Growing up, Batman was my guy thanks to Batman: The Animated Series. I loved the look and the mood of the show. Two guys largely responsible for that landmark show are writer Paul Dini and illustrator Bruce Timm. The third member of that B:TAS trinity is voice director Andrea Romano, who gave us our definitive Batman – Kevin Conroy. The success of the animated show translated well back into comics, many of which have been collected and reviewed by me in The Batman Adventures.
Dini and Timm also teamed up to create the 1994 Eisner-winning story “Mad Love”, which gave readers Harley Quinn’s backstory (the popular character was an original creation of the tv show). As the title and introduction explain, it’s a depressing story that most readers can related to, at least to a certain degree – sometimes we love someone despite our best judgment, consequences be damned. Mad love. That mad love defines Harley Quinn and Joker, Joker and anarchy, Bruce Wayne and his cowl.
This collection includes “Mad Love”, as well as several other Dini/Timm collaborations. There is a fun one-off Christmas story featuring Batgirl, Bullock and Montoya; Poison Ivy on a cruise ship; and a one-off sepia-toned story featuring a doomed Harvey Dent that is a personal favorite of mine. I might end up tracking down that particular single issue for my own collection.
In addition to the stories themselves, Dini and Timm both provide intermittent commentary on nearly all of the stories. These behind-the-panels pages add meaningful content for fans like me who can’t get enough this particular Batverse.