Months after the show’s untimely end, Beware the Batman: Volume One collects the first six issues of the comic book tie-in to the show, as well as the Free Comic Book Day short story.
This short-lived comic series tries its best to recreate the tone and atmosphere of the series, featuring foes that have never been featured before in animation, such as Anarky, Professor Pyg, Mister Toad, and Tobias Whale. The FCBD story and the first couple of issues struggle with that purpose, due to continuity errors and out-of-character dialogue and motivations. However, this does not devalue the stories themselves. The first issue, in particular, has a portrayal of Anarky that is more sympathetic and closer to the comics than the maniac seen in the show, and deals with modern activism and protest with skillful writing by Ivan Cohen, who ends up writing for the show itself.
As the issues go on, however, these few nitpicks are gone, with closer attention to continuity and more experimental storytelling, such as the last issue by Matthew Manning, which takes place exclusively from Alfred’s POV. There is even a Katana-focused issue written by her creator, Mike W. Barr. Due to the show’s erratic schedule, the comic would unintentionally foreshadow some of the show’s upcoming characters, such as Marion Grange, Man-Bat, Oracle, and Killer Croc. This makes the inclusion of a young street urchin that heavily resembles Jason Todd rather interesting, and raises the question of whether the future Robin would have ended up being on the show itself.
Luciano Vecchio and Dario Brizuela provide the art for the issues. While Brizuela’s art is great on its own, it does not convey the show’s art style as well as Vecchio’s, which evolves as the issues go on. Some of the most creative use of the art includes Alfred’s perspective in the final issue and the use of water bubbles to convey the sound effects of an underwater fight scene or Whale’s chuckle.
All in all, this release’s six-issues do an admirable job at extending the adventures of the television series, overcoming story hiccups earlier on. Strong read for fans of the show of all ages.
What did you think of this release? Any favorite issues or stories? Do you think that child was intended to be Jason Todd?
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