Writer: Ty Templeton
Artist: Rick Burchett, Rick Burchett, and Terry Beatty
Publisher: DC COMICS
Release Date: April 1st, 1998
Cover Price: $2.95
Reviewed by: Rollo Tomasi
“ALL AGES” DOES NOT MEAN “JUST FOR KIDS”!
Everyone is familiar with the 1990s classic Batman: The Animated Series. Maybe the greatest comic book-related cartoon series ever. So of course DC put out several related series dedicated to the look and tone of the cartoon. The first few comic series looked more like the first 3 seasons of the show. Season 4 was when the show moved from the WB to Fox kids. The style and tone were different from the first three seasons. Specifically, Batman put away his yellow oval symbol (this made him look different from the mainstream comics that were still using the yellow oval).
The fourth season saw Dick Grayson grow up to become Nightwing and a new Robin joined the team (whose background blended Tim Drake and Jason Todd’s histories). Batgirl also became a regular cast member. While the show still maintained the feel of earlier seasons, there was a definite attempt to step away from the usual gangster villains and focus more on Batman’s rogues’ gallery and the Bat-family. The comic series Batman: Gotham Adventures came out in 1998 and focused on the style of this fourth season.
If you’re interested in this comic, series, or any of the others mentioned, simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon.
The story opens with a great chase scene between the Bat-family and Joker. As the Joker is captured the father of one of the Joker’s victims puts out a 50 million dollar bounty on the Joker’s head. The rest of the issue is Batman trying to keep the Joker alive while also trying to get the bounty canceled.
Do you know what this old-time comic reader misses? Done in one story. No 6 part decompressed story to fit a trade. Just a one-issue story. This is especially impressive in this issue considering the number of characters Templeton juggles in one issue. Yet everyone feels like they get their moment. This is a great first issue for someone that just wants to jump into a Batman story without having to have a Ph.D. in Batman continuity. Particularly modern Batman Comics.
It is a tight story that flows easily. While some see series like this as for the “kids” rather than older readers, I think that’s more due to the art style that is usually used in all ages comics rather than the storytelling. It is a simple cartoony style that goes well with the cartoon show it wants to tie into. Unfortunately, this is what often turns off older readers. I love the art here. It’s crisp, clear, and looks AMAZING on a tablet or phone. The colors in HD pop. In fact, this art style looks great on a phone. Even if you’re not using guided panel to panel view. The art and lettering are still easy to follow.
Batman: Gotham Adventures #1 is a great introduction first issue for anyone that just wants a Batman and/or Bat-family story without all the tie-ins or decompression. Some might find the art as “kiddie”. But it’s a clean style that shouldn’t distract from the story. For those that think these all-ages comics are only good for children, I would argue you could take the script from this issue and have it drawn by a more mainstream comic artist. Then launch it as a one-shot. And no one would think it was “kiddie”.
If you are interested in trying this series out, DC makes it even easier to try it digitally. All the issues for this series and mostly all the other Batman the Animated series comics are always only 99 cents on Comixology. Most are done in one story. So you don’t have to make a big commitment if you want to try a few. In fact and I just checked and this very issue is FREE on Comixology! Now you have no excuse to try it now!