Comics

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters 2 #4 & #5 Review

‘The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are on the run. The ghost of Darius Dun, a crime boss whose assassination was ordered by Splinter, has summoned a group of demons – the Collectors – to abduct the Turtles, all in an attempt to hurt Splinter. Luckily Donatello reached the Ghostbusters for help before the dimension hopping demons caught up with him.

‘To confuse the trail, the boys in grey split up with the mutant heroes and went on a random run through the infinite dimensions. They take a quick pause to allow their portal technology to recharge, finding themselves in vastly different surroundings!

‘Peter Venkman and Michelangelo appear in Zoo Amsterdam, a city of anthropomorphic animals, where Peter was mistaken for a demon by that dimension’s paranormal investigators – the Ghostbusturtles! Ray Stanz and Raphael found themselves in a frozen forest, ambushed by Scandinavian spectres! Winston Zedmore and Leonardo wind up in a world of pure war, narrowly avoiding death at the hands of an unfeeling army of androids!

‘Back in the Ghostbustbusters’ home dimension, Egon Spengler and Donatello work on a trap that will send the collectors directly to the Containment Unit, a prison they can’t escape from … if the two teams can manage to trap them in the first place. Donatello has an idea about how to make that happen … and the clock is ticking.’

The concluding two parts of the latest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Ghostbusters cross-over event brings the story to a satisfying conclusion as each member of both teams gets a chance to show their strengths, we get a great emotional moment with the Turtles’ long dead mother, and experience some awesome action.

The first few issues of the cross-over have been doing their best to keep the two teams separated, and to stay one step ahead of a confrontation with the series’ big bad. The fourth issue concludes our heroes independent adventures and brings the two teams back together.

The pairings of Turtles and Ghostbusters works very well, with each duo getting a chance to connect, learn from each other and grow in some way, especially for the Turtles. Michelangelo learns that he can talk his way out of situations that would usually descend into violence, and is encouraged to look into psychology by Venkman, Raphael is confronted by the fact that whilst he’s a good person he’s filled with negative energy because he cares too much, and Leonardo learns some battlefield wisdom from a fellow soldier in the form of Winston.

Whilst a lot of team-up series would have characters working together and fighting alongside each other, that would be about it as far as any development would go, with the focus being on action and adventure. Making the choice to focus these early issues on character instead, to give our heroes these smaller moments in which they can grow and learn, is so much better. It shows a level of depth that is sometimes missing from these characters, and a maturity from the writer that shows you don’t need to focus on fighting and witty one-liners in order for a team-up to be great.

Towards the end of the story the two teams find themselves brought back together in an otherworldly dimension that is home to the spirit of Tang Shen, the Turtle’s mother. This scene acts as a great coda to everything the Turtles have been through in the proceeding issues, and all that they have learnt. It’s a great scene that helps the Turtles to come to terms with some of their emotional realisations, and reassures them that it’s okay for them to be who they are, even with their faults, especially if they have their family with them to support them.

The final action sequences of the event are well made, with the Turtles fighting with glowing, proton powered versions of their own ninja weapons to be able to combat their ghostly opponents, whilst the Ghostbusters blast them with proton packs. After a number of issues showing how good friends the two teams are, getting to see them all gathered together and fighting a common enemy is a real treat, especially as it’s the first time that they’ve done it in this story.

A lot of cross-overs rely on some outdated comic book tropes, such as the two teams fighting each other before realising their friends, and put character development to one side in order to cram action into each and every issue. Thankfully, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters 2 breaks away from these rules to do its own thing, to tell a story that’s more about two groups of friends rather than two groups of heroes. It gives our characters quiet moments of contemplation and introspection, it allows them to learn about themselves and grow as characters, but when the time for action comes it also delivers some new an innovative action sequences. A must read for any fans of either franchise.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters #4 & #5 are now available from IDW Publishing.

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