This mini-series is, without a doubt, one of the worst collections of Bat-Mite stories I have ever read!
The main plot involves a rare pilot episode of Galaxy Trek (Star Trek) turning up and Gridlock deciding to steal it. Remember, he is a collector of past “artifacts”. In response, the Inferior Five take action because Merryman is a fan of the show. At first, they fail, but with the help of Bat-Mite, the day is won. The end.
Ultimately, this boils down to a morality tale: absolute power corrupts absolutely. While that is a good lesson to learn, it once again raises the question, who is this comic targeting? With all the references to things from 40+ years ago, it seems certain that this was intended for people my age. But then it throws in completely juvenile humor that only a toddler could appreciate and a moral that would only be unique to a younger audience. Granted, this is kind of the Disney formula. Kids movies but with humor only the adults will get so that you don’t corrupt the young minds while at the same time entertaining the adults who are stuck in the theatre with their kids for the next two hours. I’m not sure that applies to this comic though. Is there a parent out there reading this to their kid? I just don’t think this comic needed to pander to a wide range of people. People interested in Bat-Mite are already a niche crowd as it is. I think targeting them specifically would have guaranteed a better success for this series.
You would be forgiven for thinking that the Inferior Five was something Jurgens just made up, but in actuality, they are an existing DC property. The team premiered in Showcase #62 (1966), and it’s exactly what it looks like. A team that was conceived by writers to poke fun at the super hero genre. Now, I’ve never actually read an Inferior Five story, but something tells me that it was probably funnier than the humor that has been coming out of Bat-Mite. I’d also be willing to bet that it had a lot more of the self deprecating humor in it that I had been hoping for from this series.
While I appreciate the fact that Jurgens brought this obscure team to light, it seem to me that poking fun at a more recognizable character would have allowed for a wider range of people to garner enjoyment from the story. I also found it strange that they decided to go all “Politically Correct” on us all of a sudden. You see, Tough Bunny was originally called Dumb Bunny. Considering how many other things have popped up in this series that could have been considered offensive, I’m surprised that this is where they chose to draw the line. Like I said before, I’ve never read an Inferior Five story, but here she is portrayed as a dumb blonde. I’m assuming that the character portrayed here and the one from the 60s bear a similar set of traits. How is it any less offensive to not call her dumb but still portray her as an idiot? It just makes no sense to me.
The funniest thing from this issue is that Doc Trauma’s old henchmen show up, but are now working for Gridlock. It’s hilarious that they are wearing the Gridlock henchmen body suits, yet instead of the Gridlock masks, they have their old Doc Trauma surgical masks and caps. The re-occurrence of these guys also gets my creative juices flowing. How cool would it be to have a story entirely from the perspective of the henchmen. Now before you say, “but Brandon, that’s been done before.” What I am talking about here is more than just a single issue detailing a henchman’s perspective. I’m talking about an extended story in which you see their lives unfold over the bigger tapestry that is the entirety of the DC Universe. Kinda like how Forrest Gump was conveniently involved in several major events from American History. It would be a cool way to do a history of the DC Universe but from a fresh perspective. That of a down on his luck con just trying to make it in a world dominated by super heroes and super villains.
As I have said in all the previous reviews, thank you Corin Howell for providing the art for this series. It’s the one thing I can still count on to be quirky and entertaining. While wonderful, it’s still not enough to make up for the rest of the books downfalls.
- Bat-Mite’s New York Adventure was an interesting little oddity that appeared in Detective Comics #482 (1979). The story behind the story is as follows: At the time, Bat-Mite had not appeared in a comic for almost 15 years. Oddly enough, DC had been receiving mail from a small but diligent group of fans demanding the return of Bat-Mite. DC wasn’t really interested in publishing stories like that anymore, but in order to placate the fans, they came up with a little satirical piece intended to meet the request while simultaneously commenting on the situation. In the story, Bat-Mite actually shows up at the DC offices and demands his rightful place among the BatFamily. While only six pages long, many DC talents of the day make small cameos, and it is a great deal of fun. The closest modern day equivalent that I can think of is Harley Quinn Invades Comic-Con International: San Diego.
- I liked the inclusion of the B-9 robot from Lost in Space. Actually, you can see design elements from both B-9 and Robby the Robot here. Robby was from Forbidden Planet. Incidentally, both robots were designed by the same production designer, Robert Kinoshita.
- You like pop culture references to old science fiction.
- You’re a fan of the Inferior Five.
Dan Jurgens has been a part of the comic book world for a couple of decades now. He is well versed in comic lore, and has even created several characters that have stood the test of time. With a background like that, I went into this series expecting great things. This was a unique opportunity for him to share his knowledge and provide an insiders look into the world of comics. I had high hopes, but with each passing issue, I feel more and more like Jurgens has squandered a golden opportunity. The book continues to be lackluster in the humor department and questionable when it comes to worthwhile scripting. In the end, the only thing that really stands out is the art by Corin Howell, but even that isn’t enough to save this book from eventual obscurity.
SCORE: 4 / 10