Batman: The Adventures Continue has been a mix bag since it started. When this series focuses on the core Batman team it has been able to carry on the legacy well. But it is when the focus shifts to developing the newly introduced Jason Todd into the DC Animated Universe where the series struggles. This version of Jason Todd character arc just has not been a hit. The more we learn and see the character do the less likable he comes across. The connection is just not there right now. That is something that could change now that Paul Dini and Alan Burnett will have Batman, Jason Todd, Joker and Robin all sharing scenes after the events of the previous chapter. Let’s see if things improve with Batman: The Adventures Continue Chapter 14.
Writers: Alan Burnett and Paul Dini
Artist: Ty Templeton
Colorist: Monica Kubina
Story Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: In Killer Croc’s old underground hideout Joker wakes Batman up. Batman wakes up and sees Joker handcuffed and Robin in a tank with rising water.
Red Hood appears and says Robin’s current situation will all depend on Batman. Batman says that they have to leave because the pipes in the hideout could blow up any second. Red Hood says that he is long over being patient and plans to end things with Joker before that happens.
Joker breaks out of his handcuffs and recognizes Red Hood as the second Robin, which Red Hood confirms. Joker says he is leaving because it sounds like Batman and Red Hood have family drama to deal with.
Before he leaves Red Hood shoots Joker in the shoulder to make him stay. Red Hood then throws Batman a tire iron. He tells Batman to kill the Joker in the same way he tried to finish him. Batman says he won’t do that. Red Hood reminds Batman that Robin is close to drowning. Batman says he is confident that Robin will escape because he isn’t a weak, immature Robin.
Red Hood decides to give Joker a gun so that Batman can kill Joker out of self-defense. Joker tosses the gun to the side as he doesn’t want to make things easy for Red Hood.
As that goes on Robin uses his cape to plug up the pipe putting water in his glass cage without Red Hood noticing.
Joker then starts mocking Red Hood for his plan that would only lead to Batman forced to turn Red Hood over to authorities and revealing everyone’s identities, which would men he wins in the end. He then dares Red Hood to shoot him.
When Red Hood doesn’t do it Joker is able to signal Straightman to bust in and pins down Red Hood. As that happens Robin finally breaks out of his glass cage and immediately knocks Joker out.
As water rushes into the hideout Straightman and Joker are washed away.
Robin then uses his grapple line to secure Batman. Batman reaches out to Red Hood to grab his hand before he washes away. Jason Todd takes off his Red Hood mask and tells Batman that he’ll never live up to Bruce’s code. Jason then jumps into the rushing water and tells Batman to save the Robin he can.
Batgirl suddenly shows up and is able to help Batman and Robin leave before they drown as the water rises.
Sometime later Batman, Robin, and Batgirl use drones to try to find traces of Jason, Joker, and Straightman but find nothing. Batman admits he made a terrible mistake with Jason and wonders if he is doing the same thing with Barbara and Tim. Robin and Batgirl say they have chosen to be Batman’s partners and won’t be going anywhere.
Later Jason wakes up and finds Deathstroke and Sunny treating his wounds. Deathstroke reveals he has been tailing Jason since their last meeting after he was able to negotiate his release from prison. Deathstroke then declares that he will be taking Jason under his wing as a partner moving forward. End of issue.
The Good: Batman: The Adventures Continue Chapter 14 is more of the same from this series. The story beats with Batman, Robin, Batgirl, and Joker all work to strengthen what we know of these characters. It is everything that involves Jason Todd’s Red Hood where things fall apart. And for Batman: The Adventures Continue Chapter 14 the story heavily leans on Jason Todd to carry the story which he can’t.
Before getting into all of that I will give Alan Burnett and Paul Dini credit for continuing to provide proper development from Batman’s side of the story. Burnett and Dini tap into the weight of what the history of Jason Todd represents for Bruce Wayne. While more tame than the main DC Universe version, the way things fell apart with Jason is a major failure in Bruce’s life. That weight is shown throughout this issue as Bruce still tries his best to reach out to his protégé.
At the same time we do see hints at how Bruce is much more aware of how Jason played a role in why things fell apart for them. Bruce, as Batman, throwing out how Jason allowed all his character flaws to overcome him while praising Tim Drake as being nothing like that and a better Robin was cool to see. It progresses the sub-plot of Tim seeking out praise from Bruce and he got to hear just that. Which reaffirms the conviction both Tim and Barbara have to continue on as Robin and Batgirl because they have become better while being Bruce’s proteges.
Joker was also well-handled during this issue as we see how the villain has more brains about what is going on than he likes to let on. He fully understood what Red Hood was trying to do and turned the game around to his favor. It all furthers how manipulative of a villain Joker is at all times.
Ty Templeton’s artwork continues to be the consistent force that this series needs. With each chapter that comes out Templeton’s art actually gets better as he brings the DC Animate Universe art style and makes it fit into comic book form. That is shown consistently throughout Batman: The Adventures Continue Chapter 14 with how he drew all of the characters. All of the characters expressions were drawn in a way that had an animated flow with how we went from panel to panel.
The Bad: Because of how this whole “Red Son Rising” arc was built it was going to sink or swim based on how Jason Todd’s arc concluded. Unfortunately, as soon as Jason Todd was given full reigns to carry things the story ended up stumbling to the finish line. That all falls on the fact that at no point does Jason come across as a compelling character. The character is a one-note angry character that isn’t given more substance than that.
Making things worse is how poor of a planner that Jason comes across when his plan is revealed to be that of trying to turn Batman and Joker on each other in hopes that the former killed the latter. For Jason to just throw Batman a tire iron and thinking his plan would work is laughable. It further points out how this version of Jason has not grown out of being a street punk. There is no master planner or fighter present in this. Rather Jason was just lucky that Batman and the others had their guards dropped because they were trying to help him.
That pales in comparison to his main DCU counterpart, who was at the very least shown to have an elevated skill set to be more on Batman level when he returned as Red Hood. When all is said and done Jason just shows that he hasn’t grown up in any way, shape, or form. Which is such a shame because Burnett and Dini had a blank canvas to develop the DCAU version of Jason in a meaningful way. But at the end of the day the ball was dropped, and all this entire story does is reaffirm why Jason Todd is considered the worst Robin.
Bringing in Deathstroke to take Jason under his wing does not help anything. The reason this cliffhanger does nothing in creating excitement is because there is just no reason to have more Jason Todd stories in the immediate future for this series now. Everything before this ending hurt the impact of such an ending. It would have been more effective if this was a reveal that was shown after we had one or two other story arcs take place with the Batman Family involved in other adventures and cases.
Overall: When all was said and done Batman: The Adventures Continue Chapter 14 was a boring conclusion to the “Red Son Rising” arc. This final chapter solidified the fact that the introduction of the DC Animated Universe version of Jason Todd was unnecessary. There are so many other stories that could be told in the DCAU and hopefully this series moves on to do just that in the immediate future.
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