BATMAN: THE ADVENTURES CONTINUE: SEASON 2 #3/ Script by ALAN BURNETT & PAUL DINI/ Art by RICK BURCHETT/ Colors by MONICA KUBINA/ Letters by JOSH REED/ Published by DC COMICS
One unfortunate story of “what might have been” lies in Gail Simone’s original script for the Justice League Unlimited episode “Double Date“. The story, which pitted Green Arrow and Black Canary against Huntress and The Question in a battle over the life of a gangster in Witness Protection was originally intended to have a cameo by Barbara Gordon, in a nod to the Birds of Prey comic. Unfortunately, all of the Batman characters apart from Batman himself were out-of-bounds due to rights issues, so the scene had to be cut.
I mention this because one of the best things about Batman: The Adventures Continue is getting to see the stories that never had a chance to happen because of rights issues or because of writers not getting a chance to do more with characters that only had a single appearance but seemed to have a lot of potential. Batman: The Adventures Continue: Season 2 #3 is such a story.
The action centers around Batgirl, who goes off on a search for escaped gangster Jimmy “The Jazzman” Peake, who once nearly murdered her father, Commissioner Gordon, in the classic Batman: The Animated Series episode “I Am The Night.” She unwittingly becomes his protector, however, when it turns out that the Huntress is also on the prowl and looking for the Jazzman, who was one of the men responsible for the death of her family. It’s a classic setup from Paul Dini and Alan Burnett, but an effective one. The real draw here is the interactions between Batgirl and Huntress and getting to see more of the Jazzman, who was one of the more engaging mobster villains in the Animated Series and one who warranted further development. That being said, while I’m sure most of the audience of this book are adults, it was still odd to see Batgirl cursing in this book, given the source material was originally aimed at family audiences.
The art by Rick Burchett is not quite so well crafted. While Burchett does a fine job of mimicking Bruce Timm’s designs and the house style of the Animated Series, his poses are stilted and his expressions often do not match the dialogue. It’s a shame, because the coloration by Monica Kubina is excellent, adding a tremendous sense of depth to the finished art. The lettering by Josh Reed is also well applied.
Fans of the Birds of Prey books will want to check this issue out, despite its flaws, as will any fans of the original show hoping to see more of Jimmy “The Jazzman” Peake. The solid story outweighs the occasionally off-model artwork and there’s far more good than bad to be found here.