When I first heard the news that there would be a Batman 89 comic series that follows the Burton universe, I was beyond excited! Growing up, the Batman 89 film is the first movie I remember seeing in theaters. I am also a big fan of Batman Returns. Yes, Returns brings a divided crowd (which is a post for another day). However, 89 and Returns usually carry a good deal of respect, or a following with them. If you are a Batman fan of any type, I recommend this series. Now, if you are a fan of the Burton universe, then the Batman 89 series is a must for you! Let’s talk about why.
The Story We Have Been Waiting For
You have probably heard the ideas Burton had for a Batman 3. We know that elements that were excluded from original concepts for Batman 89 and Batman Returns would finally make their appearances. The triumphant return of the charismatic Billy Dee Williams is one of them. He signed on to Batman 89 thinking he would return. The idea was not only to bring him back, but to also unveil his other side as Two-Face. It is something many of us, especially looking back, could only dream of! I know that after Burton was not asked to return, I would often wonder what Williams’ Two-Face would look like.
The Batman 89 series gives us just that. The first issue gives us a good deal of exposition. However, we do get to finally seeing the vision on one of the available covers! For me the reveal is similar as to when Harvey Dent finally shows his face in The Dark Knight. The confident/cockiness in Dent’s nature is still apparent in the comic. He also has quite the relationship with Barbara Gordon who is finally seen in the universe. It leaves a good deal for us to look forward to regarding his transformation.
I have always been a big fan of Robin. The idea of tagging along with the Dark Knight always fascinated me as a kid. As close as we got to a Robin in the Burton universe is in The Batman: The Motion Picture Anthology. It has storyboards from Batman 89 in an initial scene at the end with the Flying Graysons. Obviously, it did not make it to the finished product.
Next, it appeared it could happen in the sequel. I remember reading an issue of Wizard Magazine in the 90s that first mentions the idea of having Robin in the Burton films. I am sure it is not the first mention, but that is where I got my comic news from. As we know, Marlon Wayans was to take on the role of the Dark Knight’s sidekick. Unfortunately, that never happened either.
The Batman 89 comic finally brings us the Marlon Wayans Robin! It’s honestly something many fans more than likely tried to imagine over the years. I like his costume as well. It is not outlandishly bright. It also looks functional, yet something someone could put together themselves. Since in the comic the suit does not come from Batman, this makes sense. It also makes sense in the Burton world. I cannot wait to see how the character develops!
When the Batman 89 series was announced, we knew Easter Eggs would definitely follow. One of the primary nods is the giant penny. A staple of the batcave, but never seen in the films. We do get this fun scene which also foreshadows Harvey’s future transformation.
The Batman 89 references I enjoy are a bit more subtle and involve the setting. The first image is from the kitchen in Wayne Manor. Sure, it does not seem like much, but I appreciate that Harvey is sitting at the table where Alfred was telling Vicki about a young Bruce on a horse. The cabinets and door are the same as well. These small details make the connection to the original two films even stronger.
Next is the first image in Batman 89 Issue #1. If you look to the left of where Harvey and Barbara are eating, what do you see in the Gotham skyline? Gotham City Cathedral. That’s where the entire climax of the original Batman 89 takes place. One again making the connection extremely strong.
Here if you look near the bottom where the kids are having their picture taken you will see a sewer grate. This is where the Penguin was watching his planned attack by the Red Triangle Circus Gang in Batman Returns. Like I said, small details that really bring life and connection to the Batman 89 comic series. I am looking forward to see what else they add in regards to setting.
The style of the comic is great. Of course the characters, story, and setting will resemble Batman 89 and Batman Returns. That’s because Sam Hamm is back as the author. He not only writes the story, but wrote the stories for both films. His return is a major benefit for all. He truly gets to see out his possible vision.
Even though the art and lettering are not from the same individuals, Batman 89 does have stylistic similarities to the movie adaptions from the late 80s/early 90s. For my second reading of Issue #1 of Batman 89 I actually went back and watched both Burton films first. I then read the comic adaptions for Batman 89 and Batman Returns then followed with Issue #1. It really does feel right in line, across the board. From the writing to the art, it is definitely what fans of the Burton universe have been missing.
Timing: Nostalgia Leading Into The Flash
I mean the timing couldn’t be better, right? After Michael Keaton signed on for The Flash, the internet went wild! Nostalgia is clearly in full force. Now that we will get to see the Batman 89 universe years later. It again peaks our curiosity about what possibly happened between Batman Returns and The Flash. The Batman 89 comic looks to accomplish just that.
I know the Burton universe is divided. However, there is definitely a respect and appreciation out there for the films. If you are a fan of Batman 89 and Batman Returns, but are not checking out the Batman 89 comic, you are missing out! The first issue went on sale in August. Batman 89 Issue #2 will release on September 14. Have you already checked out the first issue? What did you think of the Batman 89 Comic Series? Have you not, but think you may give it a try? Leave your thoughts in the usual spot, and thanks for reading!