Batman: The Adventures Continue has been such a tough series to follow. As a fan of the DC Animated Universe, it is great to be able to dive back into the era of The New Batman Adventures. Since we only got one 24 episode season of that series there is a lot of story potential for Batman: The Adventures Continue to fill in the gaps up to the point of the flashback events we saw Return of the Joker. While there have certainly been fun issues in Batman: The Adventures Continue there have also been several story problems. Most of that has centered around the extended debut of the DCAU version of Jason Todd, as the character has been mysteriously stalking the Batman Family from the shadows. Given that Jason Todd wasn’t a part of any DCAU content before this its been tough to get behind the version of the character we’ve seen thus far. Now based on the cover of Batman: The Adventures Continue #9 it looks like we will finally get a full spotlight on this version of Jason Todd and what, if any, history he has with Batman. Let’s find out now with Batman: The Adventures Continue #9.
Writer: Alan Burnett and Paul Dini
Artist: Ty Templeton
Colorist: Monica Kubina
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Outside Joker’s hideout Jason Todd thinks how he has been waiting for this moment for four years.
Inside, Joker tells Straightman, his new muscle, that someone is lurking outside. After a joke, they go outside.
As Jason tries to get the drop on Joker, Straightman destroys the pillars holding up the Ferris wheel. This causes Jason to fall but he is able to recover. Straightman then throws one of the Ferris wheel carts at Jason. Joker follows up with a grenade that causes a big explosion. With Jason out Joker and Straightman make their getaway on a bumper car.
Jason recovers and leaves before any cops show up.
Later, as the Gotham City Police Department investigates the scene Batman finds a gun that shows Joker had some unwanted visitor.
Inside the Batcave, Bruce Wayne analyzes the fingerprints on the gun and learns that it belongs to Jason Todd. Alfred Pennyworth is shocked to hear Jason’s name again. Bruce mentions that Jason is likely their stalker though Alfred mentions Jason is supposed to be dead.
Tim Drake appears and asks if Jason was the second Robin. Bruce puts on his cowl and says he doesn’t have time for this. Tim demands answers. Batman tells Alfred to tell Tim everything and then leaves in the Batmobile.
A little later Alfred tells Tim about a gang known as The Wolves and how they would have all new recruits wear a red hood to be the lookout for when cops show up, making the new recruit the most visible during heists. It is shown that one of these red hood recruits ended up slipping from his post and dying when the cops showed up. Batman, who by this point was working alone after Dick Grayson left, investigated this latest death of The Wolves’ new recruit.
When Batman found The Wolves hideout he was already beaten to the punch by someone else. That person turned out to be a young Jason Todd, who took on the entire Wolves gang alone. As Jason was about to fire a gun at the gang Batman stopped him from killing anyone.
From there Batman learned about how Jason was an orphan and that his brother, Danny, joined The Wolves in order to get some money but died in the fall. Hearing this story Bruce took Jason in as his ward and started to train him as he did for Dick and Barbara back in the day.
During the training, Alfred points out how he and Barbara, while seeing similar potential as Dick when he was Robin, noticed how angry Jason was and that it may have been to early for him to begin training as Robin.
Alfred mentions that he brought this concern up with Bruce. Bruce brushed it off and says he will be able to get Jason under control and focused. Bruce goes on to say Jason will only be ready to be Robin when he says so.
Later, Alfred discovers Dick’s old Robin suit missing from the case.
Elsewhere, as Batman is battling Firefly in a burning building Jason shows up dressed as Robin. End of issue.
The Good: Finally after eight chapters we finally get the origin of the DC Animated Universe version of Jason Todd. This was something that was certainly needed for Jason Todd’s character as his whole stalker routine grew old extremely quickly. In going with this route for Batman: The Adventures Continue Chapter 9 Alan Burnett and Paul Dini are at least able to start to show signs of plot progression for Jason’s story.
Given that the DC Animated Universe version of Tim Drake was meant to be an amalgamation of both Tim Drake and Jason Todd from the comics Burnett and Dini had to make some changes to Jason’s character. Specifically changing the backstory and motivation for Jason was key in getting the character over. To Burnett and Dini’s credit, they do just that by giving us a quick look into how Jason ended up in such a dark place when Batman crosses paths with the young kid.
In doing so Burnett and Dini are able to accomplish a few things. First, they are able to give Jason a backstory that was told in a quick and succinct fashion. The flashback origin did not overstay its welcome in trying to give a history for every part of Jason’s life. Alfred’s details get straight to the key points that needed to be addressed for Tim Drake to understand who Jason was. This allows both Tim and the reader to understand how Jason was a different Robin in comparison to even the DCAU Dick Grayson and Tim Drake.
Alfred and Barbara specifically being there and calling out how Jason was not mentally ready to train under Bruce’s tutelage give us a good idea of how this period in history was a quick one. You do get the idea that from the beginning Jason training to be Robin was not a good idea and that Bruce handled it all poorly. Which likely adds to why Bruce, Barbara, and Alfred never talked about Jason or his time as Robin with anyone. This may also explain, within the universe, why when The New Batman Adventures begin we see Bruce adopt a darker version of the Batman suit as he needed to retire the yellow oval logo version of the Batman suit to get away from always remembering Jason.
The other thing that Jason’s backstory established is the importance of Jason adopting the Red Hood persona in the DC Animated Universe. Rather than directly tying it to Joker we learn that the red hood has another form of personal touchstone for this version of Jason. In his own way, being Red Hood for Jason is a way to both remember his brother and why he became a vigilante in the first place. It also reminds him of why gangs like The Wolves should be dealt with in extreme fashion. While obviously warped it does give a lot of information about Jason’s motivation without having to directly tell us.
What will be interesting from all this is how Joker ties into all this. It’s obvious based on how Jason went after Joker that the Clown Prince of Crime did have something to do with Jason’s original death. How many similarities there are to the comic book version of “Death In The Family” with Jason and Joker’s story will be interesting to see.
Ty Templeton continues to be a consistent force that keeps the style of the DCAU going through his artwork. Templeton looks to be getting more comfortable with drawing a comic book version of the DCAU style. With this being more of a talking heavy issue Templeton does a good job in getting across all the character emotions that helped to enhance the dialogue.
The Bad: The one part of Batman: The Adventures Continue Chapter 9 that did not completely work is that as the reader we are supposed to make a lot of assumptions for Jason Todd’s character. Since everything about Jason’s backstory was told through the eyes of Alfred it does feel like we don’t learn as much. It is more so about knowing Jason’s comic book history in the main DC Universe that helps inform this version of the character’s personality. Without that history, it would not be surprising if Jason’s backstory falls flat with some readers. What would help is if in future issues that Jason actually gets dialogue to that gives insight into his personality rather than Burnett and Dini telling us who he was through Alfred or Bruce’s voice.
Overall: Batman: The Adventures Continue Chapter 9 was a solid start to finally learning the backstory of the DC Animated Universe version of Jason Todd. This is something that was needed since introducing Jason as the Batman Family stalker at the start of the series. Learning who this version of Jason Todd is will be extremely helpful since Alan Burnett and Paul Dini clearly have major plans for the character during this run.
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