As much as I enjoyed the previous Batman ’66 crossover, I never got the feeling that Solo, Kuryakin, and U.N.C.L.E. were actually a part of that world. There was some fun chemistry between the Dynamic Duo and the agents, and Hugo Strange’s involvement with T.H.R.U.S.H. was fairly clever, but besides a throwaway line here or there it felt like they were guests in this world rather than inhabitants.
Ian Edginton, on the other hand, is quick to establish that Steed and Peel are fleshed-out characters with their own history and adventures:
Steed’s delightful dialogue references the three-part Londinium adventure from season three, where Gotham’s Finest travel to Jolly Olde “England” to bring Lord Marmaduke Ffogg and Lady Penelope Peasoup to justice.
More importantly, it also has both the
infamous amazing death bee beehive tripwire and Yvonne Craig almost breaking character. Bat File, chums.
…now I want to watch those episodes. But I’ll abstain for now.
This week’s installment, on its own, is about as slight as last week’s, but it’s those small moments and lines that really help build a fully realized world for this series. The world of Batman ’66 has always been of farce and fun, while still being beholden to its own continuity, however loose it is.
With the inclusion of Steed and Peel, rather than having the characters show up because the plot demands it and then leave when they’re no longer needed, Edginton instead imbues them with a sense of wit, humor, and history. We as readers (especially those like myself who are unfamiliar with the characters) may not know much more about them other than Steed’s reputation as a dapper gentleman with a bracing wit and Mrs. Peel’s “tough as she is charming” demeanor, but they’re starting to feel like real characters as opposed to caricatures.
Short as it is (digital chapters always feel this way, so it’s not unique to this), the script is remarkably funny and moves along at a great pace. In addition to the official meeting of the titular heroes, we find that Catwoman was apprehended and is being held in jail. Soon, some mysterious robotic men who are being controlled by the even more mysterious antagonist attempt to subdue the felonious feline in a short but well-illustrated fight scene. Smith’s artistic style may still be an acquired taste, but he has a good eye for movement and staging and the varied locations this week allow for some more variety.
It’s early in the run, but with such solid, knowledgable writing and an interesting visual style, this is already shaping up to be a truly great miniseries.
- You like Batman ’66.
- You like
The AvengersSteed and Mrs. Peel.
- You want a quick, fun read with some truly cracking dialogue.
Overall: Short and sweet, it hits all the right notes and makes for a lean, engaging chapter. As early as it may be to call, the first two installments of this crossover show that the creative team have a great handle on both properties, with Edginton in particular demonstrating a terrific ear for dialogue and voices. It’s campy without being corny, charming without being smug, and overall just a great read.