Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #1
Written by Matthew K. Manning
Art by Jon Sommariva
Inks by Sean Parsons
Colors by Leonardo Ito
Letters by Shawn Lee
Review by John Dubrawa
You won’t find a comic with an easier pitch than IDW’s Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #1! Imagine if Nickelodeon’s current Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon had a crossover with Batman: The Animated Series from the 90s. If that sounds like something just crazy enough to work, the good news is writer Matthew K. Manning doesn’t disappoint with this first issue.
Bringing these two disparate universes together, Manning manages to retain a distinct voice for each property while also supplying a reasonable narrative sense as to why the Caped Crusader would suddenly find himself allied with a bunch of talking turtles. In fact, it might actually be one of the more normal things Batman has ever experienced. All things considered.
Both the Turtles and the Dark Knight spend this inaugural issue travelling down a separate, albeit parallel journey, surrounding a mysterious symbol appearing in both Gotham and the sewers of New York City. It’s a bit of a bummer to not see the two sides meet at all by the end of issue one, although the various run-ins that each side has with characters from the other’s universe is satiating to a degree.
Neither fandom is letdown either, as Manning essentially gives readers the best of both worlds by bouncing back and forth between the more action-heavy (and humorous) Turtles segments and the more reserved scenes of Batman showcasing why he is the World’s Greatest Detective. It’s obvious from the lighthearted tone of Manning’s script that he’s having a blast playing in these sandboxes, and that’s perhaps the most apparent early on when the famous Batman: The Animated Series line, “I am vengeance, I am the night!” line is used and not in the way you’d think.
Of course, what helps Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 feel so authentic to the two franchises is the fact that Jon Sommariva’s art completely nails the aesthetic. You’d be hard-pressed not to find his designs of the Turtles incredibly reminiscent of their appearance on the Nickelodeon TV series while his Batman is just dripping with a Bruce Timm influence that absolutely hits all those right nostalgia buttons. Colorist Leonardo Ito fills each page with a brightness that captures the lighthearted tone Manning’s script is going for and Sean Parson’s inks darken the affair when necessary. You couldn’t ask for a better art team to handle this project.
Buy it! Crossovers can be a tricky business, especially when dealing with two franchises with such a fervent fanbase as Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Thankfully, the book is able to honor both universes while bringing them together in a way that doesn’t feel like its sacrificing the style or tone of one or the other in order to satisfy a narrative. Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventure #1 isn’t just a comic that would have blown my mind as a child, it’s a comic that would also satisfy it.