BATMAN/ TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES #4

NEW FRIENDS, OLD GHOSTS – 9/10.

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Just when you thought that this comic couldn’t possibly get any better, they go and add the Joker to the mix! It seems as if the Clown Prince of Crime is about to join what is already a fairly jam-packed title. Despite the addition of Joker to the story things actually slowed down a bit in this issue, which isn’t a bad thing at all as it has been pretty full paced since the very first panel. While Batman and Raphael enjoy some quality bonding/brooding time, new BFFs, Shredder and R’as Al Ghul entertain a visitor from another dimension. Yes, Joker wasn’t the only familiar face to turn up this month as TMNT regular, Casey Jones, made his way into the story as well.

With several members of the Foot Clan now residing in Arkham, Dr Zaheer does her best to get through to Shredder’s brain washed soldiers, much to the amusement of the Joker who can sense that something big is happening in Gotham and wants in on the fun. One person who isn’t having any fun is Raphael, while Leonardo trains with Batman and Michelangelo pesters Alfred, he is painfully aware that time is running out for his brothers and father. Without mutagen to replenish their DNA they will soon revert back to their primitive forms. He accuses Bruce of being nothing more than a thrill seeking rich boy before storming out in classic Raph style.

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Meanwhile, having created another portal device, R’as and Shredder intercept a signal from the Turtles’ dimension. That signal turns out to be Casey, who has travelled to this dimension to deliver a batch of mutagen that could save the turtles and Splinter. Unfortunately he is intercepted by the new evil alliance and greeted by the combined forces of the League of Assassins and the Foot Clan, good thing he remembered to bring his lucky hockey stick. Back on the rain soaked streets of Gotham, Batman catches up with Raphael and convinces him to take a trip with him down memory lane or more specifically, to Crime Alley.

He takes Raphael to the place where his parents were murdered and explains to him how that moment changed him, how it inspired him to help others including the turtles. It seems as if he finally gets through to Raph, but before they can hug it out Bruce receives a message from Alfred summoning them back to the cave. The Batcomputer also picked up Casey’s signal; the remaining turtles decide not to wait for Batman so they ‘borrow’ a Batmobile and race to its coordinates. There they discover their badly wounded friend, he tells them that Shredder and R’as took the mutagen from him and that they now plan to use it on the inmates of Arkham Asylum.

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This series just keeps going from strength to strength, managing to blend action, emotion and comedy to create a title that fits perfectly with both brands. This issue was filled with wonderful moments like Batman sharing a slice of pizza with the turtles and Alfred doing his best to discipline Michelangelo. While Casey Jones has always been an awesome addition to any TMNT story his presence actually feels a little forced here. How did he get to the portal? How did he get the mutagen? How did he even know the turtles needed the mutagen? But these are only small qualms in what has been an otherwise perfect run.

The addition of the Joker to the story is a huge surprise that I definitely didn’t see coming. Putting R’as and Shredder together made perfect sense as they both command an army of loyal warriors, but Joker is a total wild card who could take this story anywhere. Freddie Williams’ artwork remains sensational and he draws Joker as a pale eyed demon, looming over Dr Zaheer and the entire narrative. The real question is was this just a cameo or will he be released from his cell so he can join in the fun? Whatever R’as and Shredder’s plan may be, it appears as if things are about to get a lot worse for Batman and the turtles but even better for the readers.

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POINTS OF INTEREST

  • Batman’s holo-recordings show some of the action we have missed from this team up, including a battle between the turtles and the Mad Hatter, Jarvis Tetch.
  • We also miss out on an alluded to conversation between Donatello and Cyborg, while it would have been cool to see this it makes sense to leave it out of an already packed story.
  • The Batmobile that the turtles steal is much nicer than the one that has been featured in the story thus far, taking its inspiration from the classic design of the animated series.
  • Does anyone else feel like we might see a cameo from Krang before this team up reaches its conclusion?
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