Batman: The Adventures Continue had a solid first story arc with Lex Luthor as the antagonist. It got you immediately back into the flow of the DC Animated Universe. Paul Dini and Alan Burnett have brought us back into the world in a familiar fashion. But now with that first story out of the way it is time to see how Dini and Burnett expand on Batman’s corner of the DCAU. Based on the cover it looks as though one way they are going to do that is give Deathstroke his DCAU debut. How will Deathstroke’s debut turn out? Let’s find out with Batman: The Adventures Continue #3.
Writers: Alan Burnett and Paul Dini
Artist: Ty Templeton
Colorist: Monica Kubina
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: The mystery man that has been following Batman notices people running from something and heads to check what is going on. He eventually comes across Batman, Robin, and Batgirl fighting Clayface near a theater in Downtown Gotham City.
During the fight Clayface rants about how pissed he is that Hollywood remade “Gangbuster,” which he considers as his greatest role when he was Matt Hagen. Being outnumbered Clayface splits into two. Batgirl and Robin team up to chase one of the Clayfaces into an alleyway while Batman goes after the other.
In the alleyway Robin is shocked to see Annie. Not being easily tricked Robin freezes Clayface for his attempt to use Annie against him again. Clayface is still able to fight back in his frozen state.
Suddenly someone from the shadows jumps in and slices Clayface with his sword laced with a sedative that paralyzes the villain. It turns out to be Deathstroke. As Robin thanks Deathstroke Batman appears with the other Clayface captured. Batman already knows who Deathstroke is. Deathstroke says he is just there to be a friend. Deathstroke then leaves sensing the death stare that Batman is giving him.
Sometime later Batman meets with Commissioner Gordon to dig into Slade Wilson’s history as Deathstroke. As Commissioner Gordon wonders why Batman is interested in Deathstroke he finds that Batman is already gone.
Elsewhere Batgirl has defeated Roxy Rocket and left her for the cops to arrest.
When Batgirl goes back to her bike Deathstroke is there waiting for her. Deathstroke compliments Batgirl on how she was able to defeat Roxy Rocket. Sensing a lack of trust Deathstroke takes off his mask. Slade further compliments Batgirl and Robin on their training. He goes on to say they could do so much more with their skills, especially if they worked as his proteges. Batgirl turns the offer down as she says she is doing fine where she is.
Deathstroke wonders about that since she didn’t notice that they are being watched.
The mystery person realizes he has been caught watching Deathstroke and Batgirl so he escapes.
The next day while eating breakfast at Wayne Manor Barbara Gordon tells Bruce Wayne and Tim Drake about what Deathstroke said about her and Tim’s skills. Bruce tells Barbara to not put much stock in Deathstroke’s compliments, though he does say they both deserve those types of compliments with how far they’ve come.
Barbara then mentions that someone that was spying on them but she was not able to identify the guy. Bruce tells Barbara and Tim to keep their awareness up. He then walks out while warning Barbara and Tim to keep their distance from Deathstroke until he can learn more about what Slade is up to in Gotham City.
Over at a warehouse Slade completes some training. A girl named Sunny asks Deathstroke how Batgirl was. Deathstroke says she was very much like Sunny. He then says that Sunny will meet Batgirl and Robin soon as their plan to use Clayface to initiate contact with them worked out. Sunny says that Clayface was easy to manipulate by promising a cure for his transformation.
Deathstroke then brings up how there is someone else that seems interested in the Batman Family. Deathstroke then says it does not matter since it just means that there is another person to add to his kill list, as he stabs a Batman dummy. End of issue.
The Good: Batman: The Adventures Continue #3 does exactly what it needs to do. Paul Dini and Alan Burnett seamlessly introduce Deathstroke into the DC Animated Universe without having to alter the character’s core. They took what makes Deathstroke a compelling character and made him fit into the tone of the DCAU.
I was glad that Dini and Burnett did not try to hide the fact that Deathstroke has appeared in Gotham City to kill Batman. Extending how long that reveal happens would have only weakened the revelation. It was much better to get it out of the way by the time Batman: The Adventures Continue #3 rather than extending it. We all know who Deathstroke is and there is no need to question why he is in Gotham City.
Doing away with that veil it allowed Dini and Burnett to focus on what Deathstroke’s plot is to eventually kill Batman. And the best way to do that with this current Batman is to attack his family. In particular, going after Batgirl and Robin. By trying to recruit Batgirl and Robin away from Batman, Deathstroke is attacking where it would hurt most if he was successful: Batman’s emotions. Even if we see how Bruce tries to keep Barbara and Tim at arms reach we know how incredibly important they are to him.
Dini and Burnett do a good job showing that Deathstroke is right with going this route during the breakfast scene. We see that with how Bruce goes from telling Barbara and Tim not to listen to Deathstroke to saying that Slade Wilson’s compliments are valid. Bruce is fully confident in Barbara and Tim’s skills and abilities after training them. It is just that he does not want their egos inflated to an uncontrollable level. Especially when the person that is feeding their egos is someone as shady as Deathstroke.
These scenes also worked to establish where both Batgirl and Robin are at this point in the DCAU. Both are at a point that Batman has full trust in their skills and abilities. He does still see them both as his proteges but is now confident they can handle things when it comes to situations like battling multiple Clayfaces. Robin being able to see through Clayface’s attempt to use Annie against him and how Batgirl quickly took down Roxy Rocket. Both instances are examples of how far both have come thus far.
Given how Deahtstroke’s conversation with his protege, Sunny, went it’ll be interesting to learn why he is now willing to take on Batman. It is not fully cleared that he was hired to do so. This seems to be more of Deathstroke showing his superiority in every facet of Batman’s game than being hired. But given that Dini and Burnett do establish Deathstroke as a mercenary for hire so there could be a bigger mystery around who hired him to go after Batman.
While not as strong as the previous two chapters Ty Templeton still delivered solid artwork throughout Batman: The Adventures Continue #3. Templeton’s artwork was at its best when characters were simply talking to each other. That is when the style of The New Batman Adventures period of the characters’ lives. He and Monica Kubina also made good adjustments to Deathstroke’s classic costume to fit into the DCAU continuity.
The Bad: The whole running sub-plot with the mysterious Batman stalker still has not grabbed my interest. From what is being said this character is supposed to be the DCAU version of Jason Todd. But given that Jason Todd was never part of the DCAU proper this revelation has fallen flat since he hasn’t been named. Also given that the DCAU Tim Drake is a combination of the comic book versions of Tim and Jason it is odd to have Jason finally show up.
There is zero connection with this version of the character to make him come across as a standout character. He is just a weird, nameless character that is stalking Batman. We don’t know anything about his background or why we should care about him. And even if he is Jason Todd, there is no connection between him and Batman within the DCAU continuity that can be drawn on to make him important. Future issues of Batman: The Adventures Continue will need to do a better job in actually making this mystery character compelling.
Overall: Batman: The Adventures Continue #3 provided the DC Animated Universe version of Deathstroke with a solid debut. The way Alan Burnett and Paul Dini have positioned Deathstroke against the Batman Family sets up a compelling story for future issues to develop. The only place this issue falls flat is when it comes to the mystery character who is following Batman. It’s unfortunate that this sub-plot lacks a compelling narrative because otherwise Batman: The Adventures Continue #3 was a fun issue that gave us a good debut for Deathstroke.
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