11th Jun2020

‘Batman: The Adventures Continue #5’ Review (DC Digital)

by Dean Fuller

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

Issue 5 and, rather shamefacedly, I have been taking this book for granted already. The problem is, I know it’s going to be good before I even start reading it, so worry I will struggle to balance a fair critique. You know what though? Part of reviewing books is to also draw attention to good books, ones that people should be picking up, and to date this is one of those books. It has a Silver Age purity to it, characters unburdened by the increasingly convoluted main DC Universe, but with a little hint of danger. Continuity replaced by good storytelling? by fun? Oh, the horror.

So, what’s been occurring? Well, Deathstroke has. Injecting a little more nastiness into the DC Animated universe, he’s arrived to put Batman and team through their paces. The fact that Robin ended up teaming up with him, while Batman was otherwise engaged, was a little jarring. Going back to my first point about reviewing, I must say the last two issues could probably have comfortably been melded into one and the story would have had a little more urgency. Still, it’s been nice enough. We open with that unexpected team up, as Robin and Deathstroke take on Firefly, and Deathstroke literally pulls Robin’s fat out of the fire. Batman meanwhile is now looking for Robin, who has turned off his communicator, unaware of what he is doing, and with whom. Typical guardian.

Like any good guardian, though, he makes up for it. Batman tracks down and finds Robin, taking down Firefly in the process. All seems a little bit too pat though. One stern telling off later, Batman and Slade have words. Strong words. Just why is Deathstroke hanging around Gotham, and especially Batman and his associates? Deathstroke claims he isn’t, he has a client paying him to take down Firefly. Hmmm. The other subplot that been running through the book is the one concerning the mysterious stalker following Batman. Who is he or she? As in the animated universe Tim Drake is Robin, could it be Jason Todd? Or are Burnett and Dini playing with us? Whoever it is, they managed to escape from Batman, and not many people can do that.

The last couple of pages help us see where the story is going. Slade, as we knew, isn’t working for a good guy client at all. It’s time for Lex to reappear again, as he’s the one paying Deathstroke’s wages. Lex is still a bit miffed from getting his battlesuit clad butt handed to him by Bruce before, and has hired the world’s deadliest assassin to do what he couldn’t. To add to the fun, Slade’s being bugged and followed too, and his entire conversation on killing Batman has been overheard by the mysterious stalker. Although, judging by that final panel, not quite so mysterious now. I won’t spoil the surprise.

This issue again has all the good and bad stuff from previous issues. If you enjoy the ‘classic’ feel of this book, the animated universe setting, then there’s much to enjoy. For my money, this is a purer Batman than we’ve seen for a long while. However, if you like grim and gritty, if you like a bit of blood and guts, then this is probably not for you. These are like PG characters, as opposed to the regular books being more rated 15/18. I like comics to be a broad church, and personally am as happy reading an issue of Sabrina the Teenage Witch as Hellblazer or X-Men. This book, though, is unashamedly more about entertainment and feel than continuity and change, and that’s fine by me.

Nostalgia is a strong emotion, and every issue of this book just transports me back to those 90’s days watching the animated show on TV. It makes me smile, and we all need some of that right now.

**** 4/5

Batman: The Adventures Continue #5 is out now on Comixology.


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