To cap off 2020, Batman: The Adventures Continue #17 features a happy ending, leaving the story on an optimistic note. The true optimistic note is seeing everything from the failed DC Universe app moving over to HBO MAX finally. Which means we have access to Batman: The Animated Series again. Every once in a while, I get a craving to watch an episode but I didn’t want to re-subscribe to DC Universe after knowing it was in a death spiral.
While Batman: The Adventures Continue…. continues to be less than desirable, at least I can look forward to watching one of the greatest animated series of all time again.
Now, I brought up HBO Max for a reason. This series has been dropping jokes that are relevant to the here and now. Harley makes a joke about watching stuff on HBO Max and it just doesn’t sit right with me. There’s something ‘timeless’ about the Batman corner of the animated universe where it doesn’t quite fit into the past or the future and tying it to jokes on our lips TODAY will date this story.
Getting off my soapbox though, this issue wraps up the Secret Santa storyline we’ve been slogging through. Harley and Ivy really have no place in this story, since the party last issue was held at the Iceberg Lounge, I don’t understand why we didn’t have Penguin throw a party and Joker crash it to be a nuisance. They’re really here because their relationship is one of the things Burnett and Dini can hang their hats on. And because of their involvement in the original “Holiday Knights” episode, they had to be forced into the uninspired sequel.
It just feels superfluous. The whole thing could’ve been done in one issue and saved us some time and money. Things end well for the Ventriloquist and the final conflict has a bit of momentum to it, I felt myself getting a little excited for the conclusion and the action with the trains. Otherwise, it feels like more of the same from this series. A lot of unnecessary steps to get to a mediocre payoff.
Ty Templeton puts in good work as usual. There’s some nice momentum going towards the end with Batman and Robin rushing to save the Ventriloquist and the train sequences. I still think the book can be flat at times and the figures feel pasted on with weird shadows put in behind them afterwards, but I’d be lying if I said I don’t enjoy returning to this world and art style enough to put up with my grievances.
I think I’ve figured out my New Year’s resolution. I’m going to stop reviewing this book. Yeah, it’s about time. The book has fallen into poor territory where I don’t feel joy at returning to this world, but frustration with a level of quality that I feel is below what this creative team is capable of.
The past couple of arcs have been an exercise in wasted space and effort. Too many issues, too decompressed, poorly thought out, poorly executed, and stuffed with bad jokes that will age the book after a year or two. It was a good idea and it was fascinating in the beginning, but I think Batman: The Adventures Continue has run its course and should be retired. I know I’ll be retiring it from my Pull List.
It’s not bad. It’s just not what it could be.