The Batman Adventures was the official tie-in comic of Batman: The Animated Series. It started in October, 1992 and was re-launched several times to match the various retoolings of the TV series, becoming successively The Batman and Robin Adventures, Batman: Gotham Adventures, and finally Batman Adventures (this last in the style of the Justice League TV series). Lasting to 2004.Being a printed work, it was much less hampered by censorship (so that, for example, Batman could actually be shown outright punching criminals, whereas the TV series turned him more into a Combat Pragmatist). And just as the animated series had introduced viewers to Harley Quinn, Lock-Up, and sundry other original characters, The Batman Adventures gave us the thrillseeker Roxy Rocket and a trio of bumbling, lovable villains in Mastermind, Mr. Nice, and the Professor (or "Perfesser").There were also a number of special issues, such as an adaptation of SubZero, the Eisner Award winning Mad Love, which detailed Harley Quinn's origin for the first time, and the miniseries The Lost Years, which detailed the events that occurred during the three-year Time Skip between The Adventures of Batman & Robin and The New Batman Adventures. Mad Love was later adapted as an episode of The New Batman Adventures.The various series were a critical and fan favorite, especially given their relatively light and simple, yet engaging artwork and plots while The Dark Age of Comic Books was in full swing. The book was still going strong, both a critical and financial success, when it was canceled to make way for The Batman Strikes!, the official tie-in comic of The Batman, a new, unrelated Batman animated series.It is unrelated to DC's year-long official webcomic Batman: Shadow of Sin Tzu, a prequel to the Batman: The Animated Series video game spin-off Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu.The Batman Adventures, in its various incarnations, provides examples of:
Aborted Arc: The Red Hood is introduced as the Man Behind the Man to the False-Face Society...and then that arc is completely dropped, never to be heard from again. At least the Penguin as mayor of Gotham arc got a resolution.
Actually a Doombot: One of the last issues of Batman Adventures applied this retcon to a character whose appearance and power set were significantly changed between Batman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures; the issue ends with the two versions of the character meeting, and a reveal that the BTAS version is the real one and the TNBA version is a Doombot (or, more precisely, one of Poison Ivy's plant-clone-creatures which she'd left to fill in for her when she quit town).
Adaptation Expansion: Lost Years is an expanded adaptation of The New Batman Adventures episodes "Old Wounds" and "Sins of the Father", turning both episodes into one longer story arc and adding scenes that expand on Dick's ideological differences to Batman and a trip to South America and Asia as part of his origin as Nightwing, as well as scenes that make Tim more similar to his comics counterpart by showing him to be a Batman fan who spies on him with binoculars.
A few of the rogue's darker origins that couldn't be expanded on in the series were put in the comic format, such as Two-Face's abusive childhood.
Ancient Grome: In-Universe example in Gotham Adventures #34. Maxie Zeus kidnaps a team of Hollywood set designers; inspired by an obvious GladiatorExpy film they made, his goal is to have them rebuild Rome.
Appeal to Nature: In Gotham Adventures, one issue features an "all-natural" breakfast cereal that is taking Gotham by storm. Turns out that it's just so packed with organic, untreated plant matter that Poison Ivy can control anyone who eats enough of it.
Canon Immigrant: Roxy Rocket started out in The Batman Adventures, graduated to the animated series, and then appeared in the original comics.
Chalk Outline: In The Batman Adventures #6. When Batman knocks out the murderer, he lands sprawled out on the outline.
Charles Atlas Superpower: In The Batman Adventures #6, it was a plot point that Bruce Wayne is capable of an unassisted ten-foot vertical jump. The world record is four.
Chronic Villainy: Subverted. The reformed Riddler struggles with his compulsions, and begins to leave riddles for Batman — without doing anything illegal. Batman manages to stop him before he begins to commit crimes again by giving him a mystery to solve.
Continuity Nod: Numerous examples; it often feels like the comic has more continuity than the animated series. For example, in Gotham Adventures #5, Batgirl hurts her leg. In the next issue, which details the origin of Deadman, Barbara is shown with crutches and bandages on her leg. The next issue mentions the murder case of Boston Brand (Deadman).
The Batman Adventures #25 features guest appearances from mullet Superman and beard-and-full-head-of-hair Lex Luthor, with Batman and Superman already knowing each other and having a professional relationship free of animosity. While the character designs are obviously meant to reflect the state of affairs in the main comics at the time, Superman: The Animated Series went with the more iconic clean-cut Superman and Bald of Evil Luthor, and Batman and Superman don't meet until World's Finest, where they develop a strained relationship.
The Batman & Robin Adventures #16 features Thomas Blake (Catman), a muscular blond man and a former big-game hunter who admires Catwoman from afar and decides to become a copycat criminal. Blake would later appear in The New Batman Adventures without the Catman identity and with a completely different character design (more slender, with dark hair) and background (the leader of a cat cult).
The Batman & Robin Adventures #19 features the origin of Helena Bertinelli, the Huntress: her family is killed by agents from five other mafia families during her adulthood; Helena decides to don a costume to take down the Bertinelli family's various criminal operations. The origin shown when the Huntress debuts in Justice League Unlimited has the Bertinellis killed during Helena's childhood on the orders of one man, Steven Mandragora, and her main goal upon becoming the Huntress is to kill Mandragora.
The Corpse Stops Here: The Batman Adventures #6 begins with Bruce Wayne found standing over a fresh corpse.
Creator Cameo: In Gotham Adventures #58, minor characters that resemble Dan Slott and James Fry (the writer and artist of the story) appear.
Criminal Amnesiac: "Catman", actually Batman rendered amnesic by Hugo Strange and duped into being Catwoman's partner in crime, in an issue of The Batman Adventures.
Darker and Edgier: Believe it or not. Though still leagues less violent than the regular comic book (especially at the time the series started, when The Dark Age of Comic Books was in full swing), the more relaxed standards of printed comics let the writers get away with much more than they would have in the cartoon. Some of the violence can actually be pretty cringe-inducing (like the Joker hitting a man with all his might using a mallet on the back of the head, which can kill a regular man instantly), and there's also many instances of Getting Crap Past the Radar. Adult readers will be surprised.
Decoy Damsel: The Catwoman successfully used this ploy on Batman in her very first appearance in the comic (issue #2). At the behest of The Joker, she steals the Crown Jewels of London. Batman chases her across London's rooftops, finally cornering her atop the Big Ben clock tower. Catwoman, realizing that there's no easy way to escape, pretends to attack Batman but then "accidentally" falls off the tower ledge, hanging on for dear life from one of the clock's giant hands and begging Batman to save her. He does so... whereupon she shouts "SUCKER!" and clocks him in the jaw, knocking him off the ledge and nearly killing him. Batman survives - and saves the Crown Jewels in the bargain - but then he is forced to watch in frustration as Catwoman makes a clean getaway, in what would prove to be one of many, manyKarma Houdinis for her. (This issue was also notable for showing the normally non-homicidal Catwoman nearing killing Batman, even if it was just part of a mean-spirited prank.)
Destined Bystander: Eel O'Brien plays a supporting role in the Black Mask arc of the last Batman Adventures series, but the series was canceled before it could built up to his becoming Plastic Man.
Don't Explain the Joke: Joker gets annoyed when Harley explains a joke trap she set up, although it's implied he wouldn't accept it anyway.
Dramatic Unmask: In The Batman Adventures #3, the Joker catches Batman and rips off his mask on live television, to reveal District Attorney Harvey Dent, who had been pretending to be Batman while Batman was pretending to be him.
Dying Clue: In The Batman Adventures #6, the dying man whispers "Rose..." What he wanted to say, but didn't have the energy, was "The rosewood grandfather clock conceals a secret passage, and that's how the killer got in and out." It would have been much less cryptic if he'd skipped the adjectives and just said "the clock".
Eenie, Meenie, Miny Moai: An issue of Batman Adventures had Batman fighting Ra's al Ghul in a secret underground base on Easter Island. The base was under a field of head-and-neck moai, and when the action moved underground it was revealed that they had proportionally large bodies which formed the pillars supporting the roof of the secret base.
Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Poison Ivy has a few instances, notably in Gotham Adventures #53, when Ivy assumes Batman is threatening the Amazon rainforest to get her to cooperate. He later tells Robin that he never even told her he was going to do anything; she just assumed that he would go to the same extreme lengths she would to get what he wanted.
False Reassurance: In The Batman Adventures #6, the true murderer is the one who'd told Dick "I'm the last person you have to convince Bruce is innocent."
Flanderization: When the Mastermind, Mr. Nice, and the Professor first appeared, they were depicted as normal (well, normal for Gotham, anyway) criminals hatching fairly routine criminal plots (smuggling, hijacking, and burglary, respectively). But in future issues their traits were wildly exaggerated: Mastermind's ego mounted to godlike proportions; Mr. Nice went from someone who was merely Badass Normal to "killing machine able to fight off entire armies of soldiers" (and in fact the writers had to lampshade this and come up with a pseudo-scientific explanation for it after a reader pointed out how ridiculous it was in the letters column); and the Professor, formerly just a smug intellectual wannabe, became almost literally a walking encyclopedia who knew everything about everything. Their crime capers (they teamed up twice) also got increasingly outlandish and even cartoonish, until they were behaving more like characters in a 1960s Disney family comedy than like Batman villains.
Flashback Nightmare: The Scarecrow has one in The Batman Adventures #5, showing how he came to his current scheme.
For the Evulz: In one issue Harvey Dent, the criminal Two-Face, has reformed and is starting a romance with his lawyer Grace Lamont. Joker hints to Harvey that Lamont is dating Harvey's friend Bruce Wayne, and is just seeing Harvey out of pity. Then he gets his assistant Harley Quinn to leak to a newspaper that Lamont is planning to marry Bruce, and delivers the newspaper to Harvey. One breakdown, jailbreak, attempted murder, and broken heart later, Batman asks the Joker why he caused such a horrible disaster. He said he did it because it was Tuesday.
Hypocrite: In the TV show, Poison Ivy advocates the causes of environmentalism and feminism, but those are only excuses to display her real sadistic urges of control and manipulation. Then we have a refreshing inversion at "Batman and Robin Adventures" # 24, "Touch of Death", where Poison Ivy rescues a Brazilian boy who is a Poisonous Person from a Government Conspiracy and brings him back to his home. She claims it is because she wants to manipulate the boy, sincerely unaware that she Wouldn't Hurt a Child, not even claiming Even Evil Has Standards nor I Was Just Passing Through.
It's a Wonderful Plot: In Gotham Adventures #33, The Phantom Stranger shows Bruce what life would be like if his parents survived and he never became Batman. (In short: he, Selina and his family live very happy lives, but Dick, Tim and everyone in Gotham... straight down the crapper.)
Joker Immunity: Deconstructed in "Laughter After Midnight", a story by Paul Dini in The Batman Adventures Annual #1. It begins with the Joker falling out of a police blimp after a climactic fight with Batman. First he survives by falling into a park's lake (and even says "Don't worry, I'm all right"). Understandably angry that his archenemy threw him from a blimp, he begins a massacre of Gotham's midnight denizens while buying donuts and a paper. He asks Harley to pick him up, but the police are with her. Then a Red Shirt patrolman tries to arrest him and the Joker steals his patrol car. The comic ends in an eerie scene with the Joker trying to get home.
The Joker: I wonder whose home it's gonna be?
Love Triangle: Several issues of Gotham and Batman Adventures (the first by Ty Templeton, the latter two by Jason Hall) explore one involving Mr. Freeze, his ex wife Nora, and her new husband Dr. D'Anjeou.
The Man Behind the Man: In the "Shadows and Masks" story arc of Batman Adventures, Batman brings down the mob boss Black Mask, but it turns out at the end that Black Mask was actually an underling and front for somebody else.
Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The Batman & Robin Adventures Annual #2 demonstrates Zatara and Zatanna using what is ambiguously presented as actual magic, instead of the simple stage illusions they use in Batman: The Animated Series.
The Mentally Disturbed: One strength these comics have over the animated series is their tendency to portray the various Arkham inmates as people who are sick and have the possibility of rehabilitation. While the cartoon did apply this to a few of the rogues (most notably Harvey Dent, Victor Fries, and Harleen Quinzel), the rest were for the most part portrayed as simply evil.
My Rule-Fu Is Stronger Than Yours: There's a story arc in Batman Adventures where the new mayor (Oswald "The Penguin" Cobblepot) has declared Batman an outlaw and ordered the police to arrest him on sight. Commissioner Gordon continues as normal except that he closes his eyes or looks the other way when he's talking to Batman.
Mythology Gag: In Batman Adventures #10, Catwoman's closet is shown to have not only her BTAS and TNBA costumes, but the caped Silver Age version and goggled modern version as well.
Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Harley came this close to killing Batman, until he got her to bring the Joker in, who then effectively ruins the deathtrap (which Batman had counted on).
Oblivious to Love: In Gotham Adventures #24, Catwoman sets up an elaborate scheme just for a chance to try and reconcile with Batman following the incident described under All There in the Manual/We Used to Be Friends. He seems confused and just tries to arrest her. When Batgirl explains the situation to him later, he still seems to have literally no idea what Catwoman was getting at.
Origins Episode: The Lost Years serves as one for Dick as Nightwing and Tim as Robin.
Perp Sweating: Detective Bullock attempts to sweat a wrongly-accused Bruce Wayne in The Batman Adventures #6.
Placebo Effect: Or rather, nocebo effect. In one issue, the Scarecrow claims on television that he's infected all of Gotham with fear toxin. Mass panic ensues even though he only really gassed the people in the building he was broadcasting from, and doesn't stop until Batman gets his confession on camera.
Properly Paranoid: In Batman & Robin Adventures #13, Batman is practically insane with paranoia after a particularly bad dose of fear gas, to the point of refusing what he thinks could be poisoned food from Alfred, and keeps himself awake for days on end to figure out the Scarecrow's latest scheme—which he gets correct, down to the letter.
Going Straight:Framing Device where Batman investigates Roxy Rocket, a criminal escape artist that Batman was sure was reformed, but who seems to have come back to crime. Roxy claims to be framed and demands to Clear My Name.
Recursive Adaptation: A comic based on a TV series based on a comic. And occasionally, the animated series would adapt issues of this comic.
Revenge: Much like Batman, one issues shows how Joe Chill also obsesses over the deaths of Thomas and Martha Wayne. Not learning their identities until later, Chill spends the rest of his life living in utter terror of someone as rich and powerful as Bruce Wayne taking bloody vengeance on him for killing his parents, to the point where he starts hallucinating Bruce Wayne appearing everywhere. Ultimately, when Batman is unmasked while trying to rescue Chill, who's dangling from a balcony railing, the latter freaks out and falls to his death. Bruce is left utterly baffled as to what just happened, as he hadn't recognized Chill.
In Gotham Adventures #10, Harley Quinn checks into a hotel under the pseudonym Elise Archer. Also, one of the other writers hiding out there is "Mr. Rushdie."
An issue of Gotham Adventures features ice-9, although it's never actually named.
"Study Hall," a Scarecrow-centric story, contains multiple further references to Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." The Jerk Jock is named Bromley after Brom Bones, and Jonathan Crane's alias as an English professor is Irving Diedrich.
Small Name, Big Ego: In the very first issue, the Penguin asks his henchmen to share a new word they have learned ("because being a criminal doesn't mean being dumb"). This patronizing attitude backfires on him because the Penguin doesn't know what a word means, so he lies to them and makes it up. One of henchmen dared to complain... And in Batman Adventures Vol 2, a subplot for issues 1 to 13 was the Penguin winning Gotham’s election for Mayor... but Batman discovers that it was another revenge scheme by the Clock King to ruin (ex) Mayor Hill’s life. The Penguin really believed that the people liked him and had elected him (he actually came in sixth). Then we have this resignation speech:
Something Completely Different: In their third appearance in the comic, the Mastermind, Mr. Nice, and the Professor get involved in a Zany Scheme to find a giant pearl that seems more like something out of a screwball comedy than an action-adventure comic book. Batman barely even appears!
Story Arc: There are several short arcs of two or three issues. Batman Adventures also has Masks and Shadows, which featured the False-Face Society (and ended up aborted) and the arc of the Penguin's impossible victory in the Gotham mayoral election.
Stupid Good: Hate to say it, but.... Bruce got suckered into teaming up with the sexy, sinister Taliatwice, only for her to betray him both times and side with her father, Ra's al-Ghul, in his latest plot to destroy the human race. (And keep in mind that he had already learned that Talia was willing - if not always eager - to do her father's bidding on an episode of the animated series.) Ra's even lampshaded this fact in the second of the two issues with "Is she not her father's daughter?"
Superpower Meltdown: At the outset of Batman Adventures, Poison Ivy is shown to be becoming more and more plantlike when a stab wound is shown to do her no harm. In her penultimate issue her hair has been replaced by red vines, and she's gained the ability to shoot thorns from all over her skin. In her last issue, she's covered in buds and flowers and can no longer live without sunlight, and dies during the night. However, it's also revealed that she isn't Pamela Isley at all; see Actually a Doombot.
Talking the Monster to Death: In The Batman Adventures #5, Robin manages to make the Scarecrow cry (and give him the antidote) by calling him Professor Crane and playing on his secret desire to teach again. He doesn't, however, manage to convince him to surrender, and the latter runs out the door and straight into Batman. Cut to Arkham, where a fuming Scarecrow refuses to answer to Crane.
Terrible Trio: The Threatening Three (Mr. Nice, Mastermind, and the Perfesser), a group of comical criminals (designed to resemble Archie Goodwin, Mike Carlin and Dennis O'Neil) who made at least one appearance per Adventures series until their final appearance in Gotham Adventures.
Three Act Structure: Used without shame; the original thirty issues or so of The Batman Adventures even had helpful little blurbs spelling out where each act starts and ends.
Til Murder Do Us Part: Played with in Batman Adventures #16, where the Joker starts reciprocating Harley Quinn's affections, and even proposes to her — just after she receives a letter informing her she's inherited a fortune. The twist is that the letter is a fake, which Harley sent herself; she's Genre Savvy enough to realise it will cause the Joker to marry and murder her, but crazy enough to believe that if she reveals the truth once they're married, he'll have no reason to murder her and they'll live happily ever after.
Amazingly, she's right. The Joker finds the whole deception romantic and agrees to marry her anyway. About as close as they ever get to Unholy Matrimony.
Time Skip: Between each incarnation of the book, perhaps most obviously with Batman Adventures, which establishes several changes to the status quo like the Penguin having been elected mayor and outlawed Batman.