[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writers: James Tynion IV (Plot) and Ryan Ferrier (Dialogue)
Artist: Freddie Williams II
A Venom-charged Donnie wages a brutal, one-Turtle war on the Foot Clan. Batman has to stop him and remind him of who he really is; someone who uses smarts—not brawn—to take down the bad guys. Damian and Raphael pay a visit to the Lazarus Pit to try and help a wounded Splinter. Then Batman tries to turn a former foe into an ally as part of a desperate attempt to finally end the reign of Bane.
TO BE CONCLUDED!!!
Tynion and Ferrier do an amazing job with the examination of Donatello’s drug-induced mania. Williams, in turn, perfectly conveys this never-before-seen violence erupting from the normally-logical Turtle. This is Donatello at his lowest point, foregoing reason for savagery to correct his mistake. The confrontation with Leonardo and Batman is brilliantly written because they’re trying to appeal to Donatello’s mind with reason. It’s Donnie’s chance to get all of his pent-up rage and self-hatred out in the open.
Overcompensating and compromise is running rampant in this issue from not only the Donnie subplot, but the rest of the team. Robin and Raph’s decision to subject Splinter to The Lazarus Pit come from realistic limitations on medical care they can offer him. And I always smile at how Bruce maintains Japanese tradition and shows respect to Splinter through bows. This is a man who is always trying to learn new methods and techniques and here he has the reincarnated spirit of a Sensei from Feudal Japan to draw inspiration from.
The moment where Raph and Damian found common ground after four issues of tearing into each other was well-written. They’re both hotheads trying to do right by their fathers through self-control that doesn’t always work. I also grinned at Splinter using Zen meditation as his cover story for going insane after his immersion in the Pit.
I’m not surprised that Batman was able to deduce exactly what Bane’s next move would be; like all of his Rogues Gallery, Bane is a dark reflection of what Bruce Wayne could become if he allowed his baser violent tendencies to overshadow logic and rationality. Besides the Joker, there are no other villains in the Dark Knight’s history that has had such a physical and emotional impact like the man who crippled him.
What I’m also not surprised at is how a Faustian solution arises in the form of the Shredder. At the end of the day, Bane is just a brute that strong armed his way to the position of leader. Oroku Saki founded the Foot Clan centuries ago; he is their God, so there is little possibility for there to be resistance.
I like the way they brought in Batgirl and Nightwing into the book. The more the merrier. The plot is ramping up very quickly and the inclusion of The Shredder promises to be a fun read and a satisfying conclusion.
I think the pacing is the only flaw in this issue. The battle between Donnie, Leo, and Batman could have gone a little while longer. And Bane’s televised speech sounded very similar to the speech employed by Tom Hardy’s Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. If not for that film, this speech would have a little more impact. Not to mention the fact that Batman’s earlier deduction makes this speech very redundant.
Splinter’s return from madness may be believable given he’s a ninja master, but it’s also much too quick. Fans would’ve loved to see a crazed version of Hamato Yoshi unleashing hell on those creatures. Further, what the hell were those things?! And then there’s the matter of Baxter’s mutation. Are they going to undo it with a similar device to the Anti-Venom bombs? It’s a great series, but if this is going to be a one-shot without any major repercussions to canon, these loose ends have to be tied off.
The character interactions and development bring a smile to my face. Batman and TMNT work extremely well together and I sincerely hope that after this series there will be another chapter in this inter-dimensional crossover. While dialogue problems and pacing exist, this book’s art team hold the reader’s interest by drawing on what makes both Batman and TMNT the legends they are. Looking forward to the conclusion to this epic event.