Batman: The Audio Adventures #1 – Dennis McNicholas, Writer; Anthony Marques, Penciller; J. Bone, Inker; Dave Stewart, Colorist
Ray – 7.5/10
Ray: How do you translate an audio program into a visual medium? It’s a question that hasn’t been asked too often, and I imagine it’s tricky. Batman: The Audio Adventures is one of the most popular podcasts in the world, bringing a uniquely retro-noir version of Batman to life solely through description and dialogue. Of course, this comic-book side story has the advantage of visuals, and its Gotham looks to me like a slightly darker version of Batman ‘66. It has the same campy aesthetic, but this is a world where the violence and consequences are very real. It opens with Harleen Quinzel visiting Gotham, getting caught a little too close to Joker, and getting tossed in the acid to emerge obsessed with her would-be killer. And at the same time, Killer Croc encounters a strange little doll in the sewer that seems to have an odd psychological hold on him. These segments are nice and creepy, but sort of lacking context.
My favorite part of the podcast is that it uses new villains alongside classics, much like the old TV series did. One of the best is King Scimitar, an immigrant who built himself up from henchman to crime boss to legend—only to eventually run into Batman and get himself sent to prison, as villains do. Now his legacy is up for grabs, and a shady used car salesman-type has decided to cash in on it—only to run up against a powerful cult dedicated to the sword. It’s not even the only powerful cult this issue. So clearly, this is a very busy comic in only twenty pages, and the story often feels rather scattered. It has the aesthetic down pat, but with Batman only appearing in a few pages of the first issue, it doesn’t feel like it has much of a focus. I wonder if this is part of the transition between mediums—it’s very dialogue-heavy so far, and many scenes feel as if they were lifted straight from a podcast.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.