[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writers: James Tynion IV and Ryan Ferrier
Art: Freddie Williams II
It’s the final battle as the Bat-family and the Turtles face off against Bane and the Foot Clan on Liberty Island. With America’s great symbol of freedom watching over them, the Dark Knight and the Heroes on a Half-Shell must bring Bane’s tyrannical rule over New York to an end. And don’t forget about Shredder. What role will that deadly villain have to play in all of this? It’s all-out action in this exciting series conclusion.
There is nothing held back in this final confrontation, as every TMNT fan and Batman fan get something worthwhile out of this. Williams’ storyboarding of the Turtle Launcher scene was ripped right from that classic 80’s intro, right down to a jumpsuit-garbed April’s glance over her shoulder in the driver’s seat. And the VEHICLES! Turtle Van AND Turtle Blimp! Nostalgic nods made without it looking cheesy or forced. Seeing Nightwing and Batgirl fighting alongside the team was a dream come true given how well they gelled. The fluidity of both the writing and the artwork were on par and hit one home run after another with every page. Tynion’s strength this issue is the perfect division of the teams into two separate divisions, and throwing in Shredder was a masterstroke. Here you had three ninja masters against Bane, two of whose ancient enemies banded together for a singular goal. The beauty of this is any one of these subplots could make an entire issue. Williams balances them all evenly so nothing is left out or overshadowing.
What isn’t ignored is that, at the heart of the plot, it’s Donatello’s story. His insecurities and self-doubts plunged his city into war, his lack of faith in his own abilities drove him to sample Venom’s corrupting power, and now this is his redemption. His weapons provide the advantage the group need over both Bane and a Venom-enhanced Foot. It’s a brains-over-brawn debate at its heart, and Donatello’s brilliance proves superior over Bane’s savagery. The fact that Batman can relate to each of the Turtles – Mikey, however, is a bit of a stretch – demonstrates how well-crafted the character is. The Turtles, themselves, represent four facets of the human mind: Intelligence (Donnie), Emotion (Raph), Soul (Mikey), and Discipline (Leo). It’s an interdependent balance that makes the Heroes on The Halfshell an effective fighting team as well as a family. Much as how he related to Raphael in the first series, he relates to Donatello’s diminished value in his own genius.
As one with the skills of a ninja and the soul of a samurai, Bruce Wayne has pushed his body and mind to perfection because one cannot endure his mission without the other. In the end, Donatello’s given a satisfactory sense of optimism and accomplishment. You can’t get any higher endorsement than that of Batman’s in this line of work, and Donnie earned that by embracing his true strength: The Mind. He’s the brains of the group, and the team would have lost if not for his scientific efforts. What works is that the ending leaves open the possibility for a third crossover event in the near future.
Baxter Stockman remains a mutant fly. Is this the creative team’s way of conveying to the reader that this story is canon as opposed to a self-contained adventure? Or is this an oversight on the part of Tynion and Ferrier? Usually the state of affairs is restored at the end of such crossovers. This loose end is the only flaw in this issue besides no Casey Jones to be seen during the fight.
No mutant fly will stop me from giving this a solid 5 out of 5. Excellent writing, characterization, and retained underlying main plot involving the Turtle who has a way with machines. Excellent work to all involved. TURTLE POWER!