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Batman Adventures #3

Posted: Sunday, June 22, 2003
By: Ray Tate



"My Boy-Friend's Back"
"Breathing Room"

Writer: Ty Templeton; Dan Slott
Artists:Rich Burchett; Ty Templeton(p), Terry Beatty(i) Lee Loughridge; Zylonol{?}(c)
Publisher: DC

Back in Gotham Adventures Ty Templeton did a very good job of completing the rehabilitation begun on the series of Harley Quinn. I liked the rehabilitated Harley Quinn, and her reclamation of sanity gave Batman a definite victory. That said, it's difficult for me not to like "My Boy-Friend's Back"

Unlike many, I have never found the Joker funny. His antics are always murderous, and somebody usually ends up laughing herself to death. He's ghoulish rather than grin-worthy, and my sentiments tend to mirror those of the Batman. The Joker needs to be put away or worse.

Ironically the clown finally seems to have been rehabilitated, and it is this innocent, carefree Joker who instilled tears welling from my eyes:

"Batman! Buddy! This is better than a birthday!"

Now that's funny.

Harley's insane schemes to return the Joker back to abnormal are hilarious, but the lethal punchline normally delivered by the kook or her clown is stolen by Batman, again not without humor, and leads to the side-splitting finale.

Rich Burchett alters his artwork even more to better demonstrate the links between the Joker and Harley to the Harvey Kurtzmann Mad look. Burchett's Captain Renee Montoya is more refined and dark deco like the first series. Congrats incidentally on the promotion. His Batman looks as sleek and sly as he does on Justice League, and he behaves like the Dark Knight we expect. He terrifies a fence and always seems to be a fluid shadow nobody can hit.

Much has been made about the relationship between Harley and Ivy, and the newer cartoon series seemed to deflect some of that subtext; Harley and Ivy are clearly presented as just partners in crime during the Batgirl and Supergirl team-up.

In the comics, Ty Templeton again forged a stronger relationship, complete with subtext, between the two, and now Dan Slott feeds that subtext with the backup Batman Adventures short.

Mr. Slott relates a story that finalizes the revelation of Ivy's transformation from the previous issue and finds a practical means to bring Harley and Ivy back together. A nod to the astonishing episode "Home & Gardens" can be found in the way the affliction takes Ivy, and the science wielded by Mr. Slott is also good.

The artwork by Ty Templeton nicely depicts the range of ever changing emotions through the panels, and the moment when the attack ensues shocks as well as stings.

The ramifications of the story present an interesting problem. Because of Ivy's situation, the Joker/Harley team must be reconsidered, and this may also lead to Batman having a new ally when the clown needs a cute punching bag. Surely, Ivy must also reconsider her ecoterrorism stance, and a cure for her condition may become her top priority.



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