The “Mentors” story arc has not been the best introduction for the Deathstroke character in the DC Animated Universe. While Slade Wilson is written to be a charismatic assassin not every character beat has click in the way Alan Burnett and Paul Dini have intended. Additionally, the digital format has not been the best for this series as there are a lot of character moments for Batman, Robin, Batgirl and Deathstroke that have come across as rushed in each chapter of this story. Now that we have gotten a lot of set up out of the way maybe the “Mentors” arc can turn around to deliver a solid conclusion. Let’s find out with Batman: The Adventures Continue #6.
Writers: 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: After Lex Luthor gives Deathstroke 24 hours to kill Batman, Slade tells Sunny to repair her Firefly armor and get ready to go back in action.
Over at the Wayne Mansion Tim Drake tries to convince Bruce Wayne to take him to watch the latest James Bond film as a reward for passing his geometry final but Bruce reminds his ward that he is grounded. The Batsignal lights up in the night sky and Bruce takes off to answer it.
At the GCPD headquarters rooftop Batman finds Commissioner Gordon and other officers knocked out. Deathstroke appears and reveals that he wanted to use the Batsignal to attract Batman so they could talk. Deathstroke tells Batman to follow him so they can take in Firefily together.
At Gotham University’s library Barbara Gordon talks with Tim to get the young Robin through his grounding. Barbara mentions that she hasn’t been able to be active as Batgirl recently either.
As she files a book away Barbara finds a bookmark with the words “ It’s A Trap” written on it.
Outside the library the Batman Family stalker (Jason Todd?) is seen walking outside.
Over at the Tri-State Dam Deathstroke shows Batman the device Firefly plans to use to blow up the dam. While Deathstroke works to disarm it Batman goes to look for Firefly.
Firefly eventually appears and immediately attacks Batman. Batman dodges all of Firefly’s attacks and then uses freeze pellets to incase Firefly in ice.
Batman checks on Firefly and finds out that Sunny was the one wearing the armor.
Deathstroke suddenly appears and starts attacking Batman with his energy sword that sends long range strikes to keep Batman on the defensive. Batman tries to use his batarangs but Deathstroke easily deflects them.
As Deathstroke goes in for the killing strike Batgirl and Robin appear out of nowhere and are able to cause Deathstroke to lose his balance with their grapple lines. Deathstroke cuts the lines with his energy sword and turns his attention to Batgirl and Robin.
With Deathstroke distracted Batman is able to get one of Sunny’s Firefly lighters. Batman throws the lighter at Deathstroke, who cuts it causing himself to be covered in fire. While Deathstroke’s Kevlar suit gives him some protection the fire starts to become to hot so he tries to escape while taking off his costume. Batman is able to knock Deathstroke out with a fire extinguisher and uses it to put out the fire.
Back at the Batcave Robin is surprised when Batman reveals that he was playing possum so Deathstroke would reveal his true motives.
Batman asks Batgirl if she has found anything on the person who gave her the warning about a trap. Batgirl states that she hasn’t found any fingerprints other than hers. She does wonder if the person who warned her about Deathstroke’s trap knows who she is.
Elsewhere the Batman Family stalker is seen smiling while standing on a gargoyle as the sun begins to rise. End of issue.
The Good: Much like every issue of this “Mentors” story arc Batman: The Adventures Continue #6 concluded Deathstroke’s introductory story with a whimper. Rather than provided Deathstroke a strong introduction to the DC Animated Universe the iconic DC Comics villain was nothing more than a forgettable antagonist. Its unfortunate because there was so much potential with Deathstroke joining Batman’s set of Rogues in the DCAU.
Now before getting more into that, not everything about Batman: The Adventures Continue #6 was bad. If there is one thing this issue got over was the fact that no one is better than Batman when he is prepared. Even though he didn’t have all the details about Deathstroke’s scheme it was clear there wasn’t a moment that Batman wasn’t going to win. This is very much in line with how at this point in Batman’s career that he is trying to outthink his foes rather than just defeating them in a straight up battle. We even see that with how Deathstroke did keep Batman on his toes during their fight.
It’s also interesting to see how this entire arc shows us more of the division between Batman and his partners. Batman has clearly pulled back on allowing Batgirl and Robin from helping him on the field. The telephone call Tim and Barbara have point to that being the case at the moment. It does move us more into how Batman is becoming even more of a loner as we get into close to around when the events of the Return of the Joker flashback happens. Batman: The Adventures Continue #6 sows’ more seeds for the greater loner mentality Bruce will have in the future.
Ty Templeton artwork was once again solid throughout Batman: The Adventures Continue #6. His work keeps up the tone of the animated series while giving the world his own touches with how his style works within the DCAU. With this being an even more action heavy issue Templeton was able to keep the story of the fight well-paced so everything flowed together nicely.
The Bad: Batman: The Adventures Continue #6 drops the ball with how Deathstroke’s story concluded. From the time the character was introduced to his defeat in this character Burnett and Dini never got over how dangerous he was. There was no point in the “Mentors” story that Slade Wilson came across as a major threat. Even in the staged Firefly fight in the previous issue didn’t give Slade a badass assassin aura as Deathstroke.
The failure to properly develop Slade as a threat in previous issues was the biggest problem Batman: The Adventures Continue #6 faced. And we see how Slade really had no plan other than using his sidekick, Sunny, as Firefly to briefly distract Batman. The problem with that is we already saw how easily Batman was able to take down Sunny’s Firefly in the previous issue. Her being taken down quickly came as no surprise. Which is just disappointing because Burnett and Dini should’ve done a better job developing Sunny to be someone who is skilled like Robin, possibly being the DCAU’s version of Rose Wilson.
But the lack of development for the Sunny character just further highlighted how poorly developed Deathstroke was in general. For all the boasting Burnett and Dini had Slade make to Lex Luthor about having the ultimate plan to kill Batman that was never a reality. With how easily the Batman Family defeated Deathstroke it just seemed that Slade had no plan other than using a special energy sword. That is all too bad since Deathstroke could’ve been set-up as intriguing new villain for the DCAU that this series could use in the long-term. But after this showing there is no desire to see this version of Deathstroke again.
All the problems with Deathstroke’s arc made the whole story with Jason Todd being the Batman Family stalker even less interesting. This storyline with the DCAU Jason Todd stalking the Batman Family has failed to capture any interest. Burnett and Dini are simply relying on Batman fans knowledge of who Jason Todd is in the main DC Universe continuity. There is zero connection to this version of the character, which makes the DCAU Jason Todd nothing more than a one dimensional character.
Overall: Batman: The Adventures Continue #6 is a disappointing conclusion to the “Mentors” story arc. This story failed to make Deathstroke’s debut in the DC Animated Universe a compelling read. At no point did the character come across as a major threat to the Batman Family. The lack of intriguing development for Deathstroke as an antagonist ended up affecting the impact this “Mentors” arc had as a whole.
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