Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
All images: DC Comics

Batman: The Adventures Continue expands the mythos of the classic ’90s cartoon

Almost three decades after its debut, Batman: The Animated Series still stands as one of the best superhero adaptations across any medium, with stories that explore the full scope of Batman’s character and an aesthetic that ages remarkably well. (Read our recaps of the entire series.) DC Comics has returned to the animated universe for various digital-first series set in the future of Batman Beyond, and just as the entire comics industry is put on pause, DC launches another one that goes back to where the DCAU began. Batman: The Adventures Continue features a team of B:TAS veterans introducing major characters who never appeared in the original series, teaming  writers and producers Alan Burnett and Paul Dini with artist Ty Templeton, who drew the Batman Adventures comic that tied into the cartoon.

These are all creators who deeply understand the look and sound of the source material, and Batman: The Adventures Continue #1 (DC) wastes no time getting back into action, pitting Batman against Bane and a giant robot before Bruce Wayne crosses paths with Lex Luthor at a formal event. Templeton maintains the clean lines, bold graphic composition, and art deco design of the series, with colorist Monica Kubina using a vibrant palette that heightens the fantastic elements of the story. Bringing in Luthor establishes early on that this series will have reach beyond Gotham City, and it gives the creative team the opportunity to explore a rich character dynamic between two billionaires whose lives have diverged in major ways. Burnett and Dini have a firm handle on the character voices, and it’s especially nice to have the Alfred/Batman relationship back in play given Alfred’s death in the core DC Comics line.

The toy industry feeds the children’s cartoon industry, and it plays a major part in the B:TAS comic-book revival. A new line of Batman: The Adventures Continue action figures debuts later this year with characters like Azrael, Deathstroke, and the Red Hood, designed in the B:TAS style by Templeton. The TV series did a phenomenal job approaching both heroes and villains with a balance of gravitas and humor, and there’s loads of potential in the characters already announced for The Adventures Continue, each of which has a long history with Batman on the page.

This first issue sets up the arrival of the Red Hood—a.k.a. the former Robin, Jason Todd—who briefly appears in shadow. Later, one of Bruce Wayne’s ex-flames brings up that he’s had three adopted wards, suggesting that this team will flesh out the period of time between the end of Batman: The Animated Series and the debut of The New Batman Adventures. It will be very interesting to see how Jason Todd’s tragic backstory is adjusted for DCAU continuity, and given that this comic isn’t restricted by children’s TV standards and practices, the series could be going to some very dark places.

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