Written by Alan Burnett and Paul Dini, with art by Ty Templeton, colors by Monica Kubina and letters by Joshua Reed, Batman: The Adventures Continue #1 out this week from DC Comics follows in the footsteps of the cartoon, and doesn’t stray far. The comic acts as a sequel of sorts to the animated series. With the legacy of the cartoon overhead, this creative team seems to follow the beats of the original series very carefully.
Burnett and Dini, writers of Batman The Animated Series, return to a world they’ve written for before. They emulate the show in very interesting ways. The action moments that on-screen often involved characters jumping around and grunting are just as action-based here. The fisticuffs and the villains are the focus. But the transition into the role of playboy billionaire is also very present. Burnett and Dini give Bruce Wayne his time in the sun too, and Wayne’s conversations with Luthor provide them with a chance to flex their dialogue-writing muscles. Batman is their silent knight, and Bruce Wayne is their silver-tongued diplomat. It creates a kind of symmetry for the character that’s often lacking elsewhere.
Templeton’s art closely follows the character models we have come to know. Though it’s actually Templeton’s relaxed attitude that makes his art so appealing. Instead of working in the shadow of the animated series, Templeton occasionally veers off slightly into his own style. It never seems out of place, yet it seems fresh and new. With so much faithfulness to the original style, it’s nice to see slight variations. Much of Templeton’s layouts read like a cartoon too. With characters moving in a scene only slightly between panels. It creates a sense that we are watching the whole scene play out, instead of jumping into important moments.
Kubina’s colors feel slightly out of place. The simplified coloring of each scene seems like the kind of coloring that works better on the screen than the page. Yet the Animated Series itself often created depth with its dark tones. Each scene is colored in solid blocks of color. Perhaps it’s the colors themselves that seem out of place. The red sky in the background looks odd when not given texture. It actually looks like the sky has gone red and you wonder to yourself why all the characters aren’t panicking. Many of the color choices themselves are more stylistic than literal, but when paired with Templeton’s more simplified art and not given texture, it often looks wrong.
Reed’s lettering sets the pace for each scene. With the action-packed fight scenes requiring very little lettering, Reed doesn’t hesitate from creating large blocks of writing in the more conversational moments. Reed frees up earlier pages, making them a quick read, so we can slow down in the wordier moments. We read the conversations between Wayne and Luthor and are slowed down by how the lettering is presented. It gives us a chance to notice and digest what is being said. These conversations aren’t throwaway moments, and Reed wants us to take them in carefully.
Batman: The Adventures Continue #1 takes much of the charm of the cartoon and follows in its footsteps. It’s nice to see Bruce Wayne get some time out of the house, for one thing. Though the start of this series is charming, for sure, it does seem to carefully stay in the lines instead of taking risks. It delivers on what it claims to be and stops there. Fair enough! For fans of the show, this will surely be a worthy addition. Batman: The Adventures Continue #1 will be available on ComiXology on April 1st!