Batman: The Adventures Continue has had its fair share of ups and downs in its young life thus far. The storyline with Deathstroke trying to recruit Batgirl and Robin while also looking to kill Batman has been interesting to watch play out. Alan Burnett and Paul Dini have done good job introducing Deathstroke into the DC Animated Universe in a way that fits with the world and sticks to the core of the character. What hasn’t worked as well is the mysterious, possible Jason Todd, character that has been stalking the Batman Family since this series started. That sub-plot still needs a lot of work before it can really get going. Will everything start working out together? Let’s find out with Batman: The Adventures Continue #5.
Writer: Alan Burnett and Paul Dini
Artist: Ty Templeton
Colorist: Monica Kubina
Story Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Deathstroke and Robin do there best to evade all of Firefly’s attacks. Eventually Deathstroke is able to jump to on a dinosaur statue and use the elevated height to nail Firefly with a dropkick.
Noticing that Firefly’s fire is surrounding Robin, Deathstroke saves the young Boy Wonder before he burns.
Elsewhere Batman talks with Alfred Pennyworth to figure out where Robin went after not going home like he was told to. Batman is able to find the last cross streets Robin’s signal came from and sees the fire at the museum.
Inside the museum, backed up into a corner Deathstroke decides to face off against Firefly alone. Firefly uses his flamethrower to keep Deathstroke at a distance.
Suddenly the sprinkle system finally turns on. Then Batman appears and starts fighting Firefly. Watching the fight Deathstroke realizes Batman is using infrared filters to get the upper hand against Firefly.
Seeing no victory Firefly causes an explosion that opens a hole in a wall so he can escape.
As the firefighters respond to the museum fire Batman orders Robin to go home immediately.
Deathstroke hopes Batman doesn’t go to hard on Robin. Batman calls Deathstroke out for his interest in Batgirl and Robin. Deathstroke reveals that Kobra is looking to cause terrorist acts in Gotham City that rival 9/11 and he was hired to stop them.
Batman still does not trust Deathstroke and that he’ll stop Kobra so Deathstroke should give him the leads he has. Deathstroke offers to exchange numbers but Batman is already gone.
Nearby, the Batman Family stalker (Jason Todd?) is shown watching all this go down.
The next day Barbara Gordon finds Tim Drake mopping in the living room. Tim complains that he has been grounded and is considering becoming an international bounty hunter. Barbara reminds him he is a little young for that.
Barbara then enters the Batcave and finds Bruce Wayne and Alfred going over some footage. Bruce reveals that he has been able to get footage of their stalker from satellite footage. The footage shows that this person is incredibly skilled athlete and uses a grapple gun as well as they do.
Elsewhere the Stalker taps into the warehouse Deathstroke is. Inside Slade Wilson jokes with Sunny (his sidekick) about her work as Firefly. Sunny does not find that funny and mentions their employer is on the line.
Slade talks with Lex Luthor and says that he will need to be very meticulous about how he handles killing Batman because one wrong move and they are both done for. Lex Luthor says he does not want to hear anything other than that the job gets done. Slade promises that within the next 24 hours that Batman will be nothing more than a memory. End of issue.
The Good: Reading Batman: The Adventures Continue #5 makes it clear that this format is not the optimal way to be reading this “Mentors” story arc. This issue more so than others showed that this arc really needs to be read in normal comic book format rather that the digital format DC Comics has employed with these digital-exclusive comics. Because even with the plot elements that are enjoyable more of the problems with the momentum of this story have become apparent.
Sticking to the positives first Dini and Burnett continue to nail the tone of the DC Animated Universe. This issue does come across as though you are experiencing part of an episode Batman: The Animated Series. That shows best with how they don’t miss a beat with how they write Bruce Wayne, Barbara Gordon, Tim Drake and Alfred Pennyworth. All these characters dialogue match the tone to how they talked during this period in the DC Animated Universe.
What was particularly interesting was how Dini and Burnett have gone all in with showing how at this point Bruce isn’t the best mentor. In particular to how he raises Tim he isn’t being the supportive mentor that Tim wants. Bruce not recognizing how Tim is still a kid looking for support from his father-figure shows how tunnel vision he is on his mission on Batman. As this plotline with Tim starting to look up to Deathstroke develops hopefully we see Bruce actually recognizes this and makes more effort to support Tim beyond his Robin training.
It was also good to see that we finally learned who hired Deathstroke in Batman: The Adventures Continue #5. That person being Lex Luthor is a good continuation to the first story arc of this series that saw Batman taking on the Superman villain. This new plot element makes things between the Batman Family and Deathstroke much more personal as Lex is doing all he can to get his vengeance on the Dark Knight. Additionally, this helps build a narrative of the possibility of there being a bigger storyline down the line between Batman and Lex Luthor.
On the Batman Family side of things, it was good that the stalker that they have isn’t something that they don’t realize. Bruce, Barbara and Alfred already having an awareness of this makes this sub-plot better. This helps this particular sub-plot be identified as something to be watching out for.
The artwork by Ty Templeton continues to hit the look you expect to see from a series set in the DC Animated Universe. You instantly feel like you are watching an episode of The New Batman Adventures. With the first half being action heavy Templeton was able to show off how well he is able to choreograph different types of fighters in a story.
The Bad: While there were some enjoyable plot elements in this issue the big focal points of Deathstroke and Jason Todd left a lot to be desired. For Deathstroke the character is clearly being given the credibility that he has just based on name value. There hasn’t been a point since this version of Deathstroke was introduce that you believe Batman, Batgirl or Robin are in danger. We have yet to see the skill level of this Deathstroke matching that of his comic book counterpart or from the Teen Titans cartoon.
The battle with Firefly was a major missed opportunity to get over this version of Deathstroke. The character should’ve been the one to defeat this version of Firefly, especially considering that they were his sidekick Sunny in disguise. This was the chance to put over the fact that Deathstroke should be considered one of the most dangerous assassins in the world. But that has not happened yet. All we have seen is that Deathstroke knows how to be charismatic in front of a kid like Robin.
It will be important in the next issue that we see Deathstroke be the big bad that he has been in other versions. Name value alone is not enough to buy credibility, especially since Deathstroke has no history in the DC Animated Universe. And with Deathstroke threatening to kill Batman within 24 hours hopefully that means that skilled assassin is shown off.
Similarly, the whole story with the DCAU version of Jason Todd continuing to stalk the Batman Family has failed to pick up any steam. On top of still not being named, the character has lack personality even though he has shown up in every issue of this series. This version of Jason Todd is nothing more than a guy with a white streak of hair. There has been nothing to go off of to actually be connected with his character other than we know him from the regular DC Universe. But that is not good enough because that just shows that Dini and Burnett are using the name value of Jason Todd rather than creating a compelling DCAU version of the character.
Overall: Batman: The Adventures Continue #5 progresses the “Mentor” story but unfortunately faces several problems that hold back the quality. The biggest problems facing this storyline are with how poorly Deathstroke and the Batman Family stalker have been developed. Thus far the name value of these characters are what this story are playing off of rather than true character development. Hopefully that changes in future issues of this series.
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