Batman: The Animated Series has a soft spot in the hearts of many a ’90s comic fans. Even though I have come to see prior campy versions of the Caped Crusader as perfectly legitimate and am well-versed in the comic’s expansive lore, TAS captures what could legitimately be called the quintessential Batman. The show’s tone was not the garden variety, after-school affair; it was dark, serious and character-driven. If you were going to be introduced to Batman for the first time, this is one of the best ways to do so.
Thankfully, the approach taken by The Animated Series continues via this current book released by DC. Best of all, this series brings some exceptional and proven talent to craft the plot. With Alan Burnett and Paul Dini at the helm, some of the key writers involved are given the ability to have another go at their archetypal Batman elucidation.
Additionally, Ty Templeton, the artist from the original comic adaptation of the show, is back in top form, providing unassuming line work that focuses the eye on the essential beats of the plot. I was unfamiliar with Monica Kubina, but her colors are vibrant and bright, definitely adding some blush to the world crafted by Dini and Burnett and complementing Templeton’s framing well. While the coloring may not be “authentic” to the original animated work, it was a welcome change and fits the world crafted in this issue.
While this is the sixth issue thus far, anyone with even a passing understanding of Batman should be able to jump in and enjoy this. Having said that, this is clearly tailored towards folks that have an interest in the DC mythos, as both Deadshot and Lex Luthor, two characters with only tangential relations to Batman, are featured prominently. The scope of the series feels closer to the subsequent animated Batman cartoons rather than the snug Gotham-structured episodes of the original series, with both Batgirl and Robin represented here similar to that aforementioned series. Yet, this broader scope that includes more of the DC world also kept me guessing and entertained, and shouldn’t be interpreted as a detriment to the book.
This book embraces nostalgia while promising new ground for the animated Batman to confront. While there may not be much to chew on here when it comes to delving deeper into the Batman lore, it is a pleasurable, colorful romp that any age can enjoy.