This week the Dark Knight teams up with the Heroes in a Half Shelll, and the Green Goblin returns in The Amazing Spider-Man!
Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 (of 6) (DC Comics/IDW)
IDW and DC continue their crossover series with two characters that I never expected to ever cross paths: Batman and The Ninja Turtles. While both are ninjas and primarily stick to the shadows, there’s not as much in common as say, Star Trek and Green Lantern. However, Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ first issue is a blast to read, and James Tynion IV and Freddie Williams II have a ton of fun bringing these two franchises together.
The story begins with Batman investigating a series of break-ins at local Gotham Laboratories. Every case has a similar aspect to it: they’ve all been performed by ninjas, and only a few items are stolen, leaving more valuable items behind. At the same time, the Ninja Turtles have found themselves transported into a new dimension, and have set up a small base in the sewers of Gotham. As Batman investigates another break in, he learns from a Foot Clan member that there are “giant turtles”, and comes face to face with Shredder. At the same time, the Turtles run afoul of Killer Croc and have to defend their turf. It all leads to the final page reveal where Batman comes across the turtles as they find the Batmobile.
The strength of Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is that it doesn’t really waste any time setting up why the Turtles are in Gotham, or how Batman is aware of them. James Tynion IV’s script casually gives you hints as to why these two are going to be crossing paths, and Tynion’s background with the Dark Knight really helps ground the story. While we’ve yet to see the Turtles interact with Batman, Tynion shows with this issue that he’s got a strong sense of what makes each one of the TMNT tick.
On the art side of things, Freddie Williams II’s pencils look really good, but his exaggerated style works better on the Turtles than on the Dark Knight. His human faces look a little strange and disproportional when masks do not cover them, and his Batmobile looks like a kid with play-doh created it. There are some awesome splash pages though, like when Shredder makes his presence known to Batman, or when the Turtles attack Killer Croc and his crew.
I had pretty high hopes for Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and while this opening issue didn’t blow me away, it was still a thrill to see these two sets of characters interact with each other. This is definitely going to be one of the strangest crossovers in the Batman’s long comic book history, and it could, hopefully, become one of the best too.
Amazing Spider-Man #4 (Marvel Comics)
Dan Slott and Giuseppe Camuncoli’s Amazing Spider-Man continues its break neck pace with issue 4, and while this is a fun done-in-one story, it doesn’t really progress the main storyline of the Zodiac. While heading to a mission for SHIELD with Mockingbird, Spidey gets a call from his Aunt May, who’s in an African nation with her husband overseeing a new Parker Industries solar panel. It’s all going according to plan until a Pumpkin Bomb arrives, which causes Spidey to bail on Nick Fury’s plan to go rescue his Aunt.
Now if you’re looking at the cover and thinking “the Green Goblin’s back? Hell yes!” I’m about to drop a little SPOILER in your lap: it’s not the Green Goblin. In fact, it’s multiple Green Goblins now that Norman Osborn has been expanding his reach (and his Goblin tech) to others. Dan Slott doesn’t really reveal too much about this aspect of the story, but it’s a really cool idea that I actually like more than the main plot revolving around SHIELD’s battle with the Zodiac.
Speaking of Slott, as always, he proves he’s got a really great handle on Spider-Man and his world, and still finds way to remind you that while a lot has changed in Peter Parker’s life, he’s still the same character you’ve always loved. One of these changes is including characters like Mockingbird in this title. Spidey’s banter with her is a ton of fun, and I enjoy these two so much that if Slott decided to have Bobbi Morse become Spidey’s new leading lady, I don’t think I’d have any problems with it at all.
Giuseppe Camuncoli continues to dazzle on the art in this book, and gives us some pretty kick ass fight scenes between Spidey, the Goblins, and Mockingbird. There’s none of the usual trappings that Camuncoli falls into here. Like Slott, Camuncoli has found his groove with Spidey. He pulls off the action in this issue flawlessly. Of the Slott stable of Spidey artists, Camuncoli might be my favorite.
While the new Amazing Spider-Man has certainly changed many things about Spider-Man, having Dan Slott on the book really keeps it grounded to the Spidey books of the past. While I’m still not entirely sold on this new take on Spidey, Slott’s earned a ton of goodwill from me, so I’m going to stay on for the ride. Amazing Spider-Man #4 is not going to convince anyone who’s given up on this new take on Spidey, but if you’ve been enjoying this new spin so far, there’s nothing here to give you any cause for alarm.