DCAU #301: Captive Audience

IN THIS ONE... Alfred is kidnapped. The kidnappers are in trouble.

CREDITS: Written by Scott Peterson; art by Craig Rousseau and Terry Beatty.

REVIEW: While the story is a little short on content (several splash pages belie its actual length), Captive Audience proves Peterson has what it takes to deliver the fun one-off Batman stories this series demands. Alfred is kidnapped, and amusingly takes it in his stride because, apparently, this happens all the time. Being rather more capable than your average butler, he manipulates and hypnotizes(!) his kidnappers, plays escape artist, and pretty much has the situation handled before the other heroes crash in to clean up. And then he gets kidnapped all over again before he gets back to the car.

Robin, Nightwing and Batgirl are desperate to get to him, but have to deal with a ridiculous number of thugs before they can head on over to the kidnappers' lair. This subplot provides the action beats, but also so fun punchlines. When they learn of Alfred's kidnapping, they immediately defeat a large group that should have taken twice the time, for example. As the issue progresses, their opponents become more and more fantastical and dare I say it, "90s".

So where's Batman during all this? Well, the point of the story is to show that the Bat has full confidence in his team, Alfred included. He knows what they can handle, and no doubt on some other case during the issue, lets them get on with it. It's slightly questionable, not knowing WHAT he was up to exactly, but is nevertheless a nice message to send about team work, something Batman has classically been bad at (using the DCAU to date as evidence, and the Outsiders in the comics).
REREADABILITY: Medium-High - Too padded, perhaps, for a High rating, but a delightful comedy story about everyone's favorite comic book butler (sorry Jarvis!).

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