Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II (#1 – 6) – James Tynion IV

3 out of 5

wasn’t asking for A TMNT / Ghostbusters followup, but, yeah, the James Tynion IV-scripted Bats crossover was so much dammed fun that it was screaming for a sequel, even if we would’ve suspected – and now have had it confirmed – that such a sequel would suffer from the major problem with which most sequels grapple: a makework plot.

I recently groused about this on another review, but the gist is that whatever it is (a comic in this case) is drawn wholesale into existence by a self-justifying plot.  Pretty common in the hero business, when the villain you’ve defeated vows revenge, and thus revenge is your sequel.

There are some definite props to be had here, though: Bats / TMNT 2 is make work, but not in the traditional format mentioned above; Tynion tried to better justify the story, and it’s a spectacularly dumb, out of character justification, but at the same time, it has the sort of spectacularly dumb internal logic that fueled some of the Fred Wolf cartoon and Archie comic, and so while that sets the bar much lower than the preceding series, I’d so much prefer reading dumb – and ultimately fun – over the overwrought dramaturgy of the main IDW books, especially when the Turtles in this mini, even while led by that out-of-character vibe, somehow read more on the spirit of the boys than, again, the ongoing series.  But no kidding, the plot here – that Donny somehow magically is a crap ninja (this has never been a plot point before) and thus decides to revisit Batman’s universe for pointers, accidentally transposing Bane to the TMNT world, in which Bane can apparently instantly take over New York – makes zero sense, has no real feeling of consequence, and requires constant disbelief suspension because Bane can magically conjure up Bane uniforms for the entire foot clan within a few minutes, Batman apologizes a lot, and Donnie’s whole existence hinges on being told he’s a smart boy.  But, hey, Archie dumb, right?  So why not.

Secondly, excepting the final issue’s explicit references to some Fred Wolf moments (hmm…), Tynion didn’t try to make this the nostalgia-fest the first series was.  Which is great!  He maneuvered around what would’ve been one of the other common sequel pitfalls: assuming that more of what worked well the first time around is the recipe for success. We’re all topped up on our references, so just giving us Freddie Williams II art goodness and entertainment was a good way to go.

Williams does deliver, mind you, but the flip side of not shuffling through a lot of guest stars is a lack of variation in the art: it’s always Bane, its always the foot, and colorist Jeremy Colwell makes sure it always looks dammed murky, which sorta juxtaposes the whole Archie comics thang.

There’s plenty of eye-rolling plot points to niggle on, as well as the unfortunate bringing-in of Ryan Ferrier on dialogue (who’s not nearly as clever / funny as Tynion managed to be), but I didn’t hesitate picking up each issue to read, which is a welcomed feeling.