The Batman Adventures
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 series had introduced viewers to Harley Quinn, Lock-Up, and sundry other original characters, The Batman Adventures gave us a new trio of bumbling, lovable villains in Mastermind, Mr. Nice, and the Professor (or "Perfesser").
There were also a number of special issues, including the Eisner Award winning Mad Love, which detailed Harley Quinn's origin for the first time (and was later adapted as an episode of the TV series).
The book was still going strong, both a critical and financial success, when it was canceled to make way for the official tie-in comic of a new, unrelated Batman animated series, The Batman.
- 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).
- Badass and Baby: Gotham Adventures #26
- Banana Peel: In The Batman and Robin Adventures #5, "Second Banana", the Joker is captured at the end after slipping on his own banana peel.
- Because I'm Good At It: Mr. Nice is a career criminal despite his highly moral inclinations, because he is incredibly good at it. (Seriously. You simply will not believe just how good.)
- Breaking the Bonds: Batman breaks through a whole lot of rope in a single SNAP! in The Batman Adventures #3.
- Canon Foreigner: Mastermind, the Perfessor, and Mr. Nice.
- 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.
- 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" in an issue of The Batman Adventures
- Cut Short: The "Shadows and Masks" arc in Batman Adventures culminated in an awesome Sequel Hook revealing that The Man Behind the Man was the Red Hood. And then the series was canceled.
- 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, many Karma 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.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Joker tries to beat a henchman to death with a bunch of bananas over a $20 wager on the World Series.
- Do Not Adjust Your Set:
- The Joker broadcasts to every television in Gotham in The Batman Adventures #3. "Same Joker time, any channel at all."
- The Scarecrow breaks in on television and radio broadcasts to announce his scheme and demand a ransom in The Batman Adventures #4.
- 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".
- Edible Bludgeon: Issue #5 of The Batman and Robin Adventures opens with the Joker breaking out of Arkham and trying to club a henchman to death with a bunch of bananas because he welshed on a trivial bet over the World Series they had made before Joker was arrested. Joker eventually regrets this decision - not out of any moral concern, mind you, just the fact that bananas aren't sturdy enough to make an effective truncheon. When he tries to kill Riddler at the end of the issue, he uses plantains instead.
- 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.
- Engineered Public Confession: The Penguin has one in The Batman Adventures #1.
- 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."
- 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.
- The Full Name Adventures
- Goofy Print Underwear: The Joker in The Batman Adventures #16
- Heel Face Turn: The Riddler during Batman Adventures.
- Involuntary Shapeshifting: The Creeper, in his Batman: Gotham Adventures appearance
- 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.)
- 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.
- Mad Love: The Trope Namer
- 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.
- Monumental Battle: The Batman Adventures #2 has a showdown on the Westminster Clock Tower.
- Morton's Fork: One issue told the story exclusively from Commissioner Gordon's perspective as he went on a mission to rescue a cop named Miller, who had been captured by gangster Rupert Thorne while trying to infiltrate Thorne's gang. Batman shows up just in time (disguised as one of Thorne's goons, complete with a lifelike latex mask) and saves the day by beating the crud out of all of Thorne's assassins, of course, but the climax is more memorable for a brilliant psych-out on Gordon's part. Thorne and Gordon each grab a pistol, and Thorne tries to force Gordon to drop his gun by threatening to shoot Miller (who is still tied up). Gordon simply pretends to be a Cowboy Cop, telling Thorne that if he shoots Miller, Gordon will just retaliate by shooting him - so either way, whether Thorne tries to shoot Miller or Gordon, he'll get killed. Thorne falls for the trick and surrenders like a coward.
- My Rule Fu Is Stronger Than Yours: There's a story arc in Batman Adventures where the new mayor 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.
- Orphaned Punchline: In The Batman Adventures #2:
Security guard: ...so the bald guy says, "What? No shaving cream?"
- Out-Gambitted: In "Mad Love"
- 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.
- Plant Person: Poison Ivy
- Play-Along Prisoner: The Joker in Batman: Gotham Adventures #1
- Recursive Adaptation: A comic based on a TV series based on a 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.
- Riddle of the Sphinx: Used in an issue featuring -- who else? -- the Riddler.
- In The Batman Adventures #5, two men appear in the Scarecrow's nightmare who look remarkably like Cain and Abel.
- The Batman Adventures #6 is a murder mystery with shout-outs to The Third Man, Citizen Kane, and the works of Alfred Hitchcock.
- In Gotham Adventures #1, as the Joker attempts to escape Batgirl's custody, he remarks, "I could've gotten out of [these handcuffs] any time I wanted; I just had to wait until it was funny!"
- In Gotham Adventures #4, we see Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer stealing a car.
- In Gotham Adventures #10, Harley Quinn checks into a hotel under the pseudonym Elise Archer.
- 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!
- Stupid Good: Hate to say it, but....Bruce got suckered into teaming up with the sexy, sinister Talia twice, 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?"
- 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 mad 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.
- Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Batman's plan to stop the Joker kidnapping Harvey Dent in The Batman Adventures #3.
- What Could Have Been: Go to the Toon Zone forums, dig up Ty Templeton and Dan Slott's old posts about the ideas they never got to use in Batman Adventures due to its cancellation, then find a good corner to weep bitterly into.
- Why, Thank You, X!: In Batman: Gotham Adventures #1
- With This Ring: An idiosyncratic version for the idiosyncratic Joker and Harley Quinn in Batman Adventures #16
- Villainous Breakdown: The Riddler at the end of Gotham Adventures #11.
- Zorro Mark: The Cavalier, in Batman Adventures #1