Batman: Gotham Adventures #7
DC Comics (December, 1998)
Man, again with the gag credits. It’s a good thing I remember first names from previous issues or look up their reviews to double-check.
WRITER: Ty Templeton
PENCILER: Rich Burchett
INKER: Terry Beatty
COLORIST: Lee Loughridge
LETTERER: Tim Harkins
EDITOR: Darren Vicenzo
It’s the return of Dagger Dixon, the man who got a Batman tattoo to keep himself on the straight and narrow. And he’s trying, but he is having trouble getting money otherwise. When he learns that the new Robin is the son of one of his old friends he tries various ways to get some money from Tim or Bruce. Then he makes the mistake of asking Penguin for advice and Penguin really wants to learn what that secret is so he can blackmail the mysterious billionaire himself. Not wanting Tim hurt, he ends up working with Tim to get out of the situation and then moves out of Gotham, getting a new tattoo…Robin. As the Batman tattoo reminds him of humility the Robin tattoo reminds him that some secrets can get you killed.
What they got right: In my review of his first appearance I hoped that this story would make up for the lack of Robin in the first story, seeing how it was Batman AND ROBIN Adventures #14 even though this is a different Robin. And it does work. While we aren’t seeing through Dagger’s eyes we do see that despite his criminal history he’s still a decent guy, the only one of Shifty Drake’s friends who was nice to Tim and despite needing money didn’t want to see Tim hurt in the process. Hopefully his reform sticks. We also get to see how clever this version of Tim Drake can be. While not the natural detective of the main DCU Tim his street smarts pays off. This is how Jason Todd should have been done.
What they got wrong: Outside of the annoying “let’s replace everyone’s first name with a criminal name” nonsense I can’t think of anything wrong.
Other Notes: I finally get to talk about the Kids WB variant of the DCAU Penguin. Now he’s a mob boss and looking less like the ugly Batman Returns Tim Burton version (which I hope never to see again, but unfortunately that’s also what they used in The Batman) and something closer to his classic comic concept. I think they actually improved him too and Justice League Action uses this concept for their version of the Penguin as well. It’s a less campy version of Burgess Meredith’s take on the character and may be the best post-comics interpretation of Oswald Cobblepot.
Recommendation: A good companion piece that takes an old story idea and gives it a fresh continuation. Worth picking up along with the first appearance but also decent on its own.