Description: Batman: The Animated Series achieved a near-impossible feat by integrating the dark and mature themes of the Tim Burton Batman films into a kid-friendly cartoon show. It also inpired The Batman Adventures from DC Comics! This massive omnibus collects the entire comics run of the animated Dark Knight from The Batman Adventures #1-36, The Batman Adventures Annual #1-2, The Batman Adventures Holiday Special #1, a story from Batman Black & White #1, The Batman Adventures: Mad Love #1, and for the first time ever, the never-before-reprinted comic book adaptation of the animated feature film Batman: Mask of the Phantasm!
The Batman Adventures Omnibus is available to purchase through your preferred comic book retailer.
The Batman Adventures Omnibus
Review by James Harvey
It should've come as no real surprise that the The Batman Adventures comic series, based on Batman: The Animated Series - easily the greatest interpretation of The Dark Knight ever - would end up arguably just as strong as the material it's based on. With its stunning art, top-shelf and thrilling story-telling and a who's-who of incredible talent, The Batman Adventures unquestionably stands side by side with its inspiration in delivering some of the best Batman tales ever told. And now, nearly 30 years after DC Comics released its final issue, the entire 1990s series in a gorgeous, oversized hardcover collection that fans will want to own.
Collecting nearly 1200 pages between two hard covers, The Batman Adventures Omnibus includes the comic book adventures of the animated Dark Knight from The Batman Adventures #1-36, The Batman Adventures Annual #1-2, The Batman Adventures Holiday Special #1, a story from Batman: Black & White #1, The Batman Adventures: Mad Love #1, and the Batman: Mask of the Phantasm comic adaptation. A ridiculously stacked read, DC Comics has put together a release that finally gives The Batman Adventures the showcase it deserves.
The 1990s were a bit of a messy time not just for the Batman comic titles, but for comics in general. Excessive crossovers and style took precedence over substance with most publishers and, as a result, comics were nearly impenetrable to get into, with the odd exception. The Batman Adventures was one of those exceptions. Not only were the stories first-rate, and still hold up to this day, but it was accessible no matter how familiar you were with the Dark Knight. It was the perfect jumping-on title for those interested in following Batman's adventures, and you didn't need to be a Batman: The Animated Series fan to enjoy it.
Just to note, the Paul Dini/Bruce Timm "Batman in: Cruise to Nightmare" short story from Adventures in the DC Universe #3 is not part of this collection. Expecting it is understandable, given there's a Batman: Black & White short story in the omnibus, but so is its exclusion since the story comes from another comic series (and not an anthology like Batman: Black & White). It would've been nice to see, and likely should've been included since it's just six pages, but it's not really a strike against the book.
As mentioned, The Batman Adventures is inspired by Batman: The Animated Series, but doesn't stick slavishly to it. The continuity between both the show and the comic tend to collide and contradict each other on occasion, but it honestly doesn't matter. The writing is so strong, the artwork so stunning, it's just so easy to go with whatever flow the book presents. That said, for those who are continuity-conscious, the general rule of thumb goes that anything in the cartoon itself eclipses whatever pops up in a tie-in title, comic book or novel, etc. Cool? Okay, let's get back to the good stuff.
Comprised mostly of single-issue stories, with the odd two- or three-parter scattered throughout, The Batman Adventures not only offered new adventures of this animated iteration of the Dark Knight, something viewers were champing at the bit for at the time, but the comic also expanded and dove deeper into the characters inhabiting this corner of the DC Animated Universe. Commissioner Gordon, Batgirl, Robin and other members of the cast, good and bad, frequently snagged the spotlight for some of the comic's best tales (such as The Batman Adventures: Mad Love, for example).
One of the many impressive facets of this collection is how, front to back, there's nary a weak tale to be found. There's a story or two that aren't as strong as the others, yes, but all in all every issue never fails to bring something fresh and fun to the table. The art is always top-notch and the writing almost always fantastic, and that's not hyperbole.
The talent this book attracted, including some creators from Batman: The Animated Series itself, is staggering. Writers here include Kelley Puckett, Paul Dini, Martin Pasko, Michael Reaves, Alan Grant, and Dan Raspler. In terms of art, joining them is Mike Parobeck, Brad Rader, Dev Madan, Dan Riba, Rick Burchett, Matt Wager, Dan DeCarlo, Klaus Janson, John Byrne, and Kevin Altieri. Bruce Timm, Ty Templeton, Glen Murakami, and Ronnie Del Carmen are also here, all pulling double duty on both script and pencils.
With that pedigree, you'd think it'd be easy to list all the issues worth checking out in The Batman Adventures Omnibus, but that would honestly be every single comic included in here. There's definitely a handful that are the cream of the crop, such as issues #1-6, 13, 15, 27, 33-36, but every issue here legitimately deserves to be read, and with the freshest eyes possible. You can find further content and commentary for The Batman Adventures throughout this very site.
One of the biggest inclusions in this mighty tome is the first reprinting of the Batman: Mask of the Phantasm comics adaptation in over twenty years. Bafflingly, it was left out of the recent The Batman Adventures and Batman & Robin Adventures trade paperback collections. While not worth the price of admission alone, it definitely increases the attractiveness of the omnibus and makes the likely 'double-dipping' by a lot of consumers go down a little easier.
On top of including over 40 issues worth of comics, it also includes a nice helping of bonus extras. The gallery from The Batman Adventures #25 is shuffled to the back of the book, alongside a cover gallery for the first two original The Batman Adventures collections from back in the 1990s and a look at some of the special packaging and extras from a special edition of The Batman Adventures #7. There's also a new introduction by Kelley Puckett and a new foreword by Scott Peterson, but the intros from those first The Batman Adventures collections by Paul Dini (from vol. 1) and Bruce Timm (from vol. 2) are oddly not included here.
In terms of presentation, DC Comics has clearly put in some considerable work. The design and production value in here is second-to-none and ranks easily as one of the publisher's best omnibus releases to date (and fits nicely side-by-side with the Batman '66 Omnibus). The comics within have never looked cleaner, with colors and the overall reproduction quality bright and clear. Perhaps the only weak spot is the collection's cover (especially when there's gorgeous Mike Parobeck artwork just right under the dust jacket), but choosing to use such iconic Batman: The Animated Series image makes sense.
When it comes to the interior work, the team at DC Comics has done admirably to make sure the comics don't just look great, but are also given the proper presentation. There's no gutter loss to be found here, nor is any artwork obscured or lost in the spine. There's plenty of space, actually, which is a credit to the book's layout and overall design. Despite the hefty nature, which can make an omnibus like this hard to read, the designers made it - for lack of a better term - as "readable" as possible. Of course, there's also a table of contents breaking down all the material found within.
All told, The Batman Adventures Omnibus is a one of DC Comics' best collections of 2023 and is well-worth adding to your shelf. The $150US retail price is pretty high, and could dissuade some folks from purchasing, but that's unfortunately roughly the standard price for an omnibus nowadays. However, for nearly 1200 pages of some of the best Batman comics ever made, it's worth the cost and then some.
With page-after-page of strong writing, incredible artwork and some of the Dark Knight's coolest adventures put to print, The Batman Adventures Omnibus stands as one of DC Comics's most thoroughly enjoyable releases in the prestigious, oversized format to date. The unbridled quality of the material here can't be overstated and, whether new or a long-time reader of Batman's animated tie-in comic titles, it deserves to be enjoyed in the best format possible. The Batman Adventures remains one of the best Batman comics ever produced to this day, and DC Comics does it right by giving it the massive collection it deserves. Must Own!
Complete The Batman Adventures Omnibus Cover Design
The Batman Adventures Omnibus is now available to own from DC Comics.
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