17th Apr2020

‘Batman: The Adventures Continue #2’ Review

by Dean Fuller

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

batman-adv-continue-2-cover

The first issue of this book was something of a critical darling, was it not? Completely understandable of course, as it was superb stuff. Superb in the sense it pulled us back into the Batman animated universe as though it had never been away, superb in the sense that Burnett, Dini, and Templeton made us wish that they never had been away, and superb in the sense that once again we can see that sometimes less means more. At first glance the animated style of the book looks simplistic and unsophisticated, but get drawn in and it’s as rich a world as you’ll find anywhere. Burnett and Dini also kept to previously established animated universe continuity and, if you know anything about comic fandom, that’ll get you a knighthood right there.

So, we left Batman getting strangled by the archetypal Lex Luthor, in his classic purple and green power suit. This followed on from Bruce’s attempt to find out who had sent a robot to steal an alien artifact from Wayne Enterprises, an artifact sent there by Superman himself so more could be found out about it. Once Lex turned up in Gotham, it didn’t take the world’s greatest detective to put two and two together. The artifact Lex was after turns out to be Brainiac’s metallic skull, a remnant of Brainiac’s battle with Superman. Lex thinks he can pull futuristic secrets from that skull, but Batman tells him that the skull is devoid of anything. Brainiac uploaded his consciousness to another vessel in space. Lex is not having that of course. He views himself as a cybernetics genius, able to pull information out where Wayne Enterprises scientists could not.

What Lex is forgetting of course is that Batman’s a bit of a genius in his own right too. He knows he can’t take on Lex in his power suit, but he also knows that although Brainiac’s consciousness itself is gone, the head mechanism still has some working parts. Parts that can be hotwired. That’ll be Lex flying out backwards through the warehouse wall then, caught off guard by laser beams from Brainiac’s skull. Back to the Batcave, and time for an upgrade. The Bat battle suit (Bat-tle Suit?) is being dusted off, the reinforced Dark Knight Returns style one. Though this one flies.

Bruce catches up with Lex and, with Lex’s suit still damaged, gets the upper hand. Lex also decides it is time for an upgrade, and gets into the giant robot we saw wreaking havoc last issue. Fisticuffs high up in the sky ensue, but Bruce has a secret weapon of his own to call on. The robot has to be powered by a very powerful energy source, and the battery space looks suspiciously man sized….guessed yet? Let’s just say a certain missing Kryptonian turns up. It’s also refreshing to not have these two hate each other, as they often do in mainstream continuity. Here, Superman and Batman are friends, though Batman thinks him too much a boy scout, and Superman thinks Bruce too hardline at times.

A nice second issue to tie up a solid two-parter to launch the book. The story moved at a fair old pace, maintaining that visual animated style of storytelling. Let the pictures do most the work. Templeton’s art was excellent, really making this issue feel like the cartoon come to life. He could have been storyboarding out an episode of a new animated series it was so good. For want of a better description, this is good, old fashioned storytelling. Heroes are heroes, bad guys are bad guys, the heroes ultimately win, the bad guys come back for more, and we all know where we are.

Classic versions of classic characters, the Silver Age alive and well all over again. Love it.

**** 4/5

Batman: The Adventures Continue #2 is out now from DC Comics.

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