Batman Adventures #34

Story by Kelly Puckett
Penciled by Mike Parobeck
Inked by Rick Burchett
Colored by Rick Taylor

So, what’s the story?

ba1_34_cover The story opens with Professor Hugo Strange experiencing a debilitating headache. He awakes with an idea of some sort. Meanwhile, Catwoman has lured Batman to a “dinner.” He declines. Later, Strange is building a scientific machine of some sort. His ex-wife arrives, and informs him she will no longer cover his overdrafts from the bank. After some terse words, he seems to have another idea. He assures her he’ll have the money to her. He then startles her by asking her to “say hello to David.” As act II opens, Batman catches Catwoman in the middle of robbery. Suddenyl, and without explanation, he’s on the floor of a bank as Strange escapes with a bag of money. When he and Alfred review the security tapes, Batman realizes he has an alarming lapse in his memory. Strange, meanwhile is experimenting on his project, and decides he needs a higher quality if diamond. He steals it from a museum, just as Catwoman is casing the place as Selina Kyle. She learns where Strange is headed, just as Batman comes to the same conclusion via detective work. Batman and Catwoman both arrive at Strange’s lab. In the impending struggle, Batman is hit with a strange beam that knocks him unconscious. Catwoman carries him away.  Strange stumbles out into the New Year’s Eve streets, and appears to relive a tragic memory of someone getting shot.

This is a weird beginning to a weird, three-part story. I’ve read this many times over the years. There are parts that I really like, and other parts I just can’t make work. I have a hard time with Strange as the lead antagonist. Many of his actions are tied to him having a family, and that seems out of character. The pacing also feels off to me. Maybe that’s a result of it being a three-parter. I appreciate wanting to send the series out with a bang, but I think this needed more polish.

How’s the Art?

Parobeck returns, but it’s hardly his strongest issue. There’s nothing overtly wrong, it just seems to lack some of usual energy. Catwoman’s eyes do seem strangely far apart, though.

Any continuity issues?

This could happen anytime between “the Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne” and “Bane.”

Anything of interest to customizers or cosplayers?

Hugo Strange and Selina Kyle always make for fun customs.

Is this issue worth my precious time?


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