DC Comics is expanding their animated Batman universe.
Batman: The Animated Series is being given a new lease on life this April, as DC Comics is launching a new six-issue miniseries called Batman: The Adventures Continue.
Set in the world of the TV show, the series is written by the show’s producers Paul Dini and Alan Burnett, and illustrated by Ty Templeton, who worked on the previous show tie-in comic series, Batman Adventures.
For many fans, the Emmy-award-winning Batman: The Animated Series is their definitive adaptation of the comic books.
Over 85 episodes, the team of Dini, Burnett and Bruce Timm produced emotional and mature stories which successfully adapted the Caped Crusader’s story, but also introduced a number of new elements to the show which also made their way into the pages of DC Comics – like Harley Quinn and Renee Montoya, who both feature in the latest DC feature, Birds of Prey.
As well as that, the show also birthed several films, the popular Arkham Asylum video game franchise, and an entire shared universe which included Superman: The Animated Series, Justice League, and more.
The comics will feature many familiar faces from the DC Animated Universe, such as Superman and Lex Luther, but will also include some characters who had never appeared in that world until now, like Jason Todd.
Dini told Entertainment Weekly, “We’d gone from Dick Grayson to Tim Drake, and we had left out Jason. What we’re doing with this is looking at this as a chance to go back and actually acknowledge that was a part of the animated Batman’s history. For the first time, you’re going to see that story and you’re going to see what happened in that relationship. So, it’s our chance to not only to do Jason Todd but also the Red Hood. There are other characters like Azrael, who was popular in the comics around [the time of the show], and Deathstroke, who we never used in the animated series.”
Templeton added, “It’s fun that it doesn’t feel like we have to deal with the 15 year gap since we told stories with these characters. We can just feel like we just stepped into these things yesterday, because the shows and comics are always out there. They never go away. I didn’t want it to feel like there’s a big gap and Batman was old and Tim was in his 30’s or anything like that. I’m really happy it just feels like the next day.”
In the first issue of the series, Batman and Bruce Wayne are dealing with two different mysteries. First, a giant robot breaks into Wayne Enterprises and steals an entire laboratory – and second, Lex Luthor’s mysterious return to Gotham City.
“We’re kicking off with the Bruce-Lex relationship in a semi sequel of [the Batman and Superman crossover] ‘World’s Finest’ because the events of that are touched on. Where did that leave Bruce and Lex after they were busted by Batman and Superman? It’s interesting to see the little duelling that goes on between them,” Dini told EW.
The first issue also poses the question “Who is the mysterious character in the shadows observing all of this?”
Dini explained, “There’s a stranger in town who has staked out the Batman family, who knows them very well, and is watching them from a distance with a mixture of amusement and deep hatred. That’s gonna be a challenge and concern for them at some point. The guy is so good that even though Batman and the others get glimpses of him, they have no idea who he is or what he wants, and that’s a mystery for them to solve.”
He also teased the “intense” Azreal storyline: “[He comes] to Gotham on a mission of death to recover something that’s been stolen from the Order of St. Dumas and that brings him into conflict with Batman. Batman has to keep him murdering members of the Gotham underworld as they try to put together this mystery of who took it and why. I think it’s one of the coolest reveals we’ve done and it makes perfect sense given the lore of our series. That’s one of the issues I’m most jazzed about.”
Batman: The Adventures Continue will be released digitally in April, with it physically hitting shelves on May 6th.