The first Batman and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossover was a pleasant surprise. James Tynion IV and Freddie Williams II nailed the look and tone for what a crossover between the two franchises should be. Now both Tynion and Williams are back for round two of a clash between the Batman and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles worlds. The last time these two met we saw a lot of craziness thanks to Shredder and Ra’s Al Ghul. Now how will things go differently when world’s collide? Let’s find out with Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II #1.
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Freddie Williams II
Colorist: Jeremy Colwell
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: A man runs out of the subway and calls the cops in a panic. He tells the cops he saw the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles speeding past him in the subway with Michelangelo screaming “Cowabunga.”
On a train with its end torn off the Foot Clan tell Karai she is not fit to lead them, with an Elite Guard kicking her off the train.
Michelangelo catches Karai. Karai tells Michelangelo to back off since the Turtles are responsible for what is going on thanks to their adventure in another dimension that ended with Shredder in prison.
Back on the train the Leonardo and Raphael are able to knock the Foot Clan off the train. Now on the tracks Donatello hooks up his new laser gun to the rails and uses the power to fire at the Elite Guard. The Elite Guard are able to dodge Donatello’s attacks. They then proceed to overpower Donatello, tie him up and destroy his Turtle communicator.
Leonardo, Michelangelo and Raphael show up and are able to take out the Elite Guard, saving Donatello in the process.
Over in the DC Universe, A member of the League of Assassins member goes to meet his master but finds Robin. Batman threatens the Assassin to learn more information on the massive breakout at Arkham Asylum and the pit under the city. The assassin tells Batman and Robin that a faction has been created within the League of Assassins that has broken off because they believe Ra’s Al Ghul is to weak to lead them after his failure when teaming up with Shredder.
Robin decrypts the assassins phone and sees that a prison cell was broken open from the inside. Batman and Robin take off to figure out what is going on.
Back in TMNT’s Universe, April and Casey give Donatello some medical aid while the others do what they normally do on their free time.
Raphael mentions that tonight was supposed to be the day Karai’s Foot Clan and The Elite Guards Foot Clan were going to have peace talks but they seem to have broken down. Casey also says he heard that Bebop and Rocksteady have broken off into a third Foot Clan faction.
April finishes patching Donatello up and says he should be ready to kick some Elite Guard butt. Donatello says that won’t happen and walks off.
Donatello visits Master Splinter and talks about how because of how weak he is that he almost got his brothers killed tonight. Master Splinter tells Donatello that he is the one that got the Turtles to the Foot Clans meeting. Donatello does not think that means he is strong, just smart. Master Splinter goes on to say that no one person can master all things. Donatello says Batman has and wishes he could talk to him again. That gives Donatello an idea and he walks off.
Back at the DCU Batman and Robin are running inside a cave underneath the Gotham City. Once they get to a tunnel that looks mysterious they are attacked my Man-Bats who have been armored up.
Back in the TMNT Universe, Donatello sneaks into the facility where the Multiversal Teleportation System is. Donatello looks at the system and begins trying to figure out how the alien tech works.
Back in the DCU Batman and Robin fight off the army of Man-Bats. Robin makes it to where the Lazarus Pit is and sees that it is reacting to something. Robin calls for Batman to come over.
The Man-Bats suddenly leave, sensing the danger coming from the Lazarus Pit.
Batman joins Robin just in time for Bane to exit the Lazarus Pit. Bane tells Batman that he and Ra’s will not keep him away from the power of the Lazarus Pit anymore.
In the TMNT Universe, Donatello is attacked by the Elite Guards’ Foot Clan. He tries to tell them to stop because they could damage the teleporter. They don’t listen and the teleporter is activated during the fight.
Suddenly Bane and Donatello switch places. Donatello mentions he was just trying to send a message to Batman but is glad they didn’t swap places.
In the TMNT Universe, Bane sees the Elite Guards’ Foot Clan and wonders where he is. The Elite Guard tell Bane he is not leaving alive. Bane happily takes on the challenge. End of issue.
The Good: Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II #1 does a very good job setting the stage for the latest crossover. The continuation of previous team-up between Shredder and Ra’s Al Ghul is a good launching point to all the events that take place in Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II #1.
The use of continuity helps give weight to the events that lead to this latest crossover between Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This is especially the case for Donatello, whose latest defeat at the hands of the Elite Guard. Given that Donatello was the only Turtles that couldn’t hold his own for even a minute against the Elite Guard his ego took a big hit. Even though, as Master Splinter points out, Donatello’s intelligence usually helps the Turtles find and defeat their foes that is not good enough. It especially had to hurt seeing that the other Turtles came out of the fight untouched when he had such severe injuries that it would leave scars on him after healing.
That motivation fed in well to how Tynion positions this issue taking place only a few months after Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. In not having much time pass Tynion was able to play up the impression he left on all the Turtles. This is especially the case for Donatello, who remembers how Batman is not only a master martial artist but also a highly intelligent detective and scientist. Having a clear visual of someone who has mastered so many skills made Donatello’s motivation to speak with Batman an easily understandable one.
Donatello’s plight feeds well into the overall war of the Foot Clans that is going on in the TMNT Universe as Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II #1 opens. Tynion gives a good sense of the chaos in New York during the limited time we see the Foot Clans, specifically the Elite Guard and their motivations. The war of the Foot Clans is something that plays a strong homage to one of the strongest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles storyline “City At War.” Simplifying it to be an internal war to within the Foot Clans creates an interesting scenario to build the Foot Clan to not just be Shredder, Karai and nameless ninjas for fans not familiar with everything TMNT.
Keeping in line with the continuity it was good to see the split within the Foot Clan and League of Assassins is centered around Ra’s Al Ghul and Shredder’s failed alliance. Having both main members of each organization feel like their leaders betrayed them was an effective way to make the defeat at the hands of Batman and TMNT be an even bigger blow. That blow makes it easy to get behind why both organizations would suddenly have splintered.
And for the League of Assassins side of things it makes sense that they would look for someone like Bane to lead them. Given that Ra’s has failed them and Talia is his family they needed someone that could project strength. Bane being that guy also helps the villain as he quickly learns about the secret of the Lazarus Pit. This being Bane’s driving force for taking over leadership makes him even more dangerous, especially as he doesn’t have the experience with the Lazarus Pit and all it does like Ra’s or Talia.
Transporting Bane to the TMNT Universe and immediately meeting the Elite Guard and their Foot Clan also sets the stage for possibly an even bigger threat for our heroes. Given how the TMNT Universe has already been thrown into the chaos it would be good to see this story mostly taking place in their New York City rather than Batman’s Gotham City. It would also allow Tynion the opportunity to see how resourceful Batman and Robin can be in a universe where there is no Batcave.
Freddie Williams II once again delivers great artwork that is appropriate for a crossover between Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Williams artwork is in particular home with the TMNT Universe. His version of the TMNT have a classic design while adding his own version of grittiness to the world. At the same time he makes the big moments like the Man-Bats attack on Batman and Robin and Donatello’s fight with the Elite Guard look great.
The Bad: With the story heavily focusing on the Foot Clans fracture it would’ve been good to see more of Karai in this first issue. As a major member of the Foot Clan having her in more than one page would’ve added to how chaotic things are within the Foot Clan. Instead she was unceremoniously pushed to the side and completely forgotten right after Michelangelo saved her. That is not a good way to introduce the character to non-TMNT fans as it the scene with the Elite Guard she has made her look weak.
Overall: Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II #1 is a strong start to the latest crossover between two of the most well known comic franchises. James Tynion picking up directly where the previous crossover left off gave even more weight to the consequences of an alliance between Ra’s Al Ghul and Shredder. The fallout of the alliance’s failure along with Donatello’s personal character arc that opens this first issue makes Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II an intriguing comic to follow for fans of both franchises.