Batman: Wayne Family Adventures Vol. 1 | Review
Batman: Wayne Family Adventures Vol. 1
Writer: CRC Payne; Artist: Starbite
DC Comics, $14.99
Batman works alone…or, at least, that’s what he likes to tell everybody.
In reality, he has the deepest stable of sidekicks, lieutenants and allies in the world of superheroes, his popularity transferring onto them, so that he can’t seem to shake anyone from the so-called “Bat-Family” once creators introduce a new Robin or Batgirl. Even death can’t sideline one forever, as second Robin Jason Todd proved; he rather famously died in the 1980s, only to come back to active duty as the adult vigilante Red Hood a few decades later.
Batman’s large family of sidekicks is the focus of Wayne Family Adventures, a webtoon by writer CRC Payne and artists including inker Starbite. The series starts with Duke Thomas, Batman’s latest ally, known as The Signal, moving into Wayne Manor. Bruce Wayne lives there alone with his current Robin (and biological son) Damian Wayne and faithful butler Alfred, but the place can be positively crowded, with the rest of the Bat-Family coming and going as their schedules and caseloads allow.
And, as you can see from the cover, there are a lot of them, all Batman’s sons or daughters in one sense or another. (There’s also Batman’s cousin, Batwoman Kate Kane, who makes a few appearances throughout the 25 stories collected within).
Duke starts out as our point-of-view character, learning the traditions of his new family like Alfred’s after-patrol pastries and the game of vigilante bingo, and he has a multiple-story arc about a crush at school, but the stories shift focus from character to character throughout.
The stories are all short, vignettes, really, though all have a beginning, middle, and end and feel complete and substantial, despite their low page-counts. While most of them are funny, there are some that are more dramatic and tug at the heart-strings, like Damian’s ninth birthday party, Cassandra’s dance recital, or the aforementioned stories about Duke’s crush.
What they don’t show are heroes vs. villains fights—there’s more than enough of that in all the other Batman and Batman-adjacent comics. Instead they focus on, say, who gets to ride shotgun in the Batmobile after defeating Mr. Freeze, or Batman’s doling out assignments for who has to tackle which lame villain in his rogue’s gallery (Condiment King, anyone?).
Though originally created to be read online, and in one continuous panel-by-panel vertical scroll, the comics are here reformatted for the comics page, and this is done so well that one can’t even really tell they weren’t originally formatted thusly.
If you like Batman, and the extended Bat-Family in general, this series is pretty much an ideal one, telling fun, funny, occasionally sweet stories about the characters that other titles just don’t make room for on a regular basis.
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About J. Caleb Mozzocco
J. Caleb Mozzocco is a way-too-busy freelance writer who has written about comics for online and print venues for a rather long time now. He currently contributes to Comic Book Resources' Robot 6 blog and ComicsAlliance, and maintains his own daily-ish blog at EveryDayIsLikeWednesday.blogspot.com. He lives in northeast Ohio, where he works as a circulation clerk at a public library by day.
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