Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Usagi Yojimbo (one-shot) – Stan Sakai

3 out of 5

This is charming that we got these two franchises back together – and that it’s via an over-sized full-color feature by Sakai is thrilling – but beyond that thrill and charm the story doesn’t offer much.  That the plot is “come join me in another dimension to fight an ultimate bad guy” is no surprise – that’s how almost all of these franchise crossovers work – but that there’s almost zero interplay between the characters (even cliched fish out of water gags) and that the turtles lack much individuality is a bummer.

The story is essentially the one-liner offered above: Usagi runs into Kakera, the Master Splinter proxy who brought the foursome and rabbit together way back in the Usagi Mirage years, and who once again needs his Yojimbo services.  While the evil they’re battling has some nice Sakai adapted-mythness to it,  because this is a one-shot that also has to port the Turtles over for an assist, have the requisite “what’s going on?” scuffle, explain that these are dimensionally different Turtles than Usagi met before (so no worries on those back issues, kids!), and leave room for the big brawl… there’s really not enough space for characterization or plot build up.  The book looks amazing; Sakai really outdid himself on detailing, and a four-page spread of the battle is dying for a poster, but again, the story is just functional.

Would’ve been nice to get a more fleshed out mini, but it’s still cool we got this at all.