Batman: The Adventures Continue has been an odd series to follow. Alan Burnett, Paul Dini, and Ty Templeton have captured the spirit of the original and sequel series. Batman, Robin, and Batgirl have all been portrayed in a way that is reminiscent of the animated series. Unfortunately where this series has fallen flat is with the Jason Todd origin story it has been telling since the series began. The introduction of the DC Animated Universe Jason Todd has just not clicked thus far. Hopefully that starts to change with the Batman: The Adventures Continue Chapter 11. Let’s find out if that happens.
Writers: Alan Burnett and Paul Dini
Artist: Ty Templeton
Colorist: Monica Kubina
Story Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Over at Gotham Clinic Batman asks Dr. Leslie Thompkins if she has seen Jason Todd as he has shown back alive. Dr. Thompkins remembers treating Jason’s injuries when he was Robin and how Batman let him run wild. Batman says he tried to look for Jason before something bad happened. Dr. Thompkins reminds Bruce that Jason was some she, Alfred and he were responsible for and didn’t look out for him as they should have.
Dr. Thompkins apologizes for saying such harsh things but suggest that maybe it was time for Bruce to retire as Batman.
Back at the Batcave Alfred continues to tell Tim about Jason’s past after he left the cave. Alfred says that once he went off alone as Robin that Jason had no one to control him and became even more aggressive against criminals. He goes on to say this led Jason into an encounter with Killer Croc where he ended up using lethal force by utilizing a gun against the villain, showing Tim the security footage they have of that night.
Due to all of this Batman’s reputation was being tarnished because no one knew that Jason as Robin was not working with him anymore. Alfred explains how Batman searched everywhere for Jason and even enlisted Sid The Squid, a low-level gangster who had connections everywhere, to help him. Sid revealed that there are rumors that Jason is going after the Joker.
Over at a state fair Joker and Harley Quinn celebrate their anniversary by firing real guns, causing everyone in attendance to run scared. They go on to destroy a toy store, which Jason witnesses in the shadows.
Some time later Jason as Robin finds and attacks Harley Quinn. Jason demands to know where Joker is. Just as he does that Joker appears and immediately knocks Jason out with one of his shock buzzers.
Jason realizes this was all a set-up. Joker smiles and throws some flowers on Jason’s body. End of issue.
The Good: Batman: The Adventures Continue Chapter 11 does not improve on the problems this arc continue to face as we learn more about the DC Animated Universe version of Jason Todd. This chapter only amplifies the problem with the presentation of this version of Jason and his history as Robin. It’s incredibly unfortunate that this is how Alan Burnett and Paul Dini have decided to fill us in on the missing years between seasons.
Not all is lost with Batman: The Adventures Continue Chapter 11. As with previous chapters, where this issue succeed is in how Bruce Wayne and Alfred Pennyworth deal with the emotional toll the experience with Jason Todd took on them. You can tell from each of their dialogue that they do view this as a dark period because they both failed to raise Jason and be there for the kid when he needed them most.
Inserting Dr. Leslie Thompkins into the story added to this part of the story. Dr. Thompkins was the voice that Bruce needed as he struck out on his own to find the alive Jason Todd. Calling out how Bruce’s distant behavior is not an excuse for how things turned out with Jason. Its exactly what Bruce needed to hear because by bringing Jason in he also made Leslie and Alfred part of it. As the adults they all had a responsibility to help Jason through the darkness he had in his heart just as they did for Dick Grayson before.
Bruce, as Batman, not fighting back against what Dr. Thompkins said was a nice touch to this entire interaction. Bruce clearly knew everything that she was telling him was true. This silence added to how Leslie Thompkins is one of Bruce’s most trusted allies as her words hold great weight for him.
Burnett and Dini also do a good job with Alfred Pennyworth’s role as the one to tell Tim Drake the story of Jason. As he progresses with his story you can sense the hurt this era of Bruce’s life as Batman had on him. Alfred, like Bruce and Leslie, feels like he failed Jason. It all helped to further the narrative of how Bruce, Leslie, and Alfred all failed in the responsibility they had with Jason who they took in when he needed them most.
Ty Templeton continues to be the consistent force this series needs. With each chapter Templeton’s artwork gets better as he gets comfortable in this version of the DC Animated Universe. With this being a dialogue heavy issue Templeton did a good job getting across the emotion on Batman’s face as Leslie Thompkins gave him her honest opinion. He also got over how increasingly violent Jason became as he went solo as Robin. He was clearly too dangerous to stay on the streets.
The Bad: The biggest problem with Batman: The Adventures Continue is Jason Todd. This latest chapter just amplified the problem with this version of Jason just not being likeable. With how quickly Burnett and Dini have had to move Jason’s origin they haven’t had a chance to show us why he is a character we should care about. Jason continues to be shown as a violent kid and adult who does not care about anyone.
That sense of violence without a redeeming quality just makes moments like when he is tricked by Joker not hit as intended. Instead of being worried for Jason all you feel is that this is exactly what the character deserves for Punisher-like vigilante style. Jason was way too reckless in all of the scenes he has appeared thus far to deserve the amount of screen time he has been give in this series thus far.
The Joker flashback scene only further emphasized how this version of Jason lacks a redeeming quality. With the main DC Universe version of Jason we at least understood he went after Joker to save his mom. There was at least that plot thread to care about his DCU counterpart even though his run as Robin was equally a failure. The DC Animated Universe version of Jason Todd completely lacks any sort of redemption.
The character is just violent for violence sake so you think the character is edgy. Instead you are just left thinking Jason deserves to go to jail because all he is doing as Robin is risking other people’s lives. That thought is furthered by how he tries to carelessly take down Joker not thinking he would get hit from behind.
Overall: Batman: The Adventures Continue Chapter 11 further highlights all of the problems that Alan Burnett and Paul Dini are having in establishing the DCAU version of Jason Todd. All Burnett and Dini accomplish is to remind readers why Jason is the least popular Robin. The only redeeming thing about this arc is how Burnett and Dini write Bruce Wayne, Leslie Thompkins, and Alfred Pennyworth. But even the strong writing for those characters can’t redeem the direction this origin of the DCAU Jason Todd has taken.
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