BATMAN: THE ADVENTURES CONTINUE #1/ Script by ALAN BURNETT & PAUL DINI/ Art by TY TEMPLETON/ Colors by MONICA KUBINA/ Letters by JOSHUA REED/ Published by DC COMICS
I don’t think it’s possible to overstate the importance of Batman: The Animated Series. Beyond setting a new standard for American animation and establishing the original DC Animated Universe (or what it more commonly called The Timmverse these days after creator Bruce Timm) it also had a major influence on the comics that inspired it.
It was Batman: TAS, after all, which gave us Harley Quinn. The series’ revamp of Mister Freeze, which gave Dr. Victor Fries a tragic backstory involving a sick wife, was taken from the episode “Heart of Ice” and retconned into the character’s backstory in the comics. And was The Mad Hatter ever more compelling as a character than under Paul Dini’s pen backed by Roddy McDowall’s voice? I think not.
I don’t know why DC Comics elected to continue the story of Batman: The Animated Series in a new series overseen by the show’s original producers with artwork by Ty Templeton, who oversaw the excellent comic books based on Batman: TAS. I only know that the arrival of this series, as the rest of the comic book industry goes on hiatus due to the Coronavirus, could not be better timed. Thankfully, this first issue of Batman: The Adventures Continue would stand out even on a week where it wasn’t the only new comic book being released.
Fans of the original series will likely hear the classic Danny Elfman theme in their heads from the first page of this book, which features a title-card like the episodes of old. The storyline sets this issue sometime after the events of the three-part Worlds’ Finest story where Batman and Superman first teamed up against The Joker and Lex Luthor. The action sees Batman, after a brief encounter with Bane, having to stop a giant robot from robbing Wayne Enterprises and stealing a piece of alien hardware that was being analyzed as a favor to Superman. Perhaps it’s just a coincidence that Lex Luthor happens to be in town hobnobbing at all the same parties Bruce Wayne usually attends, but Batman doubts it.
The script by series producers Paul Dini and Alan Burnett perfectly captures the rhythm of the show, with all the characters sounding true to form. One pleasant cameo involves the appearance of Veronica Vreeland; a socialite who appeared several times as a friend of Bruce Wayne’s, though it was hinted that she wanted something more out of the relationship. This issue confirms it, with Veronica outright asking Bruce if he’s given any thought to settling down and if the boy he just adopted (Tim Drake) doesn’t need a mother’s influence. Naturally this is played for the laughs Dini is famous for in his writing.
The artwork is of equal caliber, as one would expect with Ty Templeton at the helm. Templeton is rightly regarded as a wonderful writer and artist for his previous work on the Batman: The Animated Series comic-book tie-ins and this issue proves that time has not dulled his artistic eye. Templeton’s pencils and inks are ably backed by the colors of Monica Kubina and the letters of Joshua Reed.
If you’re a fan of Batman: The Animated Series, this is one book you won’t want to miss. Come to that, if you’re any kind of Batman fan, you won’t want to miss this book.
Batman: The Adventures Continue #1 is now available on Comixology.