In an odd bit of timing, I started reading this latest collection of the Batman ’66 comics on the same day that the news broke of Yvonne DeCarlo’s passing. This turned out to be bittersweet because the first story features Batgirl and the Dynamic Duo battling the forces of evil around Gotham City.
As I said for the first two installments, this comic book series is intended as pure, unmitigated fun and a great homage to the classic TV series. The comics can do things that the TV show budget didn’t or couldn’t but it never forgets what made the TV series work so well. One story that’s especially fun finds Wayne Manor robbed and the Shakespeare bust removed, effectively cutting off our heroes from the Batcave. Forced to resort to older versions of the costumes, we get to see Batman and Robin in the costumes from the movie serials that preceded this one. The story is a lot of fun and stays just long enough so that it doesn’t wear out its welcome.
Also included is a story that finds Batman invented a robot that will be on duty 24-hours a day and fight crime. The scenes of Bruce and Dick actually getting to fishing are nicely done as is the reasoning for why the Bat-bot can’t stay on duty all the time.
This collection continues the fun of the series and was just delightful. It’s not heavy Batman stories — but they don’t need to be. If you want something fun and entertaining, give this series a try.
Batman ’66 Meets the Green Hornet #1 by Kevin Smith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Before the Avengers assembled and Batman meet Superman on the silver screen, crossovers were limited to characters we saw on the Superfriends and the second second Batman installment with the Green Hornet and Kato. Uber-fans Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman clearly recall how monumental that crossover and have channeled that love into this six-issue storyline.
The plotline finds the Dynamic Duo and the Green Hornet and Kato once again believing they’re on opposite sides of the law but working together for a common good. The dialogue is spot-on and the art works well. About mid-way through the collection, I dusted off my recently acquired complete series box-set and re-watched the original story that served as the starting point for this episode. While it’s not necessary, it did help refresh my memory of who one of the villains was in this collection.
Sure, there’s a bit of running around in the middle, but given that this series is intended to be read as single installments and not in one giant feast, I was willing to overlook this.
The second collection of Batman ’66 stories is just as entertaining, delightful and fun as the first one. Jeff Parker continues to channel the vibe of the original television series but is giving a bigger sandbox to play in. Limited only by the budget of what his artists can do, Parker sees the Dynamic Duo traveling in time, taking on Shame and even having a story or two focus on other characters from the television universe. It all adds up to another enjoyable read and a series that only continues to deliver the goods in terms of entertainment value.
It would be easy to dismiss DC’s Batman ’66 as an attempt to cash in on the current wave of nostalgia for the campy TV classic and its recent release on DVD and Blu-Ray. But doing that would sell short this fun, digital comic book take on the series which while it doesn’t perfectly capture the fun of those early episodes, still does a nice job of keeping the spirit of the TV show alive.
Collecting together five printed issues (apparently multiple weeks of the digital comic), this collection feels a bit like what the TV show might have done if it had a bit bigger budget or more time to film. The first story involves the Riddler and sees Batman using the Batrope and Batarang to climb from a moving Batmobile to the Riddler’s crop duster plane that is being used for nefarious activities. It’s impressively rendered on the comics page and it’s one of those things you feel the TV show would absolutely have loved to have attempted but couldn’t.
Interestingly, the order of the first two major foes the Dynamic Duo faces mirrors that of the original television series. And there are more homages and smart references to come in the pages, reminding me of the early first season of the show. The comic even tries to add a bit more of a sinister aspect to the TV version of the Joker and bring in the Red Hood as a character. While this isn’t necessarily the biggest hit of the collection, it’s still interesting to see the comics try some new and interesting twists and tie-ins to larger Batman mythology.
Reading these collected issues, I couldn’t help but enjoy myself. Pure nostalgia, but also a lot of fun. It’s easy to see that the creative team behind this series loves the original series — and that love translates into the product presented here.