Monday, 21 June 2021

Batman: The Adventures Continue #16 - DC Comics

There’s debatably a strong sense of ‘padding’ to be found within Alan Burnett and Paul Dini’s script to Issue Sixteen of “Batman: The Adventures Continue”. For whilst the digital first comic provides an interesting insight into Bruce Wayne’s under-cover alter-ego Knute Brody, the vast majority of the publication simply focuses upon the present-swapping shenanigans taking place at Harley Quinn’s Christmas party, and the celebration’s subsequent sudden conclusion once it’s been gate-crashed by a somewhat irate Joker; “Straightman and I were chilling at the Ha-Ha-Hideaway when we heard you were in need of Yuletide cheer."

Such festive joyfulness is admittedly momentarily entertaining, as it provides the collaborative writing couple with plenty of opportunities to include a number cameos from the DC Universe, such as Penguin, the Carpenter, March Harriet, Baby Boom, the Mad Hatter and Scarecrow. But endless panel after endless panel depicting some of Gotham City’s less glamourous criminals drinking heartily, kissing under the mistletoe, and singing carol songs together soon starts to grate upon the senses, even if the audience knows that the Father Christmas recklessly mixing up everyone’s well-wrapped presents in the background is actually the Dark Knight himself.

To make matters worse though, this particular instalment to “Secret Santa” ends with the Joker revealing his grand scheme for revenge to be nothing more than to reunite Arnold Wesker with his wooden partner-in-crime Scarface. This ‘touching reintegration’ arguably made some semblance of sense whilst the Ventriloquist was visiting Quinzel’s social gathering, as presumably the Clown Prince of Crime was hoping to use the puppet master’s fragile psychological state to ruin his ex-girlfriend’s moment of merriment. However, with the shindig now silenced following Brody’s clever bluff that he “saw a bunch of cops pulling up outside ‘bout, oh, ten minutes ago”, it seems odd that the white-faced homicidal maniac would continue to stalk a bespectacled Wesker out onto the metropolis’ snowy streets.

Perhaps therefore this book’s sole guilty pleasure is studying some of Ty Templeton’s bar room-based scenes to spy just how many members of Batman’s almost limitless Rogues Gallery pay a visit to the Iceberg Lounge. Some bibliophiles might see this as an exercise in futility, however, there is undoubtedly a little fun to be had spotting the Clock King doing the rounds, Captain Boomerang propping up a countertop, and the identical cousins Tweedledum and Tweedledee giving the odd carol their vocal all whilst Jervis Tetch tinkles the ivories of a solitary piano.

Writers: Alan Burnett & Paul Dini, Artist: Ty Templeton, and Colorist Monica Kubina

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