If Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a dream, never wake us up. The tubular crossover from James Tynion IV and Freddie Williams II continues in grand fashion, the dynamic duo delivering another read jam-packed with excellent fan service and outrageous fun.
The most interesting thing about issue #2, and really the story in general so far, is just how little the actual story matters. That’s not a knock on Tynion’s script – there’s plenty of great stuff here, and his ever expanding narrative has been a delight to follow – but more so a comment on just how captivating Batman and the Turtles are when paired together. Tynion’s characterization is spot on from word one, each one liner and spoken utterance feeling completely in tune with both the individual characters and their newly shared world. Batman finds the Turtles as little more than potentially dangerous curiosities – he already fights a crocodile man in his spare time, after all – and in typical detective fashion he sets out to find answers. The Turtles, conversely, are appropriately split in their opinions – Raph thinks he’s a jerk, Leo is humbled, Donnie is calculating and Mikey thinks he’s the coolest thing since sliced pizza. It’s a perfect approach to their interactions, and one that only seems prepped to get better.
Of course, there is a story here as well, and it’s shaping up to be quite a good one. Tynion builds off of the mysterious circumstances of last issue, positioning the Shredder and his Foot Clan as potential power players in Gotham City. The series’ limited structure obviously won’t allow for too much exploration of this dynamic, but considering how easily (and viciously) Shredder makes his claim, you have to wonder just how far he could take things if given time. Tynion also does a great job of giving the Turtles a purposes beyond just fighting Batman, presenting a new wrinkle to their interdimensional antics that adds a welcome sense of urgency. It’s a can’t miss premise to be sure, but Tynion is still quite clearly giving it his all.
That all-in approach translates to the book’s art team as well, as Freddie Williams II again delivers a host of excellent visuals. His beefy style suits both the giant Turtles and armored Batman well, ensuring that the first of their inevitable interactions feels decidedly equal. That same interaction proves to be one of many visual highlights, as Williams effectively pairs the skilled combatants against one another in uniquely thrilling ways. Whether or not you agree with the results of said meeting is sure to be cause for debate (the best versus battles always are) but Williams’ clean lines are a treat regardless of what side you stand on. Colorist Jeremy Colwell also deserves mention, his muted backdrops doing well in emphasizing the more vibrant character work. Together the two combine for a number of excellent spreads, from imposing (Shredder’s storming of the wharf) to downright giddy (The Turtles’ glorious end page discovery).
If you’re a fan of either property, this is about as close as you can get to required reading. Not only are Tynion and Williams nailing the two distinctly different sets of characters, they’re doing so in a way that tells a fun and infectiously entertaining story. If it is a dream, it’s a dream come true.
Everyone expected (or at least hoped) that this crossover would be good. So far, it’s been great, Williams’ fluid line work meshing perfectly with Tynion’s fantastic characterization. This book is truly the best of both worlds, and with some legitimately interesting plot threads now in play, it only looks to get better from here.