02nd Apr2020

‘Batman: The Adventures Continue #1’ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Alan Burnett, Paul Dini | Art by Ty Templeton | Published by DC Comics

batman-adventures-1-cover

If you weren’t excited to see this book hit the stands, then you can just collect up all your stuff and get out right now. Batman: The Animated Series, which aired in the early to mid 1990’s, is probably the most beloved of animated shows ( X-Men a close second, for what it’s worth), and its influence on comics in general has been huge. Some people will still swear it has the best depiction of Batman, in any medium, full stop, and it’s not easy to argue with that. Some of you younger fans may be thinking, so what, an old animated show, means nothing to me. Like the character of Renee Montoya? First appeared in the show. How about Harley Quinn? Yep, show first, comics later. There are also too many continuity changes and changes of style to mention here but, huge influence as I said. I, like most fans with taste, am a huge fan.

So, a book based on the animated continuity again is a great idea, but what writers and artists could follow in the footsteps of writers like animated series gurus Paul Dini and Alan Burnett, or animated style artists like Ty Templeton? How about Paul Dini, Alan Burnett, and Ty Templeton. Yep, that’ll do. Not quite sure how DC and Editor Andrew Marino did it, but they got the perfect creative team back for the book. Sorry to be such a fanboy, but the cover and credits pages alone had me excited. I’ll try to be objective with my review (emphasis on the ‘try).

What always worked the best with the animated style of storytelling, including the comic book adaptations, was to mainly let the visuals tell the story. The visuals sold it to you, and the dialogue and text added the depth. Right away you can see Dini and Burnett have the ‘if it ain’t broke..’ approach and pretty much pick up right where they left off, as does Templeton, who drew the animated comics back in the day. We jump straight in to a typical Gotham night for Batman. Taking down Bane, fighting off a giant robot, rescuing Harvey Bullock, lots of background Easter eggs with Wayne Tech and Penguin’s Iceberg Lounge among others, and a mysterious stranger watching all from the shadows. The reader is just thrown into the middle of all this, as the first dozen pages whizz by in a flash of nostalgia.

Once Dini and Burnett have let Templeton have his fun with the pictures, they add a little characterization and plot to the mix. Back at stately Wayne Manor, Bruce tries to investigate just what the giant robot was after as Alfred makes his appearance, reminding Bruce of a prior engagement, him being a millionaire playboy philanthropist and all. What twists Bruce arm is something that may tie into the alien artifact theft, as the robot took an artifact given to Wayne Enterprises by Superman for investigation. Guest of honour at the party? a certain Lex Luthor no less. Lex and Bruce do that powerful men banter thing, two alpha males trying to outwit each other. Interesting things do pop up though. Batman’s ward Tim gets a mention, Superman is apparently missing, and all this is in previous continuity, as Lex mentions his run in with The Joker.

This was pretty much every bit as good as I hoped. Although Templeton’s art seemed slightly looser than it used to be, it still stirred up the old nostalgia and was very nearly perfect for this. The script by Dini and Burnett was perfect, a lovely perfect dive back into familiar waters. No psychopathic Batman here, just darknight detective Bruce Wayne doing his thing. Gotham City is still as dangerous as ever, but filled with toys and distractions only the animated series world can provide. This world has style to spare and ,free of convoluted continuity, can tell pretty much any story it wants. The characters in this world are as pure to their original concepts as you will find anywhere, and I can’t wait to explore more. The only thing that would have made this perfect would have been Lex in his purple and green battlesuit…actually, that would be the last panel then. Teases.

A perfect blend of nostalgia, style, and storytelling. Bat-tastic!

***** 5/5

Batman: The Adventures Continue #1 is out now from DC Comics.

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