Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III #4, written by James Tynion IV, illustrated by Freddie E. Williams II, colored by Jeremy Cowell, and lettered by Tom Napolitano, is published by DC Comics in association with IDW Publishing. After learning that their universes have been merged together, Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fight to repair their respective realities. They seek out several allies, including Casey Jones, in the process and have a debate on whether or not to return the Laughing Man, a fusion of Shredder and the Joker, to his rightful place in reality.
In most comic book crossovers, there is usually a “breather issue”, or an issue that is relatively light on action and plot. And Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III #4 is a prime example, as the bulk of the issue finds Batman and the Turtles grappling with their alliance with the Shredder as well as the ramifications of returning the Joker back to normal.
Batman has to repair reality but the thought of returning a psychotic clown back into the world is pretty damning. It’s pretty clear that the Shredder does not believe in the old adage “The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” as he outright contemplates killing the Joker and warns the heroes not to test him as he is only interested in his own agenda. Batman and Splinter also have a heartfelt moment where Splinter refers to Batman as his “son.” Even though Krang’s manipulation has been undone, it still speaks to Splinter’s fatherly spirit and the bonds Batman has formed with him and the Turtles.
Tynion and Williams continue to be a creative match made in heaven. Tynion’s script balances emotional moments with bursts of action as fan-favorite characters making an appearance. Kevin Eastman sits out on this issue, leaving Williams to do the heavy lifting, and it’s a load he bears without complaint.
His artwork remains striking, especially when Casey Jones fights the Laughing Man. Casey looks like he’s leaping into the frame, the wind whipping through the panel as he swings a hockey stick at the Laughing Man’s head. It’s an image I wouldn’t mind framing and hanging on my wall.
Cowell rounds out the creative team, with his colors adding to the atmosphere of this merged universe. Apart from the fiery red skies that are usually associated with DC’s famous Crisis on Infinite Earths’ storyline, the Joker’s re-emergence has him wreathed in green smoke as he laughs maniacally. Apart from being an eye-grabbing visual, it invokes the uneasiness that a character like the Joker should inflict on his victims.
Even though it’s light on plot development and action, Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III #4 has plenty of thrills for Batman fan and TMNT aficionados alike. The stage is set for a battle of epic proportions and I cannot wait to see how Tynion and Williams handle the last two issues.
Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III #4 is available now wherever comics are sold.
Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #4
Even though it’s light on plot development and action, Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III #4 has plenty of thrills for Batman fan and TMNT aficionados alike.
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.