The Batman Adventures: The Lost Years #1

Story by Hillary J. Bader
Penciled by Bo Hampton
Inked by Terry Beatty
Colored by Lee Loughridge

So, what’s the story?

baly_01_coverThe Batman Adventures: The Lost Years was a five issue miniseries designed to bridge the gap between the screen adventures of Batman the Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures. It revisits several episodes, expanding some scenes, added others, and skipping some.

The story begins with Batman and Robin waiting for a gang of babnk robbers to appear in the sewers. Robin questions Batman as to how he knows the gang will use the sewer route. Ultimately, the gang does appear, and a fight ensues. Robin continues to question Batman’s conclusions, and is almost taken out by a goon. Luckily, Batgirl appears, and saves Robin at the last minute. After the fight, Batman comments to Batgirl that she often leaves her right side open. As she leaves, Batman and Robin exchange tense words.

Later, Barbara Gordon is at Wayne Manor playing tennis with Dick Grayson. Clearly, they have become an item during their time at college. She wins the match, and then takes on Bruce. He wins the round, and comments that she leaves herself open on the right. The next day, Dick is graduating from college. Barbara and Alfred are in attendance, but Bruce is missing. (We know from the episode he was having “car trouble.”) Afterwards, Barbara and Dick are on a date. Dick leaves suddenly when he called away by Batman. Barbara returns to her car angry, but soon hears of a break-in on the police radio. Fortunately, she has her costume at hand.

Across town, Batman and Robin break up Joker and his gang as they try to steal a radar disrupter. (We know from the episode Batman gets trapped under rubble.) As Joker and his gang get away, they leave their hired help behind. He runs back home, but is tailed by Robin. The Boy Wonder corners the thug, named Conner, in his home. Conner’s wife and child are present. Batman breaks through the glass and threatens Conner, wanting to know where the Joker is. Robin realizes Batman has crossed a line in threatening violence in front of a child, and leaves in disgust. Batgirl is just outside, and calls to Robin, but he is already gone. She asks Batman what is wrong between them, but he doesn’t know. Together they wait, expecting more trouble. When thugs show up, Batman and Batgirl quickly bring them down. Batman comments that she obviously listened to him about leaving her right side open, and she responds that she doesn’t have to be told a third time.

Later, Barbara arrives at Wayne Manor again. She tells Bruce that Dick is very upset. (We know from the episode that Dick had previously visited Barbara, but could not bring himself to tell her the truth.) Bruce can see that Barbara genuinely cares for Dick, so he makes a decision. He takes her down to the Batcave, exposing his identity and Dick’s. And then he tells her he knows she is Batgirl.

This whole series is a fun read for fans of the animated series. In expanding scenes, it really helps unify the full story into a cohesive whole. This first issue takes material from the first half of the episode Old Wounds, but adds a great deal. For example, we get to see how Batman deciphers Batgirl’s identity, and we see more scenes of the tension between Batman and Robin. Whoever thought of this series was very clever, and I thank you!

How’s the Art?

Not bad. Some pages are stronger than others. Unlike Old Wounds, this is clearly set in the style of BTAS (We’ll transition to TNBA by the end of the series.) There’s a panel on page 17 of Batgirl that is clearly channeling Mike Parobeck. It’s gorgeous!

Any continuity issues?

The whole point of this series is to fix continuity! So no, we’re good here.

Anything of interest to customizers or cosplayers?

Not much beyond the basic Batman, Robin, and Batgirl.

Is this issue worth my precious time?


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