Batman The Adventures Continue: Season Three #3 – Alan Burnett/Paul Dini, Writers; Ty Templeton, Artist; Monica Kubina, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: This has been the most interesting volume of this cartoon revival so far, and surprisingly one heavily focused on the villains. Original series artist Ty Templeton returns from a health sabbatical to draw a story focusing on Joker’s new #2 Straightman—a hulking brute with seemingly supernatural strength and absolutely no sense of humor. But a flashback shows that he wasn’t always a goon for hire—in fact, he was originally a highly honorable soldier who disobeyed orders to rescue his friend and superior officer from a no-win situation. While recovering, he was given an offer by Hugo Strange to take part in a new super-soldier program—only for it to go horribly wrong and turn him into the criminal heavy he is today. Joker continues to abuse him, to seemingly no affect, but Straightman is increasingly haunted by memories of his past life and the friend he left behind.
As Joker steps up the attacks in his return to Gotham, Batman gets involved—and finds that Straightman is stronger than ever. He’s only bailed out by the intervention of Task Force X and their handler Katana. The ersatz Suicide Squad now includes Muscle, the other original bruiser from this run, and Batman faces off against the whole crew before Amanda Waller gets involved. This is a story dealing much more with cloak-and-dagger spycraft than your average Batman story. The identity of a mysterious masked agent this issue isn’t a big surprise, but I’m liking how much more nuance the writing team is giving the villains lately. Straightman, much like Harley, may be another Joker henchman who’s as much a victim of the clown as a collaborator. I’m also a fan of seeing Barbara playing a bigger role as the hacker she’s destined to become. This arc is a bit of a slow burn, but it continues to be one of the best alternate-universe Batman comics at the moment.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.