It won’t be until much later this year that we get the original TV series on Blu-ray, but until then we always have Batman ’66 to give us our campy Batman fix! This month’s issue collecting the DIGITAL FIRST title features two stories (one large, one short) that pit the Dynamic Duo against the little-known False Face and Batman’s arch-enemy, The Joker.

The Fiend is False!

Written by Jeff Parker

Art by Christopher Jones

Colors by Tony Avina

A fun plot with a forgotten villain who could be very formidable in the New 52, but it honestly dragged on a bit too long. In this story, False Face frames Bruce Wayne and goes on a crime spree that would make Catwoman jealous. Other than the corny and overly-wholesome lines from Batman and Robin, there really wasn’t anything all that funny about this installment and I actually found myself watching it through a more serious lens like I did when I was child. “The Fiend is False!” features terrific artwork by Christopher Jones, who even gets to add to the Bat-lore with his own take on a 60’s Bat-Jet that looks way cooler than the one our Dark Knight flies in the New 52. I was caught off-guard by how much chubbier Commissioner Gordon looked, but overall Jones does a fine job capturing the look and feel of the series. There were also some very stylish panels that depicted False Face’s various transformations, which occurred as he passed through shadow or briefly turned his back to the reader. I do wish that Avina’s colors were more vibrant. I much prefer the brighter, more pop-art looking issues of ’66 that even showcase some zipatone or Ben-Day dots.

The Joker’s Layoff Riot!

Written by Tom Peyer

Art by Derec Donovan

Colors by Tony Avina

This short story casts aside the usual Batman ’66 formula and follows The Joker almost exclusively. Joker realizes he could be making more money if he laid off all of his henchmen, but one. Of course, being the selfish S.O.B. he is, Joker doesn’t realize the toll this will take on that sole surviving goon… or maybe he just doesn’t care. Page after page, writer Tom Peyer takes us behind the scenes of Joker’s operation and we see just how much effort it takes to make those intricate plans work and all those theatrics looks so spectacular. It’s a fun concept, even if you do see where it’s leading a mile away. The artwork by Donovan is clean, cartoony, and appropriate for the story being told but there were instances where I saw too much similarity between the faces of these characters.

Recommended If…

  • North by Northwest is your favorite Hitchcock film
  • Shapeshifter villains intrigue you
  • You’re looking for a lighthearted, all-ages comic
  • You’re a new reader looking to try this series out. Every issue is self-contained and easily accessible whether you’re familiar with the Adam West TV show or not
  • You want 2 stories for the price of one
  • You’d like to see a new bat-vehicle that actually looks cool enough that many would be A-Okay with it appearing in the New 52

Overall

It’s not as funny as previous issues, but Parker makes great use of False Face and Peyer’s exploration of just how much work goes into being the Joker made for a charming short story. Issue #7 isn’t one of the strongest chapters in this series, but it’s definitely a step back in the right direction after the weak Bookworm adventure.

SCORE: 6.5/10