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Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III #2 review: multidimensional shenanigans

It’s fluff, but it’s GOOD fluff.

James Tynion IV
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For those of you who missed the first issue, this series takes place in an odd amalgam of the DC and IDW universes. In this weird little pocket-dimension, kiddy Bruce was carrying a tank of baby turtles when his parents were murdered in that Zorro-themed alley and then all five of the embryonic superheroes were doused in radioactive goo and raised together in a (very posh) sewer. The series picks up after this band of brothers have been superheroing (sort of) for a while.

This merger of two independently awesome things has resulted in making Bruce and the boys somehow less amazing than they should have been (these fusions seem to be mediocre fighters, at best) but that intentional weakness is part of the plot. The driving forces of the series are two-fold. First, they want to uncover why a stripped-down, black-and-white version of Raphael had randomly appeared in the Turtle-Cave, (Yes. I know.) and why he is insisting on kicking all of their butts. Second, they have to stop a power-mad alien from conquering, and possibly destroying, the entire multiverse.

All of this happens at a breakneck pace and it is is exactly as insane as it sounds. So far, the resulting series is absolutely delightful. Visually, there’s a playful contrast between the over-the-top black-and-white grittiness of the ‘original’ TMNT world and the manic, candy-coloured (somewhat lobotomized) garishness of the pocket-dimension in which the story is set. There are also loads of little nods to the histories of both universes. The Turtles are wearing versions of Bat-armor and the dialogue is peppered with cues harkening back to previous eras of Turtle history.

Freddie Williams and Kevin Eastman work wonderfully well together as artists. The line-work is sketchy and energetic, and the characters are rendered with a kind of sugar-high intensity that lends a slapstick mania to the story.  There is enough of a difference in the expressions between the original characters and their fusions that it would be possible to distinguish between the world’s even without the color-coding — though of course that helps.

If you’re reading this seeking a hit of nostalgia (or sly little digs at the way that comic books are often softened and sanitized when they’re translated into cartoons) you won’t be disappointed. It’s fluff, true, but it’s good fluff. Enjoyable fluff. It does exactly what it says on the tin. And what more could you want from a premise like this?

And, trust me, you are going to want to see the amalgamated villain who turns up on the last page. That idea alone is worth the price of admission.  

Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III #2
Is it good?
A manic shot of ridiculous plot, amalgamated characters, and sly little digs at popular cartoons. This series is an absolute delight, by every measure.
The story is packed with sharp dialogue and a joyful, manic energy.
This book is a pleasure to read.
None. This book does exactly what it says on the tin.
8.5
Great
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