The Batman of The Animated Series returns, sort of. It's animated Batman, only not animated. This brand new series picks up after The New Batman Adventures ended, in the years preceding the detective's retirement. While this version of the Batman is starting to show his age, it won't take readers long at all to settle back into the groove.
Part one of its debut story pits Batman against Bane, a marauding robot and Lex Luthor, all in fairly short order. Luthor is up to something, Superman is missing and a mysterious youth watches Batman from the shadows. Writers Paul Dini and Alan Burnett tease plenty, but the issue feels like it's over as soon as it has begun. The Animated Series and tie-in Batman Adventures were masters at spinning whole, complete stories squeezed into 20 minute episodes or one-shot comics, so it's disconcerting that this one should feel so decompressed.
But this is Animated Series Batman to its core. Kevin Conroy's voice reverberates as one reads Dini and Burnett's dialogue, and the art by Ty Templeton (with colours from Monica Kubina) is almost spot on. It's not as good as that of The Batman Adventures, and the action is somewhat clunky, but the character designs (particularly Luthor, Alfred and Wayne, out of the cowl) are perfectly done.
The Adventures Continue is a fluffy, slightly-too-light work of nostalgia bait, but it gets the job done. Wherever this series takes its Batman, it's good to have its take on the big man back; re-animated, but not really.