Batman returns in his animated incarnation for a new comic by DC Comics out Wednesday, the first of April. Batman: The Adventures Continue, a six-issue miniseries written by Paul Dini and Alan Burnett with art by Ty Templeton (Batman Adventures), will carry on the continuity of the show.
Entertainment Weekly reported in an exclusive the miniseries is set in the same world and done in the style of animator and showrunner Bruce Timm and his team in charge of DC’s shared cartoon universe.
Dini tweeted the terse announcement “Wednesday. The Adventures Continue.” on Monday and tagged DC Comics. A chiaroscuro image of a white-eyed Dark Knight swinging from above, illuminated by a beam of white light, accompanies the message.
— Paul_Dini (@Paul_Dini) March 30, 2020
“The Adventures Continue is part of an initiative to introduce new characters” to the Batman: The Animated Series toyline from DC Collectibles, says EW. New designs are by Templeton and modeled after Timm’s handiwork.
Characters that producers passed over and never appeared before, including Jason Todd, will finally arrive in the Animated Series’ world. Dini spoke on this and promised Todd becomes Red Hood:
“We’d gone from Dick Grayson to Tim Drake, and we had left out Jason. What we’re doing with this is looking at this as a chance to go back and actually acknowledge that was a part of the animated Batman’s history. For the first time, you’re going to see that story and you’re going to see what happened in that relationship. So, it’s our chance to not only to do Jason Todd but also the Red Hood.”
For the record, Dick was Robin for the first phase of Batman TAS that aired on Fox Kids in the early 90s. Tim Drake, whose origin was a fusion of his own and Jason’s, inherited the identity of Robin after Dick forged his path as Nightwing.
Dini added “other characters like Azrael” and Deathstroke were popular in the show’s heyday and not used but will be here. Azrael is in Gotham to recover a stolen item for the Order of St. Dumas. This “brings him into conflict with Batman” but the two must work together in an “intense” storyline.
New Azrael (who’s name escapes me) that was brought in to replace JPV when he became Batman. Good place. pic.twitter.com/D1hfCRphZf
— Adam Van (@TheManAdamVan) March 26, 2020
The creators pick up where the show left off, with no passage of time, before the tragic incidents Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker shows in flashbacks. Templeton seemed relieved by that aspect:
“It’s fun that it doesn’t feel like we have to deal with the 15 year gap since we told stories with these characters. We can just feel like we just stepped into these things yesterday, because the shows and comics are always out there. They never go away. I didn’t want it to feel like there’s a big gap and Batman was old and Tim was in his 30’s or anything like that. I’m really happy it just feels like the next day.”
It must be the day after Batman and Superman fought Lex Luthor and The Joker in “World’s Finest” because in issue #1 Lex returns and a robot steals a whole lab from Wayne Enterprises. Paul Dini says it is a “semi sequel”:
“We’re kicking off with the Bruce-Lex relationship in a semi sequel of [the Batman and Superman crossover] ‘World’s Finest’ because the events of that are touched on. Where did that leave Bruce and Lex after they were busted by Batman and Superman? It’s interesting to see the little dueling that goes on between them.”
In another first-issue subplot, a mystery man stalks the Bat-family, watching everything from the shadows. They have no idea who he is, says Dini:
“There’s a stranger in town who has staked out the Batman family, who knows them very well, and is watching them from a distance with a mixture of amusement and deep hatred. That’s gonna be a challenge and concern for them at some point. The guy is so good that even though Batman and the others get glimpses of him, they have no idea who he is or what he wants, and that’s a mystery for them to solve.”
Batman: The Animated Series lasted 85 episodes and four seasons before giving way to the New Batman Adventures. It spawned the DC Animated Universe, Superman: The Animated Series, and Justice League/Justice League Unlimited. The show also introduced Harley Quinn, Renee Montoya, and The Phantasm to Batman canon.
Paul Dini reflected upon his contributions to the Caped Crusader:
“It gives me a feeling of pride and satisfaction to know there are certain elements I introduced to the world that have gone on to become iconic. I guess I feel the same way that Bill Finger, Denny O’Neil, or Jerry Robinson felt when they would introduce a character that would click and it would go on to have this history. As far as the characters themselves go, I always get a little bit of a secret smile on my face when I see somebody cosplaying as Harley Quinn or all the attention paid to her. I really, really love the movie. I love Margot Robbie’s version of her. It’s almost like, ‘Oh, I knew her way back when and see she’s still working’. On a personal level, it just makes me more determined like, ‘Alright, now the next time I’m working on is going to be just as big,’ So it’s very encouraging for me as a creator to get some positive feedback and keep going.”
Batman: The Adventures Continue hits digital-first Wednesday April 1st and will be on shelves May 6th – if all goes well and it’s unaffected by the disruption in the direct market. Cover is by Dave Johnson with a variant by Dan Mora.
Title cards in the vein of the series’ episode openings will be supplied “for each installment” by Randy Mayor, tweeted Dini.
Batman The Adventures Coninue digital comic series starting this week from DC. Our great digital designer Randy Mayor is creating new title cards for each installment! https://t.co/lJVymbKgJ6
— Paul_Dini (@Paul_Dini) March 30, 2020
The DC Collectibles toys are scheduled to be out within the same spring time frame.