Batman: Gotham Adventures
by Ty Templeton, Rick Burchett
(DC Comics, 2000)

At 37 years of age, I still like "kid stuff." I stroll through the toys at department stores (sometimes even before I hit the electronics department). I spy some of the new cartoons that make it to television. And, some of those new DVD sets (classic Looney Tunes, Flinstones and Johnny Quest, just to name a few) are must-haves. Is it any wonder that I enjoy, and, perhaps, prefer, all-ages-friendly comics?

Probably not. Case-in-point: Batman: Gotham Adventures, which follows in the tradition of the multiple Batman Adventures comics series and the animated television program, which birthed it all.

Don't let the "Kids WB" logo fool you; what we have here is Batman at his finest. At least, as fine as anyone has captured the "total" character. Dark and brooding, and quite single-minded when it comes to his war on crime, yet, also the reluctant, devoted ward of at least one young partner (Robin), perhaps two (Batgirl). This particular tome solidifies the "updated" version of the Batman Family to the Batman Adventures universe, with a grown-up Dick Grayson, formerly Robin, as Nightwing, and a new, younger Robin, Tim Drake.

It also reminds us what great villains the hero has in the Joker, the Riddler, Two-Face and Mr. Freeze, while casting Catwoman in more of an anti-heroine light. Two-Face, a.k.a. Harvey Dent, even gets a little added depth though additional background information concerning his father. This wonderful characterization is thanks to writer Ty Templeton.

Another large part of what makes this series fun is the energetic and dramatic-yet-"cartoony" art of Rick Burchett. There's a lot to be said for a style that can attract children and adults alike, as Rick's does. If only there were more of it out there!

Batman: Gotham Adventures is recommended for all ages. So, let your child, as well as your inner child, read it.

- Rambles
written by Mark Allen
published 9 April 2005

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