Bane has been let loose in the Ninja Turtles’ world and has quickly taken over the Foot Clan. Now he’s powered up the ninjas along with Bebop and Rocksteady with a mutagen-infused version of venom. The combined forces of Batman, Robin, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Splinter suddenly look pretty weak in comparison. Get ready for an absolutely brutal battle.
There are so many muscles on the pages of Batman / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II #4. Imagine a horde of Foot soldiers all hopped up on venom. They’re these hulking beasts, but somehow still look small compared to Bane. He is a giant to an almost comical level. This is a man made of muscle. Bane is at least twice the size of anyone else around, yet his head is still somewhat normal sized. You can feel the strength of the character and how deadly even a flick of his finger would be.
The Turtles aren’t going to just lay down their arms in the face of such a fearsome foe. They stand their ground. This leads to a great confrontation between Bane and Raphael as my favorite Ninja Turtles stares down the monster of a man with all the attitude he can muster. He does love a good fight and boy, does he get one here. There’s one particularly frightening moment that’s reminiscent of Bane’s classic fight with Batman in Knightfall.
The panels themselves seem to feel the raw power of the venom-infused warriors. The layout becomes rougher. Each panel that features an attack has a more erratic outline, like they were frantically drawn to try and contain the energy of the fight. Artist Freddie Williams II creates some gorgeous art direction with pages that are framed beautifully, often showcasing close-ups of reaction shots from certain characters as violence breaks out in the center.
The fight scene’s colors have a nice balance to them, with Bane and the Foot Clan appearing in mostly blacks and greys while the Turtles, Splinter, and Robin have a splash of color, making them stand out a bit more. Of course, Batman is still in his signature dark colors, but he gets a pass because he’s Batman. He was wearing dark clothes before it was cool.
While the battle is a major attraction in this issue, it’s the emotional beats with Donatello that elevate this series. This whole thing started because he doubted his fighting ability and wanted to get some help from Batman. He ended up inadvertently bringing Bane to his world. Donnie blames himself for everything that’s happened including all the bloodshed so he’s getting desperate. You can see how this is tearing him apart, despite his brothers standing by his side. He’s a smart guy, but he’s not thinking straight right now. His mind is clouded with all this guilt and doubt and that’s a dangerous thing. His actions on the final page are somewhat spoiled by the cover so that’s a bummer.
There’s a brilliant shot towards the end of the issue that shows just how confident and villainous Bane is in his actions. It’s a huge statement that says so much about this character and how ruthless he can be.
The Ninja Turtles have fought all sorts of bad guys in their day, but nothing quite like Bane. This is a callous powerhouse of a man that is stronger and smarter than anything they’ve ever faced. Fortunately, they have the Dark Knight and the Boy Wonder backing them up, but after this issue, I’m not sure if that’s going to be enough. Writers James Tynion IV and Ryan Ferrier have crafted a nice mix of action, drama, and pop culture nostalgia that hits all the right marks.