Something something pizza joke, Kevin Conroy cowabunga! Your Major Spoilers review of Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #4 awaits!
BATMAN/TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES ADVENTURES #4
Writer: Matthew K. Manning
Artist: Jon Sommariva
Colorist: Leonardo Ito
Letterer: Shawn Lee
Editor: Bobby Curnow
Publisher: DC Comics/IDW Publishing
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures: Strange portals have appeared, allowing the Batman and his friends to cross over into a strange world where the primary protectors are humanoid Turtles. They’re tracking some of the worst criminals Arkham Asylum (BTAS 90s version) has to offer, but things are getting pretty hostile. With Batman, Leonardo and Raphael in the clutches of The Mad Hatter, Batgirl, Robin, Michelangelo, Donatello and April have to deal with The Joker, now in command of an army of Foot Clan ninjas!
THE SCARECROW’S FEAR GAS
Okay, I have to say it: This book is pretty rad, in the old-school way. I am a bit disappointed that we’re seeing the current Nickelodeon cartoon universe in play, but that’s mostly nostalgia talking, especially given that modern April is a butt-kicking scrapper who stands shoulder to shoulder with the Half-Shell Heroes. The opening sequence is a horrifying look at Batman’s worst nightmare, a vision of Gotham City in the clutches of his worst enemies, while Alfred lies dying in front of the theatre where he lost his parents years ago. Worse still, Joker intends to use the resources of The Foot to deliver his own gas attack in the form of Joker Venom. Fortunately, there are enough Turtles and Bat-family members to keep that from happening, and Batgirl and April take the fight right to Harley Quinn, whose pet hyenas have been given a dose of mutagen to make them humanoid as well. The day is saved thanks to Batman’s wherewithal (he is able to overcome his fears, inspiring the red and blue Turtles to do so as well), the unknowable mental might of Shredder (who shakes of Scarecrow’s gas like a soft summer breeze) and a lot of the old fighty-fighty, leaving us with the revelation of the genius behind it all: Jervis Tetch, The Mad Hatter!
THE SHREDDER’S IRON WILL
First and foremost, kudos to the creative team for not making the most high-profile villain the big bad, as the Hatter’s last-page appearance is truly surprising and disturbing, as well as being well-drawn. The whole issue looks amazing, as Sommariva manages to capture two very different, very stylized worlds and streamline them together into one style that encompasses and honors both. I am impressed how well this story works with its loads and loads of characters (we have eight heroes in play, three high-profile villains, a ninja army and Harley being Harley) while giving us strong character showings from Batman, from Donatello and even The Shredder. A moment where Rocksteady stands by and lets The Joker reap what he has sown is particularly lovely, but this issue is full of wonderful bits for all involved.
THE BOTTOM LINE: BUT THE WORST VILLAIN IS STILL IN THE WINGS!
In short, this book is a winner all around, even overcoming the middle-of-the-miniseries blues and delivering an action-packed, ninja-kicking adventures of some of our favorite cartoon stars. Now that DC has realized that there’s no shame in admitting that more than one take on their iconic characters can be valid at once, they’ve tapped into some wonderful stories that otherwise might never be told. Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #4 is well-thought-out, well-written and drawn and makes great use of everyone (though I’m hoping for more Raphael next time around), earning a very impressive 4 out of 5 stars overall. This is a book that fans of either series can pick up, but will also appeal to the casual fan just looking for an exciting comic book story… Kudos to all involved!