Ferg & Sons Review: Transcending Nostalgia With ‘Batman / TMNT Adventures’
by James Ferguson
Comic book crossovers are great fun and can produce some interesting match-ups. Some go together well and others are just plain strange. Batman / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures checks both of those boxes, melding the world not of the comics, but of the animated series from both franchises. I didn’t know I wanted this book until it was announced and it became a fast favorite.
The comic is a crossover between Batman: The Animated Series and the CGI TMNT show that ran from 2012 through 2017 on Nickelodeon. Even though I grew up on the original TMNT animated series, I quickly fell in love with this show with its great writing, stellar animation, and all around fun. Those qualities extend to the comic as well. That enjoyment was shared by my children too.
The adventure, written by Matthew K. Manning, features portals that connect both worlds, allowing villains to wreak havoc in a new area. This leads to some great interactions. An early favorite comes from a fight between Clayface and the Turtles, where Mikey renames the villain “Mudbutt.” Letterer Shawn Lee brings the snappy dialogue to life with some great work and some impressive sound effects.
The artwork from Jon Sommariva, with inks by Sean Parsons and Serge Lapointe, is spot on, matching the cartoonish quality of this story and adding so much humor to it. The villains are just monstrous enough so they’re not too scary, yet still rather menacing. Colorist Leonardo Ito uses a dark, yet colorful palette that is a perfect fit for both franchises.
I read this with both my sons over the course of a few days. They have experience with the characters from movies and TV shows, so this was a no-brainer. Here’s what Oliver (age 7) had to say:
Do you like books that make you feel cool? Then this book is for you! It is about Batman & the Ninja Turtles. They fight crime. They fight each other then become friends. Isn’t that a weird way to make friends? I rate it 6/10.
Parker (age 5) took a bit more prodding. When we sat down to write this, all he wanted to do was flip through the comic over and over again. He says:
It was pretty cool. It was funny when Mikey put his hand into the portal and hit Batman’s face. Nightwing and the Ninja Turtle with the purple mask [Donatello] were my favorite characters. I liked Nightwing because he had sticks and I liked Donatello because he loved Batgirl and Batgirl kissed him.
Batman / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures is tailor made for me. It still had to tell me a great story as we’ve seen some bad ones over the histories of both franchises. I’m happy to say that this book delivers in spades, mixing action, adventure, and humor to create a fantastic reading experience that transcends nostalgia into something much more.
Batman / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures from IDW Publishing and DC Comics is currently available at your local comic shop, bookstore, and Amazon, and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.