At long last, the next harrowing installment of Batman: Audio Adventures has begun! Last time, Batman attempts to stop the Demon Brood’s “future zodiac,” while Robin investigates Penguin and the Scarecrow. Worse of all, there seems to be no end to Killer Croc’s psychotic hallucinations! Unfortunately new twists continue to develop in the current tale of life and death in Gotham City.
The Diary Of Ra’s Al Ghul
The issue opens in the middle of a complex translation from the Bat-Computer. Funnily enough, the visuals look like a generic MacBook UI, but as unreliable as ChatGpt. Allegedly, the computer is capable of translating “four-billion terabytes” of Ra’s Al Ghul’s so-called diary of ancient texts. Although, readers might question who scanned all of it in the first place. Regardless, Batman and Alfred discuss the text to figure out what to do with the sword. Ultimately, the ‘smart computer” helps decide that they must destroy the sword to end the prophesy.
Curiously, Ra’s reveals that he will become the herald for a beast. This concept interestingly connects to the “end of days” referenced in Christian Revelation, yet isn’t too far off from the plot of The Doom That Came To Gotham. The diary seemingly points out that the only thing that can threaten an immortal is the end of time. However, both Ra’s and the Brood believe that sword’s mystical powers are enough to kill him anyway. Whether these superstitions are real is too early to tell, but Batman trusts the fact that people believe in it at all.
It is safe to say that Dennis McNicholas wants his Penguin thoroughly obsessed with Robin. After their previous encounter, Penguin funds a revival of Haly’s Circus and forces several of Gotham’s orphans to attend. Penguin somehow seems to know that Robin was an orphan himself. The unenthusiastic reactions of the orphans and wildly oblivious adults are examples of the kind of dry humor I like from this series. In any case, Penguin intends to use this gross display to goad Robin further.
However, Robin is occupied with his undercover mission into the Scarecrow’s operation. Robin does his best to infiltrate the “gritty drug dealer life” under his street persona of a Burma Street Boy named “Spinner Paddlefoot.” Claiming to strongly vet new corner boys, a woman identifying as a Scullery Maid puts him through a test to see if he can hang. Naturally, only the Scarecrow would make his drug dealers get high on their own supply then front them a kilo. Despite the third degree, Robin accidentally proves he is hardcore enough for Scarecrow to gain some disturbing intel.
A Spirit Quest
Meanwhile, Killer Croc arrives at the doorstep of Leslie Thompkins against my original suspicions. After an uncomfortable amount of tragic flashbacks to Croc’s early life with Penguin and Hugo Strange, Waylon seeking out Leslie instead was a surprise. With the monster serum in hand, the delusional Killer Croc pleads with Leslie to put his inanimate doll together. Throughout the entirety of the Audio Adventures comic, Killer Croc has experienced an incidental spirit quest of sorts. Although in a manic state due to the love potion, Waylon’s subconscious has led him to incidental self-therapy. However, each coincidence seems to magically push the character into a ticking time bomb. I have no doubt that it will happen conveniently at the right place at the right time.
Thus far, I have had an appreciation for the quirky comic strip style artwork in this series. Even Batman’s rectangular cowl and stump-like figure is a unique feature. Additionally, the design of the orphans directly reference the pleasing Andy Capp style artwork of the 50s. Although, this time Anthony Marques’ line art isn’t as faultless as it once was. For instance, the figures have poor limb placement and sometimes nonsense action choreography. The gestures used during fight sequences in the panels don’t hold up to close study. Not to mention, the bewildering design choice of a “Scullery Maid” with sickles for buttons to fit in with the Scarecrow’s theme.
- Audio Adventures is your safe space.
- You appreciate the friendly tone of the series.
- You’re a fan of the Audio Adventures Podcast (and notice Easter eggs like Mama Dagmar).
Batman: The Audio Adventures is like comfort food. It is family friendly like a classic cartoon, but also has that kind of edge that makes kids feel a little bit more adult. It hasn’t lost much in quality or likability, but its tendency to feel like “and then this happened,” is becoming a drawback. In addition, the Scarecrow’s assassination plan and drug empire are extremely silly and not well thought out. While understanding that the series gears toward readers that like cartoony shenanigans, I think it can benefit from more logical writing decisions.
DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purposes of this review.