Bad pizza is hard to come by. It’s a staple food, and as long as you’ve put together some combination of cheese, tomato, and bread, you’ve got a basic, decent meal that’s going to satisfy most people. Pizza doesn’t have to be great–it can just be “good” and it satisfies.
Hopefully a pizza metaphor is apt for a Ninja Turtles comic, because another big one is coming out this week–their second crossover with Batman, co-published between DC Comics and IDW. It’s a surprisingly fast move given that DC and IDW wrapped up the first Batman/TMNT crossover only a few months ago. The difference is that while the first crossover was firmly entrenched in the current comics continuity, the new story–wholly unconnected from the first–is set in the animated universes of both properties. The Batman half is based on the classic “Timmverse” which ran from 1992 to 2005, while the Turtles are based on their 2012 animated incarnation.
In terms of story, there’s not a lot unique here that sets Batman/TMNT Adventures apart from last year’s Batman/TMNT. Like the first crossover’s opening issue, this chapter opens with characters disappearing from one universe and appearing in the other, and a yet-unexplained mystery as to why that’s happening. The only significant flip is that the focal universe has changed: Batman/TMNT had the Turtles transported to the DC Universe’s Gotham City; here, Batman’s rogues are inexplicably appearing in the Turtles’ New York.
Matthew Manning doesn’t write a bad story here so far, just a redundant one. (But let’s give the next five issues a shot, shall we? It’s too soon to call this a strict duplication of James Tynion’s story from last year.) But the beauty in the story is less in the plot and more in the styling. I can’t speak to the 2012 TMNT animated series, but Manning and Jon Sommariva at least do a wonderful job in recreating the tone and spirit of the Timmverse Batman. For the last few years, DC has been rereleasing collections of the old Batman Adventures comic which supplemented Batman: The Animated Series, and Batman/TMNT Adventures honestly looks like it could seamlessly slide right next to those books as their successor.
From a cynical standpoint, Batman/TMNT Adventures may be nostalgia porn, but it works. Like a pizza, it’s good comfort food, and even if you’re not getting gourmet quality, it’s still satisfying. If you’re a fan of the old Batman animated series or the more recent TMNT series, or if just want a fun, clean story, this book is for you.
Rating: Four half-shells out of five.