Batman and Robin Adventures #1 (November, 1995)
Writer – Paul Dini
Pencils – Ty Templeton
Inks – Rick Burchett
Colors – Linda Medley
Letters – Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Associate Edits – Darren Vincenzo
Edits – Scott Peterson
Cover Price: $1.75
Keeping things “light” this Sunday… and toying with the concept of “comfort food” once again. Not so much my own personal comfort food… but, I know for a lot of folks, the ol’ Batman: The Animated Series is a source of many “warm fuzzies”.
For me, ehh, I didn’t hate it… but, I wasn’t really a religious viewer or anything. It certainly didn’t help that it seemed as though every time I tuned in, it was that same Mr. Freeze and the Snowglobe episode! Man, that got old fast!
Anyhoo… let’s check out the first issue from the Batman and Robin Adventures!
We open with a scene of Batman and Robin taking out some would-be arms-smugglers down at the Gotham City docks. It’s a pretty boilerplate scene, nothing we haven’t seen a hundred times before, and only really serves to facilitate the “new normal” for this series of stories. Ya see, Robin’s in College… and so, his team-ups with Batman have become a little less frequent. We also learn that, while Dick’s got classes in the morning, Bruce has an appointment of his own to keep… ya see, he and Grace LaMont (Harvey Dent’s on-again/off-again) have a weekly meeting with Two-Face to discuss the progress of his treatment at Arkham.
Harv’ reveals that everything is going great… and he’s making great strides toward living a normal life, and will even be undergoing a bit of reconstructive surgery in the not-so-distant future. The Joker, whose cell just so happens to be like right next door, decides he rather prefers Harvey as a madman, and figures he probably ought to intervene to stymie his successes. Once Bruce and Grace head off, he insinuates to Dent that they’re probably banging behind his back.
We follow Bruce and Grace back to Wayne Tower, where they talk a bit more about their man Harvey. The conversation does, in fact, change to something more personal. Bruce invites Grace to a Press Party… in order to give her “one night free from worry”. Hmm… was the Joker on to something here?
Back at Arkham, the Joker is still rattling Two-Face’s cage about his gal-pal’s improprieties… and when Harvey chases him off, the clown drops his newspaper. Ya know, on purpose… the front-page headline tells of Bruce Wayne’s Dream Project coming true… and that Grace will be his “date” for the evening. I guess with all the baddies already in Arkham, there really wasn’t anything else going on in Gotham to be that cover story!
On his way out of the “common area”, the Joker pops into a Guard Station to swipe a phone… with it, he makes a very important phone call.
We jump ahead to that Garden Party Dance thing, where Bruce invites Grace to cut a rug for a bit. She doesn’t seem all that into it, but agrees to anyway. After dancing for a bit, they break away from the group to chat… and, naturally Harvey comes up in the conversation. It’s a pretty innocent talk, that ends with Grace thanking Bruce by giving him a peck on the cheek… a peck, that just so happened to be caught on film by… Harley Quinn!
Bruce grabs Dick… er, um… that is to say, Wayne grabs Grayson… to inform him of what just went down, and so they change into their work clothes and confront the rogue photographer. Unfortunately, by this time she’d already handed off the Polaroid of the smooch to the press (with the story that Bruce and Grace are… engaged!).
The Dynamic Duo fights Harley for a bit, in what is… kind of embarrassingly for them, a pretty even-matched fight. Finally… like three-pages later, the fellas manage to take the upper-hand. I mean, really dudes… Harley-in-heels held you off for three pages? What is this, a “current year” book?!
Harley backs off, and calls for her “babies”… which, are a pair of hyenas. They pounce on our heroes, but are taken out pretty quick. Unfortunately, it’s just enough time for Quinn to split the scene.
We jump back to Arkham, where… hot off the presses, the latest edition of the Gotham Gazette is exchanging hands! The Joker gleefully shares the cover-story with Harvey Dent… and, just as he’d planned, it reports that Bruce Wayne and Grace LaMont are… dun, dun, dunnnn… engaged to be married!
Harvey is… uh, displeased. So much so that he beats the holy hell out of some orderlies and… escapes Arkham?! Wow, who knew it was that easy? Why hasn’t the Joker thought of this?
Batman, Robin, and Commissioner Gordon decide to question the Joker about his part in this… and, well… he spills the beans completely! What does he care about Harvey Dent’s well-being, right? And, what’re they going to do to him… double-arrest him? When asked why he was messing with Harv, the Joker reveals that he did so… because it was Tuesday. This either means it was “just another day”, or maybe he’s playing with the “Two” in Twos-day?
We wrap up back at Grace LaMont’s place… with Harvey kickin’ down the door looking for revenge!
This was arright.
Weird, for a book named after Batman and Robin, it feels as though the Boy Wonder was something of an afterthought here, dunnit? I guess DC just needed to put out a book with the same title as the current incarnation of the Animated Series? Maybe I’m misremembering… I’m not quite so encyclopedic in my knowledge of the Timm/Diniverse… or whatever the hell we’re calling it.
Anyhoo, for the story… it wasn’t half-bad (HA! Half-bad! I kill me!)… the Joker spends the entire issue screwing with Harvey Dent to the point where he actually busts out of Arkham in a jealous rage. Fair enough! Really shines a light on just how inept the Arkham Security System is, doesn’t it? First, Joker’s just able to get into the Guard Station to swipe a phone… and, Second, ya know… Harvey just punches a couple of dudes, and is able to walk out the joint freely! Bad look, Arkham.
Then, we’ve got Bruce and Grace. Now, seeing as though Harvey Dent is… ya know, emotionally fragile (to say the least), why in all hell’s is Bruce bothering to bark up this tree? Even with the most innocent of intentions, if any of this got back to Dent, he was almost certain to flip out. Honestly, the Joker could have just as easily showed him an article about Bruce offering to water Grace’s plants while she’s out of town (that’s not a euphemism, folks), and Two-Face would’ve exploded in rage. This is just an all-around bad idea.
The art here was cool. You know me, I’m not the biggest fan of the “animated series” look, but this was pretty nice. The Harley fight scene was especially well-done, though, as alluded to during the synopsis, perhaps a page (or three) too long. I don’t feel as though Harley-in-heels should’ve been able to dupe the fellas for quite this long.
Overall, had a decent enough time with this… and, if you’re a fan of the Animated Series, I’d bet you will too!
(Not the) Letters Page: