The Batman Adventures: The Lost Years #3

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

So, what’s the story?

baly_03_cover The 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, adding others, and skipping some.

The story begins several months into Dick Grayson’s exodus from Gotham. He is traveling and performing with a group of South American martial artists. But he’s already planning on moving on to his next sought after lessons. He leaves the group, heading for Santo De La Rosa, where he hopes to find los Invisibales, the natives who have supposedly mastered the art of becoming invisible. He arrives during Festival, and makes use of the skull mask his previous “friends” gave him. Shortly after arriving, Dick spies Two-Face making a deal, presumably concerning the manufacture of drugs. Dick dons his skeleton costume, and follows Two-Face’s thugs. Shortly after arriving at the drug-making facility, Dick is discovered, and runs into the jungle. There he stumbles across los Invisibales, the tribe he was originally seeking. He manages to communicate his desire to learn from them, and they quickly accept him. Two-months later, Dick has learned more than any outside ever has, though he has not yet mastered the art of becoming invisible. He once again dons the skeleton costume, though this time with an added bird symbol across his chest. He returns to Two-Face’s factory, takes out the guards, and floods the product, rendering it useless. Two-Face escapes to Gotham, and Dick hits the road again. He soon finds himself on a steamer back to Asia. Finally, Bruce and Alfred reflect quietly on Dick’s leaving, one year after the fact.

Unlike the previous issues, this story is 100% original. There’s no parallel animated episode. In that sense, I enjoy the fact this story helps fill in the blank spots in the overall story. As for the story itself, I am less enthusiastic. Even for a comic book superhero tale, there are a lot of coincidences here. Dick just happens to see Two-Face thousands of miles from home. Dick just happens to stumble across the tribe he was seeking, and they reveal themselves to him and accept him with no questions. I would have preferred the tale without Two-Face through most of it, learning only at the end that he was the power behind the factory. And I’d like los Invisibales to have been more difficult to join. Still, the story served its purpose. Now we have an idea of where Dick was between his tenure as Robin and Nightwing.

How’s the Art?

A bit weak, I’m afraid. There’s no mistaking this is a DCAU book, but the art is borderline generic.

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?

A few version of Dick in native garb, and his skeleton costume. But even for me, that’s pretty obscure.

Is this issue worth my precious time?

Ultimately, yes.

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