The introduction of the DC Animated Universe version of Deathstroke did not blow me away. Deathstroke’s intro went more or less how I thought it would go with Batman not trusting him while the mercenary tried to recruit Batgirl and Robin. There is still potential in the recruitment storyline Deathstroke is being given in order to break Batman. Hopefully we just get more insight into who hired Deathstroke and why was now the time for this character to finally show up in the DC Animated Universe. Will we find that out in chapter four of Batman: The Adventures Continue? Let’s find out now.
Writers: Alan Burnett and Paul Dini
Artist: Ty Templeton
Colorist: Monica Kubina
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: While driving through Gotham City Robin contacts Alfred Pennyworth to complain about Batman sending him home because of his curfew and not letting him find the Wonderland Gang together. Robin notices Deathstroke on the rooftops and lies to Alfred that he is coming home before hanging up.
Over at the Entomology Pavilion, Deathstroke breaks in through the roof. Once he gets inside he is greeted by Robin. Deathstroke says that since Robin is their they will be allies and the young Boy Wonder will be under his protection for tonight.
Deathstroke then reveals he is searching for Firefly. Robin remembers Firefly from one of Batman’s stories as he used to be Garfield Lynns and became a pyro-merc-for-hire, setting fires for the highest bidder. Deathstroke reveals that one of the jobs Firefly took on in Zurich backfired on him and left him severely scarred, which ended up making Firefly even crazier than before.
Robin is shocked to hear this since Batman didn’t tell him the details about Zurich. Robin then asks why Deathstroke believes Firefly will be in the Entomology Pavilion. Deathstroke reveals that before each job Firefly likes to swipe exotic bugs from the local zoos and museums. The other reason is the rising humming coming inside the building. Just then a horde of bees appear around Deathstroke and Robin.
Elsewhere Batman is able to singlehandedly defeat the Wonderland Gang, with Mad Hatter the last one standing. Mad Hatter tries to use a forklift to skewer Batman. That attempt is unsuccessful as Batman dodges and causes Mad Hatter to crash the forklift through a wall.
Batman then notice a light flickering from a nearby rooftop. Batman believes that it could be “him” and he only has thirty seconds to get to that rooftop. Batman swings over as fast as he can but makes it there in thirty-three seconds, to late to catch “him.” Batman then wonders how this person knows where they are even when Mad Hatter’s heist was not even on police channels.
Back at the Entomology Pavilion, Robin gets all the bees to follow him and he groups them together with his cape. He then uses a fire extinguisher to cause the bees to make them to heavy to keep flying around. Deathstroke compliments Robin on his quick thinking and suggests having a better strategy if he ever comes up against Asian Giant Hornets.
Firefly suddenly shows up and immediately attacks Deathstroke with his flamethrower. Firefly then proceeds to mock Interpol for becoming so desperate that they hire Deathstroke to come after him. Robin gets Firefly’s attention long enough for Deathstroke to cut off Firefly’s flamethrower.
While Robin thinks this makes Firefly easy to defeat Deathstroke warns the Boy Wonder to stay on his guard. This proves to be good advice as Firefly reveals that he can now shot fire from his mouth by doing so directly at Deathstroke and Robin. End of issue.
The Good: Much like the previous chapter Batman: The Adventures Continue Chapter Four was solid. This issue progressed the story involving Deathstroke. But while it accomplishes that the structure of this digital release isn’t helping with the several storylines going on in this series.
Building on the previous chapter it was good to see Deathstroke slightly pivot to trying to first recruit Robin to his side. This shows that Deathstroke understands based on his conversation with Batgirl that she will be more difficult to persuade to leave Batman and join him. Rather than investing more time right into how to get Batgirl on his side he changes course to Robin. This shows that Deathstroke understands that Robin, being younger and still more impressionable, is his into the greater Batman Family.
Also using the way Robin does his best to get Batman’s approval and trying to convince his mentor to treat him as equals Deathstroke taps into those desires. Deathstroke carefully chose his words to show the support and compliments that Robin is seeking. This makes for a gives adds to how Deathstroke is planning to use the Batman Family against the Dark Knight in order to take him down.
The confrontation with Firefly also added an interesting wrinkle as it was revealed that Deathstroke was possibly hired by Interpol, at least to go after Firefly. This puts a greater question as to who exactly is bankrolling Deathstroke’s current mission to go after Batman. That’s something that we do not really have clues on except that Deathstroke was hired to kill Batman. Who this character is could give an new layer to the greater story that Burnett and Dini are building up.
Firefly was also given a good introduction. Burnett and Dini were able to add a greater sense of danger to the character with the final reveal of Firefly being able to breathe fire through his mouth. That surprise makes him a bigger threat.
Ty Templeton continues to hit on the animation style that The New Batman Adventures had. Capturing that style brings you back into what the DC Animated Universe was during this period pre-Justice League. The design for Deathstroke also works well to fit into this universe. The addition to Firefly’s new power made him look terrifying.
The Bad: Just like the previous chapters the plotline that is just not working is the whole Batman Family stalker. While it’s been said that this character is supposed to be Jason Todd not actually getting a name within the comic book is hurting this. In addition, even if this is the DCAU Jason Todd there is no connection to this version of the character. There is no established history for DCAU Jason Todd going into this comic book like the rest of the Batman Family.
The entire race Batman has to find this stalker would’ve been better served to have Batgirl interacting with Batman. Especially with how we saw Robin complaining about being sent home by Batman, Batgirl question this decision would’ve given this story greater development. Especially with how Deathstroke was trying to recruit Batgirl in the previous chapter leaving her out made it feel like something was missing. It would have been simple to just be help Batman take down Mad Hatter’s Wonderland Gang. The page count dedicated to the stalker storyline would have been better served to develop Batgirl’s character.
Overall: Batman: The Adventures Continue Chapter Four work well to progress the story with Deathstroke. If this chapter was dedicated completely it would’ve worked out much better. But the push to remind readers about Batman Family stalker sub-plot is hurting the momentum of this Deathstroke story. Keeping focused one storyline would be beneficial to this series as it is building momentum for himself
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