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DC’s new Batman: The Animated Series book is a must-read for fans of the show

We all need a little nostalgia

Susana Polo is an entertainment editor at Polygon, specializing in pop culture and genre fare, with a primary expertise in comic books. Previously, she founded The Mary Sue.

In these turbulent times, what’s better than returning to an old favorite? I’ll tell you: New material that still evokes the feel of the old favorite.

And that’s exactly how to describe Batman: The Adventures Continue, a new DC comics series from the folks behind Batman: The Animated Series. The first issue of the digital-first series is available today, and it’s a delicious treat for the many, many fans of the legendary cartoon.

Who’s working on Batman: The Adventures Continue?

The series is co-written by Alan Burnett and Paul Dini, each a writer and producer of Batman: The Animated Series, and drawn by Ty Templeton. The three are a tried and tested team who’ve won Eisner awards for their comics set in the DC Animated Universe, so it’s good to see them back.

What’s Batman: The Adventures Continue about?

It’s about Batman, and his continuing adventures.

OK, it’s a Batman story set sometime between the end of Batman: The Animated Series, but earlier than Batman Beyond. And it’s promising that it will fit Jason Todd — the Robin who died and came back as the Red Hood — into the cartoon’s timeline.

B:TAS’s own second Robin, Tim Drake, debuted during the series, combining qualities of both Jason and Tim, who was Robin in the comics at the time the show aired.

“We’d gone from Dick Grayson to Tim Drake, and we had left out Jason,” Paul Dini told Entertainment Weekly when Batman: The Adventures Continue was announced. “What we’re doing with this is looking at this as a chance to go back and 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 not only to do Jason Todd but also the Red Hood.”

After Bane falls unconscious, Batman plucks a dart from his back. “I hit him with this a half hour ago,” says Batman’s narration, “Next time I quadruple the dose. And the darts.” In Batman: The Adventures Continue #1, DC Comics (2020). Image: Alan Burnett, Paul Dini, Ty Templeton/DC Comics

Why is Batman: The Adventures Continue coming out now?

You may have heard that there are virtually no new comics this week, as the American comics industry struggles through a coronavirus-related interruption in the way comics are shipped.

Batman: The Adventures Continue #1 is still out because it was always intended to be “digital-first.” DC’s digital-first series come out twice a month in a mobile-friendly landscape format, and are later collected in physical editions by story arc. So not only does its schedule remain uninterrupted, it’s easy to grab from home and read on whatever tablet, phone, or browser situation you’ve got, and you’ll get to read issue #2 on April 15, instead of waiting until May.

Is there any required reading?

You’ll probably want to have at least watched and enjoyed some of Batman: The Animated Series and some of either The Superman Adventures or Justice League Unlimited.

Is Batman: The Adventures Continue good?

I’m not just saying this because it’s pretty much the only new series to launch this week, but Batman: The Adventures Continue is delightful.

The B:TAS character designs are timeless, and Templeton has not lost his ability to make them pop even when they don’t move. The comic looks like an episode of Batman: The Animated Series, and it reads like one, too.

It makes sense that Burchett and Dini would have a good grasp of the (metaphorical) voices of the cast of Batman: The Animated Series — they helped create them. But the grasp is so strong you can hear every line as if the voice actor is saying it. Polygon got a chance to look at the first two issues of the series, and without spoiling anything, there are some extremely fun guest appearances.

I can wholeheartedly recommend this comic that promises Jason Todd but then kicks off with Batman fighting a giant freakin’ robot.

One page that popped

A giant robot wrenches a large piece of technology out of the floor of a lab, and then looks over its shoulder guiltily. Batman points up at the robot and says “Put it back.” In Batman: The Adventures Continue #1, DC Comics (2020). Image: Alan Burnett, Paul Dini, Ty Templeton/DC Comics

Spoiler: The robot did not put it back.

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