Welcome back, readers! In our last adventure, the illegitimate scion of King Scimitar sold out the Batman after a salacious sword heist. Strangely, the shadowy stalkers wanted to negotiate with our hero, rather than attempt to fight. As the Dark Knight stares down the menacing masked assailants, they share the mysterious truth behind their mission.
The so-called tales of life and death in Gotham City continue in Batman: Audio Adventures #2. After a quick history lesson on The Demon’s Head, Batman must decide which side of an emerging conflict he must stand on. The talkative ghouls describe Ra’s Al Ghul as a wise scholar and the Demon’s Head as the name of a mystical sword. To my knowledge, no one has ever made a big deal out of the sword Ra’s usually carries. Moreover, I don’t think I’ve ever read anything about any groups dedicated to killing him either.
As opposed to the first issue, I found this story very exposition heavy. Dennis McNicholas writes out pleasingly nuanced narration about plagues and meteors that he probably finds interesting. At times it can feel a bit unnecessary, but the style certainly fits. The pattern of speech reminds me of the old school comics, novels, and audio dramas it is based on. The bulk of the dialogue dances between chipper politeness and a nihilistic noir feeling. Characters like Robin harken back to the wholesome partnerships found in early comics and the Batman (1966) tv series. I definitely appreciated the attention to Robin’s pun-laced codebreaking skills and the homage to Burt Ward’s “secret handshake” gesture. Anyway, there’s something morbidly odd about Batman quipping about his car accident with his child sidekick.
Has anyone noticed how tight Batman’s utility belt seems? Batman’s costume has clearly defined line art indicating that either he tucks his shirt or his belt is ill-fitting. Whatever the case, he still has a pretty neat and simple design. The other character designs are very plain or shockingly cuddly like Killer Croc. The ghouls are always accompanied by an eerie cloud of vapor to make them seem ghastly. However, the overall gray jumpsuits they wear aren’t intimidating. They share plenty of similarities with the look of the Foot Clan from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This becomes an interesting tonal concern of mine when characters start grave robbing, cannibalizing, or murdering someone. Nonetheless, the artwork is magnificent. Even when Killer Croc tragically murders people while thinking he’s eating “evil” Let’s All Go To The Lobby (1957) style marshmallow-men.
Originally, the Killer Croc interlude felt very disconnected from the main plot. As the story began to coalesce, Croc’s part is beginning to feel more important than it seems. Not to mention, the mind control plot itself is a spin-off from a thread about Joker and Harley. Now that there is a fourth running plot about the Scarecrow and the Penguin, I can assume it will also fit into the growing tableau. It may just be too ambitious but time will tell. Whatever kind of web McNicholas is weaving, I hope it all comes together in one piece.
- Nostalgic for Silver Age style Batman stories.
- You are a fan of Batman: The Audio Adventures on HBOMAX.
- You want to see Killer Croc killing a bunch of people while tripping balls.
First of all, the book looks really good. Readers will have a blast peeling through the wall-to-wall illustrations. I can see how the tone may be jarringly morbid despite all of its high campiness. The book is an easy recommendation for the niche of Batman fans who vibe with the style, but may prove difficult if you can’t handle the funny business. If you listen to the Audio Adventures podcast, you may end up increasing your immersion.
DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purposes of this review.