The penultimate chapter is here, chums, and our heroes have found themselves in yet another quandary. Faced with hordes of Cybernauts, Batman, Robin, Steed and Peel must work together to stop Michaela Gough’s rampage.
It’s difficult to judge this installment on its own merits, because it’s all build-up for the final chapter. Gone are the early days of the crossover when the novelty and joy of these two properties meeting was still fresh. The snappy dialogue and great chemistry are still here, but… listen, I hate that I’m typing this, but you can really only see Batman punching hordes of robotic men so many times before it becomes old hat.
The finale may hold a surprise or two, but as of right now that’s what it’s looking like the climax will be: the Dynamic Duo and the Avengers fighting even more Cybernauts. If that sounds familiar, it’s because that’s how pretty much every other issue has ended. Even leading up to the cliffhanger it feels like Smith is going to throw a curveball at us, building dread and anticipation until the final page when Gough’s gambit is revealed. Is it some sort of advanced Cybernaut? Perhaps an entire legion of the machines, outfitted with advanced weaponry or tactical vehicles?
No, just regular old Cybernauts. Just more of them.
If the series has outstayed its welcome, it’s not due to the best efforts of the creative team. The science behind getting an acceptable trade is collect at least six print issues, so that’s what Edginton and Smith had to shoot for. While this is certainly more of the same, “the same” has still been consistently good over the twelve chapter run, and there are still a few signs of life here and there. Edginton, as always, knows how to write these characters well, and the heroes’ chemistry with even the villains is almost tangible.
Smith has a little less to work with, given the stark location and the repetitive hordes of the antagonists. Even so, he makes good use of the Dutch angle to simultaneously heighten tension and reference the Batman TV show. His facial expressions are particularly great too, from Steed’s wry cocked-eyebrow to Michaela Gough’s patronizing placidity. While there may not be much going on around the characters, there’s plenty of detail to take in with the characters themselves.
If you’ve been enjoying this book like I have, there’s enough quality material here that at least makes it feel like the book I’ve loved. As it stands though, I’m ready for this book to end and looking forward to the crazy places the upcoming Batman ’66 Meets Wonder Woman ’77 will take us.
- You’ve read every chapter so far.
- You like one, or both, properties.
Overall: There are still a few signs of life, but by and large this book has outstayed its welcome. I won’t fault the creative team for that, as they’re still game and able to wring out a few bright spots here and there, though I can’t help feeling this would have been better served as a four or even five installment series. Still, there’s one chapter left and that may very well be enough to turn everything around. Taken on its own merits, though, this chapter feels like more of the same for Batman, Robin, Steed, and Peel.