The crossover event of the year concludes with a bang — and a roundhouse kick, followed by a punch or two in the face — in James Tynion IV and Freddie Williams II’s superb “Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” #6, which delivers all of the ninja action fans were hoping for.
Tynion IV’s script wastes no time getting started as Batman and Damian face the mutagen-corrupted inmates of Arkham Asylum. The thoughtful pace and delivery of these fight scenes convey qualities reminiscent of the original “TMNT” cartoon (1987-1996) and come across as a polite nod to longtime fans. We are so accustomed to Batman fighting his rogue’s gallery from an experienced point of view that it’s refreshing to watch the Turtles join the fray and learn the villain’s abilities as they go. This adaptability is a credit to their training and a living lesson carried forward from previous issues, where Master Splinter cautioned them not to underestimate their opponents.
A keen understanding of both Batman and the Turtles’ fan base lies at the core of this series, and issue #6 is like an exclamation point to that notion. The dynamic action scenes are complemented by careful attention to character development, which wraps up the series while leaving the invitation open for a sequel. (Yes, please!) Underlying themes of respect permeate the title, just like one of the old “Turtle Tips” from the cartoon. Respecting one another is a lesson most graciously taught through the relationship that develops between Batman and Raphael, who is still gloriously a hothead (reminiscent of the original “TMNT” movie from 1990).
Freddie E. Williams II is the grand architect of some over-the-top visuals; though they might have seemed too much in any other Batman title, they are employed perfectly here. In an issue that is essentially one huge fight, Williams II’s mesmerizing art draws readers smoothly through the fracas while conveying the humor and humanity that make the Turtles such an effective team. Colorist Jeremy Colwell deserves huge kudos for bringing vibrancy and depth to Williams II’s gorgeous line work. Gotham’s characteristically dark shades are given an earth-toned approach that serves as an ideal backdrop for the vibrant colors of the characters. Good luck selecting a favorite scene; the quality conveyed throughout makes it a difficult decision.
“Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” #6 is a fun and satisfying conclusion to a fantastic series. Its gripping action sequences are balanced by humor and no shortage of delightful character interactions that will grab readers’ attention from the first panel through to the very last.