players involved, and deliver some of the coolest moments in comics this year. While there wasn’t as much time for this miniseries to cover, as much as it wanted to, I have no doubt that we’ll hear of a sequel coming soon.