Batman: The Audio Adventures is a new approach to delivering The Dark Knight to the masses. This “radio program,” as your grandparents would have called it, is a new dynamic for even the most hardcore podcast fan. B:TAA is not a talk show, and there are no opinions, and this is made for entertaining, just as if it was a TV show or film. After the success of episode one, the only question is, can they keep the momentum going?
The show opens with a statement from Mayor Hamilton Hill on the relationship between The Batman and the city. This was a terrific opening segment to the show. This public address has all the critical elements of talk radio, filled with hot takes, snide remarks, and jokes. You can hear the disappointment in the Mayor’s voice when he mentions that the citizens voted on this and how he thinks the city working with The Batman is illegal. I think it is safe to say Mayor Hill is not a fan of The Caped Crusader.
After we learn of the partnership between the police and Batman, our narrator takes us to The Batcave, where Robin is investigating the Two-Face case from the last episode. Here Robin looks up Jack Ryder clips in an extraordinary transition from detective work to a news report. Our Robin is your typical millennial, tired of reading and fast-forwarding to the information sections that are of interest. Bravo to the show for being aware of the times we live in a while mixing it up in the world of Batman.
We get our first introduction to Alfred, and the banter between the Boy Wonder and faithful butler is as good as it gets. We also get confirmation that this is Richard John Grayson sporting the “R.” This segment is more about the relationships than the case, Bruce Wayne/Harvey Dent, Dick Grayson/Bruce Wayne, Alfred/the caped crusaders and in hilarious fashion Alfred/the Batcomputer. The latter adds the perfect amount of fun to a theatrical telling of the origin of Two-Face.
Our next tale takes us to the rooftop of GCPD, where the Joker has tampered with the Bat-signal and our first introduction to Kenan Thompson’s Commissioner Gordon. The approach taken to Batman’s longtime confidant is only comparable to the Gordon we have seen in the animated Harley Quinn TV show also on HBO Max; here, Gordon is pure comic relief. I don’t think this version works as effectively as it does on the animated show, and I will say that this tale does work efficiently even with the buffoonery of Gordon. It’s a flashback to some extent as we learn of this Batman’s first encounter with The Joker. This segment did reassure me a bit outside of Gordon. Jeffery Wright’s Batman sounds grizzlier than the last episode, and Brent Spiner shows off his Joker laugh a bit more to my liking.
Our third tale introduces arguably my favorite Batvillain of all time in Oswald Cobblepot, voiced by Bobby Moynihan. This version of the Penguin seems to be a wonderful blend of Batman ’66 and Pre-Crisis. Moynihan sounds like he is paying tribute to Burgess Meredith. The tone, pitch, and squawk are pure ’66—a beautiful blend of various character versions.
Batman: The Audio Adventures does a fantastic job mixing up the main stories with various PSA and a few short stories in between. These PSA do wonders to break the tension and add some humor while the short stories take you all around Gotham City at the speed of the Batmobile.
We are hopping around from one hot spot to another with ease. The show is expanding at an incredible rate after two episodes. Have we ever had world-building radio? Well, we do now. The show introduces new characters and elements at every turn, not just in the main stories but the PSA’s as well. Batman: The Audio Adventures is a brilliant form of storytelling, and I am eating up every second of it for one! – Peter Verra