THIS WEEK: Batman The Adventures Continue has perhaps the best-timed release in comics history
Note: the review below contains spoilers. If you want a quick, spoiler-free buy/pass recommendation on the comics in question, check out the bottom of the article for our final verdict.
Batman The Adventures Continue #1
Writers: Alan Burnett & Paul Dini
Artist: Ty Templeton
Colorist: Monica Kubina
Letterer: Joshua Reed
There was some question this week as to whether there would be new comics. We’ve known for a little more than a week or so now that there would not be physical comics. Diamond Comics Distribution — the sole distributor of physical comic books in North America — announced last week that it would not be accepting new orders into its warehouses, meaning that local comic shops could not order new comics for the week of April 1 (and the foreseeable future), meaning that comic book publishers were left with no way to get their product to the public.
This, of course, raised the question of whether publishers would still make their books available for purchase online. Small and mid-size publishers were quick to announce that they would not; that they would in fact be halting release of any and all comics indefinitely and re-scheduling a number of releases for much later in the year. The Big 2 — Marvel Comics and DC Comics — were almost non-committal, as rumors swirled and sales reps dropped unofficial word in retailer forums and to comics media outlets.
Yesterday, however, we learned definitively that no new weekly print comics would be available online from Marvel or DC. But that collections and digital only comics from DC (as well as a grab bag of other less-heralded material) would be available online. This included the lone original new book from the publisher, Batman The Adventures Continue Chapter One. This book is set in the world of the iconic Batman The Animated Series. It’s written by creators involved that show, namely Alan Burnett and Paul Dini, and its illustrated by Ty Templeton, who has been drawing comic book adaptations of that particular television adaptation since 1992, when he drew Batman Adventures #1.
I’m not entirely sure what the scope of this series is, but I do know (because DC publicity told me) that the next chapter will also be available exclusively online (which was the plan since the project’s announcement) in two weeks, landing on your tablet or other e-reader on April 15.
And you know what? I don’t think a single comic has ever had a better-timed release date than this one. When I took out my tablet and opened it up, I found that my ample anxiety about the state of the world essentially melted away, leaving me immersed in the familiarity of the animated series, which I originally watched after school as a child. Templeton’s well-honed designs match the animation style identically, and the writing was such that I heard the voice actors in my head as I scrolled through the book. I just about pumped by fist when I saw the familiar grapple gun Batman used to get around in the show. It was a pretty rote story (at least so far), but that was just fine. It read as if an episode of the original show had been lost and was just now finding its way to the world in comic form…during a pandemic that has us confined to our homes, encased in worry over our health, our loved ones, and our state of employment as a new global recession rolls in.
It was nice to see Bruce banter with Lex Luthor, to hear Alfred go into detail about the suit he’d picked out, to be reminded that last we saw the animated version of Batman, he was working with Tim Drake as his Robin. It was all really really nice, it was all familiar, and I can’t think of a comic book release that has ever had better timing.
So, exciting news…kind of. There most likely will not be a set of new DC Comics for us all to analyze and discuss next week, so instead we here at the DC Round-Up are going to start taking a look back at some of our all-time favorite DC Comics stories. We haven’t narrowed down the list just yet (like the release of DC Comics’ themselves right now, this is all very fluid), but I suspect you will find some familiar favorites as well as some more obscure choices that you might want to add to your own quarantined reading list.
Until then, stay safe!
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This is not what Batman The Animated Series looks like. It was inspired by the dense animation of the Fleischer Superman cartoons of the 1940s. The DC comic book spinoffs used simpler artwork because it was perceived as a kids comic. Also there were people at DC who were upset that fans thought the animated series was better than anything being done in DC’s regular Batman comics at the time. I have no interest in simplified Batman art.
I have great interest in simplified Batman art, especially when done with style and without the ultra-dense musculature of so many modern cape books.
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