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The World's Finest Reviews Batman: The Adventures Continue - Season Three

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Continue below for The World's Finest review of Batman: The Adventures Continue - Season Three, the trade paperback release collecting the 2023 mini-series of the same name based on Batman: The Animated Series.

BATMAN: THE ADVENTURES CONTINUE - SEASON THREE

Written by: Alan Burnett and Paul Dini
Art by: Ty Templeton, Jordan Gibson, Jacob Edgar, and Kevin Altieri
Cover by: Kevin Nowlan
The Story: When all of Gotham's major super-villains are behind bars, does Batman's mission finally end? Fear not, the World's Greatest Detective still has his hands full protecting the Muscle from retribution and pondering the return of his high school sweetheart...who also happens to be Harley Quinn's college girlfriend?! Then, when Ra's al Ghul and his daughter, Talia, show up with a proposition, Bruce must determine what Batman's future will be! Alan Burnett and Paul Dini return one final time to the world of Batman: The Animated Series for a finale over 30 years in the making! Collects Batman: The Adventures Continue - Season Three #1-8.
Format: Collected Edition, Trade Paperback
Print/Digital Edition Release Date: February 13, 2024
Cover Price: $19.99


Batman: The Adventures Continue - Season Three Cover Gallery


Batman: The Adventures Continue - Season Three
Review by James Harvey

It's the third and final season of Batman: The Adventures Continue, and writers Paul Dini and Alan Burnett return to deliver one last jaunt around the beloved world of Batman: The Animated Series. But much like Season Two, a bevy of continuity problems and inconsistent character writing throughout, along with some peculiar plotting, makes Season Three a bit of a mixed bag overall. There are plenty of interesting and neat ideas to be found here, but they're marred by occasionally baffling creative choices which dampen what could've been a properly epic final animated adventure for Batman and his Gotham Knights.

Batman: The Adventures Continue - Season Three finds all of Gotham's major super-villains behind bars, but Batman still has his hands full protecting the Muscle from retribution and pondering the return of his high school sweetheart - who happens to have a surprising connection to Harley Quinn! This all leads up to the return of Ra's al Ghul and his daughter, Talia, who show up with a proposition that makes Batman question his future as The Dark Knight!

As with previous seasons, Batman: The Adventures Continue - Season Three tries to push the world of Batman: The Animated Series in some pretty interesting directions. Batman's war on crime looks to be successful, despite still having some business to take care of with Muscle and The Joker (and company), and he finds himself unsure of his next step. There's clear efforts made here to wrap up a few loose ends and deliver a clear final chapter for this iteration of Gotham City, but the story gets bogged down by an iffy execution of ideas.

Please note this review does contain minor spoilers.

The third season of Batman: The Adventures Continue kicks off with the return of Muscle and a peak into Harley Quinn's past before launching into two three-part tales spotlighting the surprisingly-involved history of Joker henchman Straightman and featuring the return of Ra's Ghul. Burnett and Dini definitely have a goal in mind on how they want this final season to play out and, admittedly, there is an underlying sense of tension throughout most of the season; that it's all leading somewhere. The duo manage to throw in a few big surprises along the way, too, making this arguably the most eventful season of Batman: The Adventures Continue yet.

Much like seasons One and Two, the end result for Batman: The Adventures Continue - Season Three leans fairly positive but it's still a bit of a mixed bag. While the opening one-issue tales focused on Muscle and Harley Quinn kick off the season on a pretty strong note, the following two three-part tales unfortunately stumble due to some questionable character work and clunky, continuity-breaking reveals. There are a lot of neat and fun ideas sprinkled throughout the season, but the delivery just doesn't hit the mark most of the time.

The first two issues, "Muscle" and "Old Flames," both deliver mostly self-contained tales and do a great job of bringing back those Batman: The Animated Series vibes. "Muscle" offers up a sort-of redemption tale with Muscle, who's forced to team-up with Batman after finding himself in the crosshairs of his former criminal underworld employers. While the story doesn't dive as deep into Muscle's background as it should, it's still a pretty solid issue elevated by the incredible artwork of Jordan Gibson. His style blends the atmosphere of Batman: The Animated Series and the sleek The New Batman Adventures designs to near-perfection.

"Old Flames," on the other hand, offers up a similarly good story that unfortunately is hampered by underwhelming art. Invoking Batman: The Animated Series episodes like "Harley's Holiday" and "Harlequinade" with it's more comedic tone, Batman discovers his old girlfriend also dated Harley Quinn and finds herself again square in the romantic sites of the Maid of Mischief! It's a frequently funny look into a different part of Harley's past, even though it can't quite hit the same humorous heights of those classic episodes. And despite it being a treat to see new artwork from BTAS alum Kevin Altieri, his work here is disappointingly off-model and rough.

From there, Batman: The Adventures Continue - Season Three moves on to its two major multi-part arcs, one diving into the origins of Straightman and the other bringing back Ra's Al Ghul. "Crack-Up!" serves up some of the season's biggest surprises, even if an underwhelming conclusion and the overwhelming amount of continuity problems stop the three-parter from sticking the landing. While Straightman and The Joker are front-and-center, and fittingly so since this arc dives into henchman's backstory, we're also treated to appearances by quite a few characters who kinda shouldn't be there.



Batman: The Adventures Continue - Season Three Hayden Sherman Variant Cover Gallery

The Suicide Squad play a significant part in this arc, but their role flies in the face of both DCAU continuity and how they and Amanda Waller are portrayed in Justice League Unlimited. Harley Quinn's appearances here also goes against where her character's roughly established to be at this time in the universe, as the arc does some significant bending to fit her into Task Force X, but it really, really doesn't work. For fans who've stuck to just Batman: The Animated Series, this might not cause too many raised eyebrows, but for those who've dived into the greater DCAU these are pretty blatant and unfortunately distracting missteps.

And this all leads to "The Offer," which wisely brings back Ra's Al Ghul to close off the season but wastes him with a jumbled story. Still, after "Muscle," this is one of the better tales from Season Three. There's a lot to like with this arc, especially with the first two parts working so well and presenting some legitimately neat ideas and twists (with the Talons and Batman's rogues, for two), but it eventually comes apart as the rushed ending jams the brakes a little too fast (though that's partially the result of a lightly-plotted middle chapter).

Also working against this arc is that for a story billed as "30 years in the making," well, it feels like anything but. The story itself, an apparently-legit Ra's makes an offer that catches Batman's interest, but its overall message of "true family" kinda falls apart when some of the biggest members of the Bat-Family, like Nightwing, are nowhere to be seen. And while the last issue using the basic plot frame of the final Justice League Unlimited episode - heroes and foes team-up to stop an even badder foe, etc. - is a nice nod, it also creates a finale that feels crunched and somewhat old hat. There is a clear effort to give the arc a feeling of finality, but the end result rings a little hollow.

Burnett and Dini's work in Season Three is perhaps their best overall for Batman: The Adventures Continue, but this final volume still suffers from what dogged Season One and Two. Character voices and actions frequently ring false, and continuity seems to be of no real concern (you basically have to ignore nearly every post-BTAS show to make it all work). And that's baffling as this book is clearly tailored to long-time fans, and that same audience will clearly spot and have issues with this. The comic is not without some great beats, such as the hilariously combative relationship between Catwoman and Talia, but that doesn't make up for the countless confounding creative choices made by the writers.

While the writing may disappoint a shade more than satisfy, the opposite can be said when it comes to the artwork. Gibson serves up gold right out of the gate and, though Altieri's stint in issue #2 is more messy than marvelous, the artwork by BTAC alum Ty Templeton and newcomer Jacob Edgar perfectly carry the torch to the end. With this volume, Gibson continues to blow away expectations, Templeton remains the reliable pro (his cover to issue #8 is brilliant), and Edgar is an awesome addition to the creative team. Ideally Season Three won't be the last we see of Edgar, Gibson or Templeton's work, be it comics set in the DC Animated Universe or elsewhere.

For those snapping up Batman: The Adventures Continue - Season Three in trade paperback form, and not the monthly single issues, it's a good collection that's a little light in bonus content in comparison to Season One and Season Two. While the one-page tributes to the late Kevin Conroy and Arleen Sorkin are thankfully included, there's no real behind-the-scenes content like in One and Two, just an extended cover gallery. It's a minor bummer, but a bummer nevertheless.

Batman: The Adventures Continue - Season Three, all things considered, is yet another bumpy jaunt around Gotham City that suffers from the same myriad of problems that hampered the first two seasons. Even so, it's able to hit a few more high notes and ends up the more enjoyable (though flawed) excursion among the three.The art truly pops off nearly every page, thanks in part colorist Monica Kubina's stunning work, and vividly brings this beloved animated world back to life (despite its rough quality, the same can pretty much be said about Altieri's work). Whenever the writing falters, the art swoops in for the save each time.

Even though Batman: The Adventures Continue could never quite recapture that Batman: The Animated Series magic, it's still an admirable effort despite the same irritating creative bumbles afflicting each and every season. Batman: The Adventures Continue - Season Three wraps the series up the best it can here, and does toss in some pretty cool ideas and twists along the way, but the predictably uneven execution that's dogged each season remains in full swing here. Batman: The Animated Series readers will probably enjoy this last sprint through the mean streets of Gotham City, for the most part, but just expect the usual bumps along the way. Recommended, but with reservations.



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