Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III has been a strong follow-up to the first two crossover mini-series between two of the biggest comic book franchises in the industry. The strength of this particular series is the fact that James Tynion is going all in with the concept of the multiverse for both franchises. That has led to even bigger possibilities as the Raphael Prime, the original black and white version of the character, has shown up to team-up with an alternate universe version of Batman and the Turtles. Now that we have seen that a combined version of Anti-Monitor and Krang are causing this latest multiverse crisis let’s find out what else will happen with Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III #3.
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artists: Freddie Williams II and Kevin Eastman
Colorist: Jeremy Colwell
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Many years ago in New Gotham City Joe Chill steals a delivery truck carrying various containers of Mutagen.
Elsewhere a young Bruce Wayne tries to convince his parents to let him adopt turtles from a street merchant. Thomas and Martha Wayne buy four turtles for Bruce and walk towards there car. As they do that Joe Chill speeds out of control in the delivery truck. Thomas pushes Bruce out of the way so the truck only runs him and Martha over.
The truck crashes into an apartment and Bruce is shocked to see the dead bodies of his parents under the vehicle. The truck’s back doors burst open due to the crash and the mutagen covers the pet turtles that Bruce just adopted. In his shock Bruce ends up slipping on the spilled mutagen into the sewers.
In the present Batman admits to Master Splinter that he is shaken over what Prime Raphael said about this not being their actual universe, rather a plot to weaken all of them. Master Splinter also admits that he is starting to remember their other history. He goes on to say if what Prime Raphael said is true than Batman needs to find the answers to his questions himself by going to the place Bruce would be if he didn’t have brothers. Batman says he needs to go and disappears without Master Splinter noticing he is gone.
Master Splinter tells the Turtles that Batman is gone. Prime Raphael doesn’t like hearing that as they need Batman to get out of this crisis. Prime Raphael tells the other Turtles that they need to wake other people up and get them to remember their memories. He gives the Turtles their original red, blue, orange and purple masks.
Raphael doesn’t like the plan that his black and white counterpart is telling him to go with. The two Raphaels get into an intense argument that Leonardo is forced to break up. Leonardo says that they all know Prime Raphael is likely telling the truth. Leonardo then asks Prime Raphael to give them some time before putting on their original masks on. He goes on to say they will still go wake up the people they need to together.
Elsewhere Batman drives to the abandoned Wayne Manor. Bruce takes off his cowl and tries to remember his original memories by walking through the mansion but has a tough time recollecting anything.
Over in Downtown Gotham City April O’Neil leaves work for the day at Stockman Industry. She makes some small talk with the front desk security guard about going home for the day.
While walking home April is confronted by Laughing Man and the Smile Clan. Laughing Man reveals that he was told by Krang that he must eliminate April.
Before he can kill her the five turtles appear and defend April from the Smile Clan. In the middle of the fight Donatello grabs April so he can get her to safety. As soon as he does both Donatello and April remember who they both are and their shared history with each other.
Back at Wayne Manor an old Alfred Pennyworth points a shotgun at Bruce, who he thinks is an intruder. When Alfred gets a better look at him he realizes it is Bruce all grown up. Alfred immediately hugs Bruce. As they hug all of Bruce’s original memories of his parents died and how he became Batman flood back into his mind.
Elsewhere, Laughing Man and Prime Raphael are fighting one-on-one. As they fight Laughing Man contacts Krang about Prime Raphael’s location. Krang activates a devices that causes Prime Raphael to start fading away. Before he disappears Prime Raphael tells the Turtles that they have to find the real leader of the Smile Clan as they need to become the Foot Clan.
After this Laughing Man says Krang has plans for them all. He and the Smile Clan disappear after using some smoke bombs.
Raphael gets pissed off that his other version is gone. April says that she may know where they have to go next now that her original memories are starting to return. Raphael agrees to go but before that he tells his brothers that they need to set themselves right.
As red lightning starts striking the Wayne Manor Batman tells Alfred they need to know how long they’ve been in this fabricated universe so they can set things back to how it should be. Alfred isn’t sure what to do. They both go to where the Batcave should be and Batman tells Alfred they will do what they’ve always done: fight.
Elsewhere the Turtles are able to track down Oroku Saki, who is training alone. Leonardo tells Saki that they need his help. End of issue.
The Good: The first two issues of this series were all set-up for what this combined Batman and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was and how it relates to the multiverse crisis Krang started. Now that we are at the midway point James Tynion, Freddie Williams II and Kevin Eastman can focus on the next phase of this story that starts the build towards the endgame. That is exactly what is accomplished with Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III #3.
Tynion does a great job using the multiverse concept to spotlight what makes Batman and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles each great. Explaining that this merged universe was actually created by Anti-Monitor Krang to weaken both Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was a great move. This elevated the fact that one of the things that strengthen both franchises are their respective histories. Without all the things that happened to each of them they wouldn’t be the incredible characters they have become.
What makes this revelation by Prime Raphael even better was how it emphasizes the family aspect of both characters. A big reason Anti-Monitor Krang did what he did was to get both Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was to get them away from their supporting cast. In taking April O’Neil, Casey Jones, Alfred, Nightwing, Robin(s) and Batgirl out of their lives they are weaker. That touch adds to how everything that took place in both the Batman and Turtles lives help make them the strong characters that they are.
Through all of this Tynion continues to make the strength of this series being the chemistry between everyone. We see that early on with how Master Splinter, even as he is regaining his memories, still acts as Batman’s mentor. It’s a small choice that goes a long way to show the bond that Batman has gained with Master Splinter and the Turtles. The dialogue is carefully chosen so that we understand that even if everyone regains their original memories it won’t wipe out what the bond they have all developed.
The emphasis on Batman regaining his memories in particular emotionally grounded Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III #3. Batman was clearly going to be the one that dealt with the biggest shock when he regained his memories of his parents murder. Tynion played it perfectly with how it tied into the reunion with Alfred. The pain of these memories were felt and was appropriately followed up with the determination Batman had to bring the fight to Anti-Monitor Krang.
Batman’s emotional journey was nicely balanced out by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles parallel journeys. The back and forth between Prime and modern day Raphael put over how the Turtles still weren’t sure what was going on. Even though they wanted to believe what Prime Raphael was saying there was still a lot of doubt in their minds. That doubt made the moment when Donatello and April remembered each other be a bigger deal. Positioning April in the same role as Alfred gave her character greater importance as she was the one that triggered the Turtles original memories.
All these memories coming back was punctuated by Laughing Man taking out Prime Raphael. Seeing Prime Raphael be surprisingly taken out of the equation in the way he was further pointed to how Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III #3 was the transition issue to get us to the second half of the story. Tynion had the character involved so he can get us to the point where we find Batman and the Turtles ready to take the fight Anti-Monitor Krang.
Concluding Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III #3 with the Turtles, back to their original gear, finding Oroku Saki was a great move. With this ending Tynion quickly positions Oroku Saki as a major wild card for the second half of this story. We don’t know if activating Oroku Saki’s original memories will make him an ally or foe for Batman and the Turtles. But with Laughing Man teaming up with Anti-Monitor Krang this is a risk that our heroes have to take.
Freddie Williams II once again delivered great looking artwork throughout Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III #3. Williams makes the moment Bruce Wayne remembers his original history have the impact it should. It looked like a traumatizing experience to have all come into his mind in a matter of seconds. At the same time, Williams shows how remembering those memories also strengthen Bruce’s resolve as he went back to being the determined Batman we know when entering the Batcave.
That same detail in artwork was also shown with how Williams handled the Turtles. He does well in showing all the different personalities the Turtles have. In particular Williams adds to the journey the modern day Raphael goes through in this issue. From doubting his Prime version’s story to telling his brothers they must put on their iconic masks Williams puts over where Raphael’s state of mind is through his artwork.
Kevin Eastman also does a great job in matching Williams art style with how he drew Prime Raphael. The character still had the iconic look from the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles while having a few adjustments made so he doesn’t look out of place when talking to his modern day counterpart. Eastman also added to how dramatic Prime Raphael’s elimination was.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III #3 accomplished its main goal to the series to next phase in the story. James Tynion IV, Freddie Williams II and Kevin Eastman packed plenty of emotion into this issue as Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles started to uncover the truth about this new merged universe. The conclusion of this issue creates a lot of possibilities for where Tynion, Williams and Eastman can take this story as we head into the endgame.
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