After 31 years, the Batman Adventures series of spinoff comics finally comes to a close (for now). Throughout the run of Batman: The Adventures Continue, the series struggled to figure out what kind of comic it wanted to be. Season 1 seemed mostly concerned with introducing as many non-DCAU characters to the universe as possible, while Season 2 largely confined itself to one overarching story about the Court of Owls. Season 3 leans more towards the latter, but breaks itself into smaller arcs to keep things fresh. This final act concludes with a climax of Ra’s al Ghul, the Court of Owls, and possibly even Batman’s final mission.
That last bit sounds a bit ridiculous, doesn’t it? “Of course this isn’t Batman’s final mission, that’s not how comics work”, I hear you saying. And you’re mostly correct. The last time one of these “will the hero stop being the hero?” plotlines seemed believable was when Stan Lee wrote “Spider-Man No More!” over 55 years ago. The only reason why this particular example feels a little different is because this is tentatively the universe’s final story. If you can ignore the existence of Justice League and Batman Beyond, which presumably still take place at some future point, it does a good job of framing the conflict as a natural conclusion for the character. Crime is down if not gone, and one of Batman’s greatest foes seems to have turned over a new leaf in hopes of working together.
That being said, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that everything was part of Ra’s’ master, diabolical plan (I mean, look at that cover). The twist that Ra’s had turned the zombie Talons into his henchmen and wanted to use his miracle crops to slowly sterilize the planet is one I genuinely didn’t see coming. It feels incredibly in character for the type of plan he would enact. Ra’s has always been one for the big picture, and making his final coup de grâce be one that doesn’t even directly harm anyone currently living is perfect. Of course he had to go the extra mile and make it super evil by making himself the ruler of the new world, but that’s just the kind of guy he is.
What’s disappointing is the way the Talons fall to the wayside. While the twist is great for Ra’s, it relegates them to nothing more than glorified henchmen. Replace them with nameless Society of Shadows ninjas and nothing changes. It feels like a bait and switch to include them as a potential bad guy along with the al Ghuls. Similarly, the subplot with Kirk Langstrom goes absolutely nowhere. When they finally find him and Batman interrogates him by threatening to withhold the medication he got from Mrs. Langstrom, he tells them which of three tunnels to go down. That’s it.
However, the most disappointing example is the way Catwoman ends up getting used by the story. Ever since the 70s, Catwoman and Talia have been Batman’s two primary love interests. Surprisingly, due to the editorial direction in any given decade, there was never any significant conflict between them, save for maybe a brief moment during the recent wedding arc. I think that may have been for the best. Love triangles are infamously difficult to pull off without devolving into eyerolling clichés, which is ultimately what happens here. From damsel in distress to snide bickering with Talia over who makes a better partner for Batman, this is not the story to turn to for Catwoman at her best.
As usual, all of this is illustrated with Ty Templeton’s imitation of Bruce Timm’s art. He does a fine job, and Monica Kubina’s colors are appropriately moody yet vibrant. The problem is that the transition to comics doesn’t always completely work. It feels much more flat compared to the show, with framing of the characters coming off as static. That might seem like an unfair criticism when held against literally moving animation, but even when compared to a still frame, you notice a lack of careful attention to the way scenes are “shot” to make it feel dramatic. None of this is to say that the art is bad, it just falls short of the legendary style it’s emulating, reminding the reader that this is just a tie-in.
- You’re interested in the Ra’s al Ghul plotline more than anything else
- You want a big climax to the series
- Are you really going to stop reading at the very last issue?
While not all of the plot threads are fully realized, the story still feels satisfying as an ultimate finale. From Joker’s wacky hijinks earlier in the season to Ra’s’ grandiose master plan here, there’s enough of an exciting climax to make the ending feel worthwhile. With a smile and nod to camera, Batman and Robin’s drive off into the
sunset moonset lets you know that, yes, the adventures will always continue.
DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purposes of this review.