When Gotham’s most dangerous criminals escape from the Arkham Institute and join forces with international criminal organization T.H.R.U.S.H., will the combined crime-fighting camaraderie of the Dynamic Duo, Batgirl the Dominoed Daredoll, and those men from U.N.C.L.E. be enough to put those nefarious ne’er-do-wells back under lock and key?
Well, probably, but it sure is a good time watching them do it.
I’ve said it before, but one of the great joys of the Batman ’66 comic book was seeing ideas play out on the page that wouldn’t have worked on television back in the Sixties. The low budget corniness was certainly no small part of the show’s charm, but it’s great seeing big ideas and difficult to translate villains be a part of the action. Factor in the globe-trotting adventure inherent in Solo and Kuryakin’s escapades and this book is already proving to be a rollicking good time just three issues in.
I mean, seeing Batman and Joker surf against a
hilarious amazing green screen projection of an ocean is all well and good, but seeing a giant deep sea creature attack a bunch of sailors?
That’s straight up metal.
Regardless, this will always be the greatest thing on television. Ever.
But I digress.
This third chapter does start to show the symptoms of padding out a month miniseries, which is unfortunate: it’s heavy on exposition, and not an awful lot happens that couldn’t have been condensed into fewer chapters. Other than a scene or two, nothing is really necessary to the narrative to the point that most of the issue could have been trimmed without losing much. That doesn’t mean it isn’t fun or handled well, just that it’s superfluous. Still, the villains utilize their abilities in fairly clever ways, though a few are still a bit under utilized, and Solo and Kuryakin give a decent primer for T.H.R.U.S.H. and their modus operandi, both of which certainly work in the series’ favor.
The colorful rogues gallery has always been one of the big selling points of Batman in any medium, especially in the TV series with the special guest stars, so seeing lesser-used and newly introduced foes take the spotlight is welcome. In addition to that, any information we can get on the lesser known property is welcome, and it feels organically introduced rather than clunky exposition. That’s all this issue really consists of, though, so while it flows well I can’t help feeling it could have been consolidated. I seem to say that about just about every miniseries, though, so maybe it’s just me.
Jeff Parker retains his deft ear for the appropriately corny dialogue and handles the characters remarkably well, and as always the main strength is the tongue in cheek humor. There’s a great recurring gag where Robin is completely out of the loop on everything, either not realizing Batman’s plans or being cut off mid-sentence, and it’s just great.
I love Robin, but imagining Burt Ward getting flustered at this treatment is just hilarious.
David Hahn and Pasquale Qualano split penciling duties, and other than a face here or there it really isn’t noticeable, which is always a good thing. Hahn and Qualano capture the spirit of the show, throwing in fun little gags and jokes, as well as… nightmarish apocalyptic landscapes?
It’s actually pretty funny in context. Trust me.
And going back to elements that would have worked on Sixties television: Qualano also renders a pretty awesome Batwing, nicely detailed and a great companion to the classic Batmobile.
The Batmobile is always sweet, and we’ve seen the Batcycle, Batboat, and Batcopter at various times, but an actual, convincing jet would have been difficult to pull off. Truly, the wonders of the medium know no bounds.
Culminating in a genuine surprise ending, the story is being pushed into the international theater and towards the inevitable clash with the villainous opposition, albeit a bit slowly. Either way, more Batman ’66 is always welcome.
- You like Batman.
- You like seeing villains get the spotlight.
- You’re a Man From U.N.C.L.E. fan.
- You like birds.
Overall: It may prove to be unnecessary installment, but this mini is still a highly enjoyable story. The two worlds interact remarkably well, to the point that you almost have to ask why nobody thought of this earlier, and seeing this Batman get involved in international affairs is always great fun.