Batman: The Adventures Continue has been a mix bag of a continuation of the DC Animated Universe. Alan Burnett and Paul Dini have been able to step into the DCAU Batman Family without missing a beat in terms of capturing their respective voices. Where things have fallen apart is with how the DCAU debut of Jason Todd has been handled. Unlike his DCU counterpart, the DCAU Jason Todd is being retroactively placed into the Batman: The Animated Series continuity. In going with this approach there have been some stumbling blocks hit. But now that the set-up of who the DCAU Jason Todd is maybe we can move on to see what it all means for the present day Gotham City. Let’s see if that is the case with Batman: The Adventures Continue Chapter 13.
Writers: Alan Burnett and Paul Dini
Artist: Ty Templeton
Colorist: Monica Kubina
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Dr. Leslie Thompkins is surprised to find Red Hood stealing medicine from her cabinet. She immediately recognizes the voice as Jason Todd and is surprised at his turn as a thief. Red Hood tells Dr. Thompkins to talk to Bruce if she wants answers because he has old business to take care off.
After Red Hood leaves, Dr. Thompkins calls Bruce Wayne to let him know that Jason stole stuff from her hospital. Dr. Thompkins admits that having seen Jason for herself she agrees with Bruce that something is off with him.
In the Batcave, Alfred Pennyworth and Batgirl wonder if Jason kidnapped Tim Drake out of jealousy. Batman doesn’t think so. Batman then uses all data from Red Hood sightings to figure out where he may show up and heads out alone in the Batmobile. Batgirl decides to go with Batman as both she and Alfred know things won’t end well.
Elsewhere, Red Hood wakes Robin up in a glass container. Red Hood shows Robin he took his utility belt and begins to fill the container with water. Robin wonders what Red Hood is planning. Red Hood just jokes about how Robin should worry about himself as he heads out.
Over at Penguin’s office in the Iceberg Lounge, Joker tries to get Penguin to lend him some money. Penguin says he knows Red Hood is after Joker and won’t give him any money. As Joker is about to get his henchmen Mallet to do something Penguin calls in Mr. Wing.
As Mallet and Mr. Wing fight the former ends up gaining the advantage. Joker reveals that Mallet was a former super soldier he converted to be his henchmen.
After a short bit Red Hood suddenly appears and immediately hits Joker with some tranquilizer darts and knocks Mallet off a balcony in the Iceberg Lounge. Red Hood takes Joker and tells Penguin to tell Batman it was him.
Later, Batman learns from Penguin about how Red Hood attacked and caused all sorts of damage. Batgirl spots some wet marks on the floor that clue her and Batman in on where Red Hood may have gone.
Batman soon realizes where they need to look and rushes out.
Batgirl is right behind him. Batman tells Batgirl about how four years ago Jason put Killer Croc out of commission for a year. He goes on to say that Jason likely took over Killer Croc’s old lair.
As soon as she gets on her bike Batgirl is knocked out by a tranquilizer dart. When Batman goes to check on Batgirl he is also knocked out by tranquilizer darts courtesy of Red Hood. End of issue.
The Good: Out of all these Red Hood-centric chapters Batman: The Adventures Continue Chapter 13 is by far the strongest. The focus on the present day is what made the story in this chapter work much better than the past. Now having gotten all the flashbacks out of the way Alan Burnett and Paul Dini are able to focus on moving the story forward.
What made the focus on the present work so well was that we got a better idea of this version of Jason Todd as Red Hood. We see this guy that has is so far gone with his mission as Red Hood that he won’t let anyone stop him. Not even the connection Jason once had with Dr. Leslie Thompkins can make him second guess his actions. He is full bore ahead with what he is setting out to do to exact his revenge on Joker and prove Batman wrong.
In the process Burnett and Dini are able to get over the idea that there is more wrong with Jason than we know. Batman previously hinted at this being the case but hearing Dr. Thompkins say the same thing made this sub-plot more credible. Because while Jason as Red Hood is acting much more like a villain he isn’t fully doing things in the chaotic way he was during his Robin days. His methods speak to there being more that went on during his time away than we know from the flashbacks. That is all a much better way to set-up wanting to learn more about this version of Jason Todd than just building off name value that the previous flashbacks did.
This confirmation also worked to explain why Batman has been letting his guard down with this Jason case. This is not simply him helping one of his proteges. Batman has detected something off about Jason that is more than just someone with a score to settle. Seeing Batman show hints of that empathy makes the way Red Hood was able to get the drop on him at the end of this chapter make more sense.
Batgirl making sure to watch Batman’s back throughout this chapter was also well handled. Unlike previous arcs the Batgirl and Robin know that this Red Hood case isn’t something they know Batman can handle himself. Having been his partner for a while Batgirl knows he’ll need her perspective to better analyze this case. Hopefully all of this opens the door for Batman Family as a whole to play a bigger role in this series moving forward.
Bringing in Penguin and having him interact with Joker was a nice reminder of how in the DCAU we did see these villains interact in this way. Joker trying to get money out of Penguin was a good way to get over their dynamic. It also furthered how Joker is a villain you love to hate with how he treats Penguin as another one of his pawns, just one he can get money out of. That is further emphasized with how much delight Joker took in explaining Mallet’s background and how he made him into his henchmen.
Ty Templeton provided the consistent artwork that is expected of this series. The consistency in the artwork gave the entire story a good flow from one scene to another. Which helped as this was a much tighter chapter in terms of making use of the digital format tell a story that felt like a complete reading experience rather than half an issue. That credit goes to Templeton’s talent as an artist to make all the panel space he has to work with help tell the story that Burnett and Dini are looking to have unfold in their dialogue.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Batman: The Adventures Continue Chapter 13 is by far the strongest entry since Jason Todd’s Red Hood became the focus for this series. The stories pacing made good use of the digital format that it is presented in to tell a story that hooked you from the beginning, leading to greater intrigue in the cliffhanger ending. Hopefully this momentum is carried onto the remaining chapters in this Red Hood arc.
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