Batman: The Adventures Continue had a solid start with Alan Burnett, Paul Dini, and Ty Templeton getting back into the flow of the DC Animated Universe. Bringing in Lex Luthor for the first story of Batman: The Adventures Continue added to how this series will be connected to the greater DCAU rather than self-contained to just Batman’s world. It is also a rare chance within the DCAU to see how a clash between Batman and Lex Luthor turns out since they are normally seen fighting each other while with other heroes and villains. Things already look to take a turn as Lex has plans to use some alien tech to give himself even greater power. What exactly is Lex after? And how will Batman be able to stop Superman’s villain? Let’s find out with Batman: The Adventures Continue #2.
Writers: Alan Burnett and Paul Dini
Artist: Ty Templeton
Colorist: Monica Kubina
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: While holding Batman by the neck Lex Luthor states that Superman is nowhere to be found to save him. Lex then reveals he saw Superman’s last battle with Brainiac and knows that Wayne Enterprise has been analyzing the Brainiac’s body that Superman gave them.
Batman states that Lex will not find anything in the body because Brainiac is the programming and he uploaded himself into an unknown part of space. Lex laughs this off because Bruce’s Wayne Enterprise scientists are not him and he knows how to find the one tiny bit of Brainiac that was left behind in the head.
Batman realizes he is about to lose consciousness because he can’t break the grip Lex has on him thanks to Lex’s power suit. Remembering what he learned from analyzing Brainiac’s body Batman throws a batarang into the open part of the head. This reactivates the Brainiac body to fire a powerful eye blast that sends Lex flying across the airport.
With Lex down for a bit Batman goes to get ready for the second round of the fight with the time he bought himself.
Back at the Batcave, Alfred helps Bruce Wayne patch up his injuries, specifically his damaged ribcage. Bruce then reveals he is going to fight Lex again but this time he is going to use his own power suit that should give him enough time to dismantle the energy packs in Lex’s power suit.
Alfred reminds Bruce that Lex could use his larger and indestructible robot. Alfred then shows how that robot even has a co-pilot space. Bruce looks at the schematics and realizes that it is not a co-pilot cockpit but a place for a battery.
Batman immediately flies back to the airport to find Lex. Batman finds one of Lex’s workers and intimidates the guy to tell him where Lex flew off to.
In the sky Lex tells Mercy to fly them back to Metropolis as fast as possible so Batman doesn’t catch them. Batman suddenly gets to the front of Lex’s cargo plane and damages its nose.
Lex goes out and tackles Batman off his cargo plane. This begins a fight between Batman and Lex, with the former quickly getting the advantage in the fight.
Lex retreats back into his cargo plane. Mercy tells Lex the plane is going down as she puts on a parachute. Lex quickly mobilizes in his larger mech robot and goes back to fight Batman.
In his larger mech Lex is able to overpower Batman. Batman fires a grappling hook that pierces Lex’s mech robot. He then sends a green energy shock through the wire. That causes a pair of red energy beams to shoot out of Lex’s mech.
A shirtless Superman then bursts out of the mech. Superman quickly grabs Lex and Mercy before they fall to the ground.
Later, while looking over the wreckage of Lex’s cargo plane, Superman asks Batman how did he discover he was inside Lex’s mech. Batman reveals he noticed that the mech was powered by the ultimate solar battery. Batman goes on to say that he used a kryptonite charge to break Superman out of the mind control Lex put him under.
Batman then asks Superman to toss the remaining parts of Brainiac’s body into the Sun. Superman says he will be on it.
While he watches Superman fly away Batman thinks about how big of boy scout the Man of Steel is.
Somewhere in Gotham City one of the residents screams from their apartment at a stranger to stop loitering around his home. The stranger pulls out a gun and dares the screaming guy to call the cops. The guy scurries back into his apartment scared.
The stranger then looks up at the sky as the Batsignal is turned on. He then thinks how there is a bigger fish for him to fry. End of issue.
The Good: Batman: The Adventures Continue #2 picks right up where the previous issue left off without missing a beat. The way Alan Burnett, Paul Dini and Ty Templeton told the story it felt like we were returning from a commercial break as soon as the issue began. That works well with how Batman: The Adventures Continue is a digital-first release and is doing chapter releases like Injustice and other digital-first comics before it.
The pacing of Batman: The Adventures Continue #2 is its greatest strength. There is no wasted panel as the story just moves at a quick pace. Even when Batman and Lex Luthor get into a big back-and-forth there isn’t a long wait before one of them does something to the other. Burnett and Dini move this chapter with a purpose of not losing the momentum created by the previous chapter in this story.
The quick pacing of this chapter gave greater opportunity to see what a fight between Batman and Lex would turn out. Batman immediately realizing he was outmatched and turning this fight into rounds like a boxing match showed how the character is always thinking ahead. No matter the power gap Batman understands the importance of the next move.
By going with this boxing round direction Burnett and Dini are able to get over how big of a threat Lex is. He isn’t someone that Batman can simply take out with his fighting or detective skills. Batman needs to be able to use his skills in tech and science to his advantage.
At the same time, Batman is well aware that Lex is likely smarter than him. In his own way Batman is giving Lex some respect by not denying that Lex will likely find some Brainiac programming he was unable to find. Lex’s intelligence has been one of the bigger aspects of the character we saw developed even more in the Justice League cartoon. So it is good that we are seeing that be spotlighted here.
That said, while Lex did have the advantage early we saw how he in his own way gave respect to Batman with how terrified he was about the Dark Knight’s relentless tenacity. Lex understood he let his biggest opportunity to take down Batman slip through his fingers at the airport. Getting Mercy to fly them back to Metropolis as soon as possible exemplified Lex’s own self-awareness on how this fight was going.
This is where Burnett and Dini’s writing really shines as they do work in how Batman needed to act quickly before Lex could use his power advantage. Going back to the schematics of the robot mech he scanned in the previous chapter was a strong example of how everything Batman does is with a greater purpose. He was able to use that scan to discover that Superman was the power source and found a way to turn that against Lex.
Burnett and Dini also did a good job using this as an opportunity to give us another glimpse at Batman and Superman’s relationship. They play into the whole light and dark representation of both characters well with Superman following Batman’s orders to toss Brainiac’s body into the Sun. Batman being reminded how big of a boy scout this makes Superman look gives a good idea of where their relationship is at this point in the DCAU continuity.
Ty Templeton, along with Monica Kubina, once again deliver artwork for Batman: The Adventures Continue #2 that is reminiscent of the style for this particular DCAU series. It all goes a long way in helping getting back into remembering the continuity of the DCAU and this version of Batman in particular. The action is all smooth and you get a real sense of how both Batman and Lex Luthor are approaching the fight they are having with each other.
The Bad: In terms of the fight itself there was one standout transition that did not work as well as it should have. And that was the transition during the battle in the sky when Batman punched Lex. We go from that immediately into Lex inside his cargo plane. The transition between these panels was not smooth at all. It did not take away from the overall impact of the clash between Batman and Lex but is noticeable when reading this issue over again.
The bigger thing that stood out is the mysterious character that is in Gotham City. All signs point to this being the DCAU version of Deathstroke, especially given the final tagline of Batman: The Adventures Continue #2. The problem is that this character just looks like a generic bad guy from the Batman: The Animated Series cartoon. The standout eye-patch is not present that is so iconic to Deathstroke. And even if this character doesn’t turn out to be Deathstroke he is still just has a generic look that doesn’t make him look like a big threat to Batman.
Overall: Batman: The Adventures Continue #2 does a great job carrying the momentum from the first chapter and delivering a strong conclusion to the clash with Lex Luthor. The approach to the fight that Batman and Lex employ showcases what makes both these characters so great. The way Burnett and Dini use the DC Animated Universe continuity makes this a comic that fans will highly enjoy.
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