By Dustin Cabeal
Looking at that cover, I’m sure more than a few people in their 30s and early 40s were like, fuck yeah, Batman The Animated Series as a comic book, but not that shitty one they did for kids back in the 90s. That’s what my thought was, minus the shitty comic part because I actually liked them. Then I opened it and quickly realized that it was The Adventures of Batman & Robin… Not Batman The Animated Series.
I watched both, don’t get me wrong, but I hated the way the Joker looked and the Robins. Even more so, I disliked how the villains were all treated comically rather than real threats. This is the first thing I’m pointing out because the Joker is a goddamn joke in this comic. No pun intended and that hurts me to say that.
The story is rather dull. Batman and Robin, sorry Nightwing… Like that’s better, have found the Joker’s hideout and everything the Joker is trying to use against them is blowing up in his face. Like actually blowing up in his face. It’s eventually revealed that Harley has sold him out due to being jealous of Batman. She doesn’t, however, get the Joker’s attention because his characterization sucks. Poison Ivy shows up; there’s a cheap pop from the audience, then the issue ends as quickly and as boring as it began.
I could have sworn that Ty Templeton wrote for this show. I would look it up, but I honestly don’t care, and it wouldn’t change my opinion. I’m writing based on what’s there, and what’s there is so pedestrian that even kids would be bored by this story. The Joker wants to stop a BBQ competition in Gotham… What the fuck? That shit might have flown back in the 90s, but seriously, who the hell does DC think is picking up this book? It’s not kids. It’s people in their 30s to 40s that grew up on the show and have nostalgia and money. Even if that is a throwback, it’s still just so dumb that it’s not even funny.
What’s greatly disappointing about the story is that it doesn’t realize it’s audience and even by 90s standards would be a bad “episode” of the show. Harley’s motivation makes sense, but the Joker not caring that his hideout has been found and that she betrayed him… Is just stupid. My only guess is that something has been done to him, but that still does improve the reading experience of this issue. I’m not giving credit based on what might be revealed, it was a struggle to read it here, and that’s all that counts in the end.
The art is another story. While it looks like the show above, it’s of low quality. The art looks rushed and uncared for in general. If just a tad more love had been put into it, then maybe it could have elevated the story or at the very least distracted from it. Instead, it makes everything glaringly clear and sours the palette. Any time multiple characters share a panel the art deteriorates. The main characters are shoddy the entire time, but there was one scene in which the cops were drawn quite well… It was baffling. The only characters that aren’t a disappointment are Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy… mostly.
There’s nothing to be excited about here. If you are, go ahead and tone that down, by a lot. Instead of a fun visit to childhood memories of watching Fox in the afternoons and then later WB Kids, but instead, it was like someone’s bad fan fiction turned into an actual fucking comic book. That only thing I can imagine is worse, is that this is a prequel to the upcoming animated movie of the same name… let’s be clear, my expectations for that film are now considerably lower.
Harley Quinn and Batman #1
Writer: Ty Templeton
Artist/Inker: Rick Burchett
Colorist: Keiren Smith
Letterer: Wes Abbott
Publisher: DC Comics