Batman/Teenage Mutant Turtles III #3, written by James Tynion IV, illustrated by Freddie E. Williams III and Kevin Eastman, colored by Jeremy Cowell, and lettered by Tom Napolitano, is published by DC Comics in association with IDW Publishing. The issue finds Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reeling from the revelation that their universes have been merged together; while Batman goes off on his own to do some soul searching, the other Turtles and Raphael Prime seek out a pair of familiar faces to help them save the Multiverse. All the while, reality begins to crumble as Krang and the Laughing Man fight to keep the heroes from restoring their respective worlds.
This issue doesn’t contain as much action as the previous two, but it more than makes up for it with the emotional heft. From the start, we are treated to what seems like another redux of Batman’s origin, but with some minor changes. From there the issue moves into the present, with Bruce Wayne grappling with the ramifications that the history he knows is a lie. Much like Batman and the Outsiders, this comic digs deep into the humanity of the Dark Knight and is all the better for it. This is especially important when Batman runs into someone from his world who is close to him; the result of that encounter would move even the hardest of heart.
At this point, Tynion, Williams, and Eastman operate like a well-oiled machine. Tynion’s script brings every bit of emotion that it can in 22 pages. Whether it’s Splinter giving Batman a much-needed life lesson or the Turtles running into their lifelong friend April O’Neill, readers will smile, laugh, gasp, and maybe even shed a tear or two. This series is the result of someone who not only has a handle on both the mythos of Batman and the Turtles but understands that the emotional bonds between the characters are what keep the fans invested.
Most of Williams’ art here consists of close-ups of the characters’ faces, particularly Batman. This allows the reader to witness the emotions each character is experiencing. Eastman returns to provide artwork for Raphael Prime, and one panel features him butting heads with his alternate universe counterpart.
It’s a treat to see the differences in Williams and Eastman’s art styles, especially with the most popular Ninja Turtle in play. Cowell’s colors add a dreamlike dimension to the opening sequence and a sense of foreboding as the skies are split open with red lightning. Napolitano’s lettering gives each character a distinct voice- Raphael Prime once again feels like he was literally ripped from the TMNT Mirage comics.
Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III #3 reminds us that for all the fight scenes and crossover highs, it’s emotion – first and foremost – that keeps us invested in these stories. And now that we’re at the halfway point, I hope that emotion continues to be a driving force behind this series.
Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III #3 is available wherever comics are sold.
Batman/Teenage Mutant Turtles III #3
Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III #3 reminds us that for all the fight scenes and crossover highs, it’s emotion – first and foremost – that keeps us invested in these stories.
Collier “CJ” Jennings is a freelance reporter and film critic living in Seattle. He uses his love of comics and film/TV to craft reviews and essays on genre projects. He is also a host on Into the Spider-Cast.