Overview: In Batman: The Adventures Continue, Batman, Robin, and Batgirl encounter a whole host of rogues, both old and new, in new adventures that continued where the animated series left off.
Editor’s Note: This collected edition includes all eight issues of the maxiseries Batman: The Adventures Continue Season One which originally released as digital chapters beginning in April 2020 and ended in December 2020. This review focuses on the story as a whole rather than the individual issues that made up the maxiseries.
Synopsis (spoilers ahead): On what should be an ordinary night of patrol, Batman: The Adventures Continue begins as Batman takes down Bane, then finds himself battling against a giant robot that’s stealing alien hardware from Wayne Tech. While Batman battles the robot, a shadowy figure watches from afar. It’s clearly someone who knows almost everything about Batman, too.
The robot gets away, and after turning up no leads at the Batcave, Bruce Wayne is coaxed by Alfred into attending a cocktail party to clear his head. At the party, Bruce catches up with Veronica Vreeland when they’re both interrupted by Lex Luthor. Lex asks to speak to Bruce alone, where he reveals that Superman is missing. He also asks Bruce about what the robot stole, but he fumbles his words and refers to the machine as “they” at first, which makes Bruce find Lex suspicious.
Later, Batman suits up and visits the only airfield where a giant robot could be safely hidden. He finds it, as well as the hardware that was stolen. Unfortunately, Lex Luthor, in his exo-suit, has arrived. Luthor gets the jump on Batman, holding him captive. The alien hardware he’s stolen is Brainiac’s head, and he’s planning to build upon it for his own purposes. Batman throws a batarang into Brainaic’s broken skull, which causes a laser to shoot out and knock Luthor out. Batman uses this moment to escape.
Back at the Batcave, Alfred patches Bruce up while he studies schematics on Luthor’s giant robot. Bruce notices where the batteries are located, which he can destroy in order to stop the machine. Despite Alfred’s protests, Bruce suits up in his own Batman power armor and pursues Luthor, who is flying a plane toward Metropolis.
Luthor and Batman battle and Batman takes out his giant robot’s batteries. It turns out that Superman wasn’t missing, he was powering the machine! Superman apprehends Luthor.
In Crime Alley, the shadowy figure from earlier notes the spot where the Waynes were murdered, reminiscing on where it all began.
The second story arc in Batman: The Adventures Continue takes place sometime later, as Batman, Batgirl, and Robin (Tim Drake) battle Clayface outside of a movie theater. This shadowy figure watches from above. At some point during the battle, Clayface breaks off into pieces. One of those pieces morphs into Annie, which is a ploy to play with Robin’s emotions from an episode in season four. Deathstroke intervenes and helps the Bat-Family bust Clayface, saying he’s in town as a friend.
Later, Batgirl successfully takes down Roxy Rocket, only to be approached by Deathstroke. Deathstroke tells her he’s on a hush-hush mission, but he’s also scouting for new talent. He tells Batgirl that she and Robin could join him. Deathstroke also alerts Batgirl that she’s being watched by a shadowy figure.
Afterward, Deathstroke returns to his base of operations where he talks over his plan with a woman named Sunny. The two are working together, and they may possibly be in town to kill Batman, as Deathstroke stabs a sword through a Batman mannequin.
The next evening, Robin is on his way back to the Batcave when he spots Deathstroke entering a bug exhibit at the museum. Robin stops Deathstroke, who says he’s there to round up Firefly. Robin joins the assassin, and the two set off to catch Firefly.
Meanwhile, Batman takes down Mad Hatter and his Wonderland Gang. After the battle, he spots a glint of light, and he suspects it’s their mystery stalker. Batman tracks down the spot where he was being watched from, but the shadowy figure has already left.
Back at the museum, Robin and Deathstroke encounter Firefly, who has seen some serious upgrades since his debut in season four of Batman: The Animated Series. While the two battle Firefly, Batman is alerted by Alfred that Robin never returned to the cave. Batman heads to the museum, arriving just in time to save Deathstroke and Robin from Firefly.
Firefly escapes and Batman sends Robin home. Deathstroke tells Batman that he’s in town to stop Firefly for “one of the good guys.” He asks Batman to help him, and Batman tells Deathstroke to provide intel when he’s found Firefly.
Back at the Batcave, Alfred, Bruce, and Barbara Gordon are analyzing footage of their mysterious stalker. While they’re analyzing the footage, their stalker listens in at Deathstroke’s base of operations.
Deathstroke’s assistant, Sunny, was masquerading as Firefly, and this whole event was an elaborate setup to get closer to Batman, so they could assassinate him. It’s revealed that Deathstroke is working for Lex Luthor, who isn’t pleased with all of the theatrics. Luthor gives Deathstroke twenty-four hours to kill Batman.
The next night, Deathstroke lights up the Bat-signal in order to contact Batman, who arrives alone. Tim Drake, who is grounded, whines to Barbara over the phone that he can’t go out on patrol. As Barbara talks to Tim, she finds a note in a book she’s stamping at the library that tells her that Batman’s walking into a trap.
At the dam, Batman and Deathstroke search for Firefly. While Deathstroke defuses a bomb, Batman scours the dam alone. When he finds Firefly, he notes how shorter Firefly is, as well as how differently the rogue moves. Batman takes down Firefly and learns that it’s Sunny. Deathstroke attacks Batman just then, and the two fight. Deathstroke reveals that he’s going to kill Batman, frame Firefly, and avenge Batman in order to win over the Bat-Family and steal Batman’s enterprise. Batgirl and Robin arrive, and the three quickly take down Deathstroke.
Back at the Batcave, they analyze the book that clued Batgirl on where to find Batman. Bruce realizes that whoever is spying on them knows everything about them.
The third story arc in Batman: The Adventures Continue starts the next night, Batman is chasing Catwoman when she is intercepted and captured by Azrael. Batman and Azrael battle, and it’s revealed that Azrael is after Catwoman after she stole the Shawl of Magdalene. Batman stops Azrael, and he turns Catwoman over to the police. Before he can rest, he gets a comm from Alfred telling him to return to the Cave. Azrael is waiting for Batman.
It’s revealed that Azrael, Jean-Paul Valley, trained with Bruce Wayne at the Order of St. Dumas many years ago. Bruce offers to team up with Azrael to help find the shawl, so long as Azrael leaves Catwoman alone. He also upgrades Azrael’s suit to appear more Bat-like. The two then track down Catwoman’s buyer, who was an intermediary for the real owner of the shawl. When they arrive at the Iceberg Lounge, Penguin greets them with a bird monster named Mr. Wing.
As Batman battles Mr. Wing, Azrael chases the Penguin, ultimately beating the buyer’s name out of Penguin. When Batman arrives, Azrael throws Penguin over a balcony. Batman saves Oswald Cobblepot, which gives Azrael enough time to flee.
Azrael tracks down the shawl’s owner. It’s Mr. Freeze, and he’s using it to revive his dead wife. Though cured in Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero, it’s revealed that Nora’s body later rejected the cure and she died. Freeze hopes the shawl will revive her. Azrael and Freeze battle, with Mr. Freeze defeating Azrael. Batman arrives, stops Freeze, and saves his ally. Once the shawl has been returned to Jean-Paul, the two part ways.
As we move into the next arc in Batman: The Adventures Continue, the focus is at an old amusement park, the shadowy figure trailing the Bat-Family is doing some recon on the Joker. Joker spots this figure. Joker’s henchman, Straightman, fights the stalker, and both Joker and Straightman make their getaway.
Later, Batman investigates the crime scene, and he takes a bullet from the shadowy figure’s gun back to the Batcave. After analyzing it, Bruce realizes that their stalker is Jason Todd. Bruce is surprised, as he believed Jason was dead.
Tim overhears this and demands to know who Jason is. Bruce suits up and leaves to track down Jason while Alfred tells Tim the story. Some time ago, there was a street gang called the Wolves, and while pulling heists, one of their gang members would serve as a lookout. The lookout always wore a red hood. Unfortunately, one “red hood” died, and his younger brother, Jason, picked up a red hood and became a vigilante, busting up the Wolves the same night Batman was on their trail. Batman took Jason Todd in and trained him, but Jason was overeager, stealing the Robin suit and suiting up before it was time.
Batman and Jason argued until Jason made his case to replace Dick Grayson, who left some time ago. He was Robin for a while, helping Batman bust Firefly, the Ventriloquist, Lockup, and Scarecrow. With Scarecrow, Jason took it too far, taking enjoyment from beating on criminals. He almost killed Scarecrow.
At first, Batman wanted to believe it was the fear toxin, but testing revealed that it wasn’t. Before Batman could talk to Jason about his actions, Jason stole the Robin suit and left the cave. It was the last time Alfred saw Jason Todd, and it would be the second-to-last time Batman encountered him.
In the present, Batman visits the former hideout of the Wolves, where Red Hood is having a drink. Batman pleads with Red Hood to return home, but Red Hood refuses. It turns out this was all a trap, and Red Hood blows up the hideout. While Hood escapes, Batman pays a visit to Leslie Thompkins.
Batman asks Dr. Thompkins if she’d heard from Jason at all, as he always liked her. She has not, but she reminds Batman of his failure with the boy, noting that maybe it’s time he took off the mask, too.
Back at the Batcave, Alfred continues his tale to Tim, noting that while he never saw Jason again, he heard stories. Robin went rogue afterward, smashing up criminals like the Clock King, Penguin, and Killer Croc. Robin’s assaults were destroying Batman’s reputation, and Batman scoured Gotham in search of his former partner. This led to Batman questioning Sid the Squid, who overheard that Robin was going to take on Joker and Harley next.
Robin thought he was going to get the jump on Joker, but it turned out that he walked into a trap. Joker and Harley captured Robin and tortured him. When Joker was going to finish the job and kill him, Harley protested. She was thrown out of the hideout. She gave up Joker when Batman arrived. Batman stopped Joker from killing Jason, and as he was freeing the boy, Jason told Batman that, brother for a brother, he had to kill Joker. Instead, Batman saves Joker, and while in the process of saving Joker, the warehouse they were in explodes with Jason inside.
Tim asks why Bruce took him in, then, if this was Jason’s story. Alfred confesses that all Robins have a similar story, but he also notes that Tim has many qualities that Jason lacked. Just then, Batman arrives and apologizes for Jason. Tim doesn’t buy it, and it’s revealed that Jason is dressed up as Batman. Unfortunately, Jason knocks out Alfred and Tim, abducting Tim in the process.
Red Hood then pays a visit to Dr. Thompkins, stealing her medical supplies. Meanwhile, Joker visits Penguin, looking for some cash to help with their mutual assassin problem. While they argue, their two henchmen, Mr. Wing and Straightman duke it out. Red Hood shows up, kills Straightman, and abducts Joker.
Batman and Batgirl arrive to investigate the scene. Batman deduces that Jason must be hiding in Killer Croc’s old lair, but before he can get there, both he and Batgirl are knocked out by Red Hood’s darts.
At Red Hood’s lair, Red Hood has Robin captive in a death trap, and the only way to free him is for Batman to kill Joker. Batman argues with Red Hood, carefully veiling his language to provide Robin with clues on how to break out. Robin busts free. Straightman also shows up, and there is a big fight until the lair starts collapsing. Joker and Straightman get away. Batman and Robin try to save Jason, but Jason chooses to get carried away with the current.
Later, Red Hood is rescued by Deathstroke and Sunny, who welcome him into their team.
The final story arc in Batman: The Adventures Continue on another night, the Ventriloquist and Mr. Scarface are threatening to blow up Gotham with explosives. Batman intervenes, and Gotham is saved. Back at the police station, Commissioner Gordon and Harvey Bullock interrogate Arnold Wesker, the Ventriloquist. He only used half the explosives he stole, and they want to know where the other half is. Neither Wesker nor Scarface will cooperate, so they set out to track down the explosives the old-fashioned way.
Months later, Arnold Wesker is given a clean bill of health and released from Arkham. As he walks down the streets of Gotham, he tries to avoid seeing Scarface everywhere. Nearby, Harley and Poison Ivy discuss throwing a Christmas party and inviting all of the other rogues — except Joker.
At Joker’s hideout, he and Straightman are working on a new gag when Joker finds out about the party. He’s upset that he’s not invited and everyone else, including Arnold Wesker, is.
Batman and Robin investigate footage of an Arkham break-in. Straightman broke into a storage room and stole Mr. Scarface, which alerts them to the potential that Joker could use Scarface to find the other half of the explosives that were never recovered. Batman and Robin stake out Wesker’s place, and they see on his computer that he’s invited to a holiday party.
At the party, Batman goes undercover as Knute Brody, a notoriously inept henchman. Joker shows up and enlists Knute into helping him play Secret Santa. Robin alerts the police, and Knute tells everyone at the party that a raid is imminent, thus preventing Joker from gifting Wesker a Mr. Scarface puppet. Knute then uses this opportunity to sneak Wesker out, but alas, Knute’s knocked out by the Joker and Straightman.
Joker gives Wesker a cleaned-up Mr. Scarface, and the Ventriloquist is back in action. Joker then uses Ventriloquist to find the location of the explosives. Batman and Robin track down leads trying to find Joker but to no avail.
Days later, on New Year’s Eve, Batman and Robin track Joker and Ventriloquist to a subway, where Joker plans to level the city from a train beneath Gotham. Robin rescues Wesker, and Batman stops Joker and Straightman. The story comes to an end with Batman and Robin walking with Wesker out into the New Year’s celebration with the promise of a new year ahead.
Analysis: This collection of stories found in Batman: The Adventures Continue continues to build onto the canon seen in Batman: The Animated Series. Each of the plotlines collected brings in both classic and new villains and tell both smaller, more episodic tales while contributing to an overarching narrative that ultimately feeds into the Jason Todd/Red Hood story, which is the backbone of this collection.
For fans of Batman: The Animated Series, almost every villain featured on that show makes an appearance somewhere in these pages. Even more noteworthy, while the core art takes its cues from the WB season, The New Adventures of Batman & Robin, flashback sequences feature art more reminiscent of the first three seasons of the show. In this way, fans can see both classic and newer costumes for characters like the Penguin and Scarecrow, which is delightful in that both changed dramatically between seasons three and four. Joker, however, most closely resembles his look on the Justice League cartoon, which was a combination of seasons one and four designs.
Overall, the Jason Todd story is similar yet different from the classic “Under The Red Hood” tale. Its differences work better for this animated universe, while still packing an emotional resonance with the characters involved. In Batman: The Adventures Continue, Todd’s story is most closely tied to Tim, and it serves as a way to make Tim feel more resolute, comfortable, and worthy of bearing the Robin insignia.
These stories definitely feel like they could belong to the cartoon (or serve as an extension of it). Even the introduction of this universe’s Deathstroke fits the model of Batman: The Animated Series. In this collection, Deathstroke is a known assassin hired by a vengeful Lex Luthor in retaliation for Batman foiling Luthor’s heist of Brainiac’s head. Not only does Deathstroke want to kill Batman, but his aim is to steal Batman’s entire operation, including the Bat-Family. Many of the rougher villains, like Deathstroke, have lightened edges that make them fit into this world a little bit better. These changes also make the villains interesting in that writers Paul Dini and Alan Burnett aren’t just retelling classic Batman stories. They’re adding something new to the mythos.
Ty Templeton’s art is very fitting, and it looks almost exactly like Batman episodes. This makes sense, as Templeton has a history of working on books related to this animated universe. In these pages, his work is right at home. Before each chapter, an opening title card emulates the style and tone of title cards that appeared before episodes, which is a wonderful touch.
Where Batman: The Adventures Continue might lose readers is with comic fans unattached to the animated series. This collection is so rife with name-drops, cameos, and other little references, that it almost feels forced and overwhelming at times. It’s both a love-letter and sometimes an exhausting trip down memory lane as the book oscillates between trying to tell new stories and shoehorn in a cameo or two.
Of the stories, the Azrael one seems weakest, as it did little to advance the overall narrative and seemed only to serve as an avenue for creating an Azrael for this universe. It also served as a reference point to squeeze in both Catwoman and Mr. Freeze. That said, killing Nora Fries after she was cured in SubZero is a dubious and disappointing choice. It seems to undermine the struggle of the aforementioned animated classic film.
Beyond that, this is a decent, well-crafted collection of tales for fans hungering for more Batman: The Animated Series. If the goal was to take that walk down memory lane with the fans and still pack a punch or two with a set of new stories, this collection succeeded.
Editor’s Note: DC Comics provided TBU with copies of the original chapters as they released, but not of this new edition. You can find this collected edition and help support TBU in the process by purchasing this edition digitally either through Comixology or Amazon, or as a physical copy in a paperback form at Amazon.