Now we reach the end of the road for Batman ’66 Meets Wonder Woman ’77. This is the first issue of the series released after the sudden death of Adam West, and his loss still stings. We’ll always have his work to remember him by, though, and his legacy lives on even now in comic books and movies.
Still, I wish this story was better. From the first chapter I’ve had a lukewarm response to this series, to say the least, never feeling like either property was done justice (no pun intended… unless you want it to be, then yes it was.) The series was already uneven, but then the fatal mistake was made to have the Joker be dead at Batman’s hand. There’s no coming back from that. Ever. It was an unnecessary touch of darkness that the goofy, tongue-in-cheek Batman ’66 didn’t ever need.
But, what’s done is done. Even if the mistake was irredeemable, there’s still one chapter left. Judging it on its own merits, this is a perfectly serviceable issue. It’s certainly a step up from its predecessor, though there isn’t an awful lot that happens. I wouldn’t go so far as to say the conclusion is rushed, as there’s certainly more to this than the ending of the Steed and Peel crossover. Really, this issue is mostly two extended fight scenes and confrontations with an ending that’s a bit goofy but at least feels somewhat earned.
Visually this issue is great, though that’s hardly been a weak point throughout the entire series. I’ve always liked David Hahn’s style, and he doesn’t disappoint here. The Seventies aesthetic is great, from the plunging v-necks and gold chains…
…to whatever is going on here.
Hahn’s action scenes are breezy and easy to follow, with some fun choreography to capitalize on the crazy outfits. Questionable storytelling decisions aside, I’m still giddy that Discowing was included too. I stand by the assertion that Batman ’66 doesn’t belong in the Seventies, but on paper that ridiculous outfit is a logical progression from the camp stylings of the show. I wish the story had been better to serve the cheekiness, but no matter: the idea was inspired, and I’ll give them credit for that.
Hahn also introduces us to a brand new Batmobile, this one based on a Pontiac Firebird Trans Am. It’s pretty killer.
The regular Batmobile is a classic that can’t be touched, no doubt about that, and it’s the finest whip on four wheels. Still, options are always nice, and that’s a pretty sleek upgrade to an already cool real world car
The second half gets pretty fun, with the heroes fighting through several members of Batman’s rogues gallery. And also the Cheetah.
Despite its visual flair and breezy pace, the scripting is still lacking. The Riddler’s line there is actually pretty indicative of much of the dialogue here: it’s clunky, expository, and lacking in any flair. The wry humor of the ’66 show is missing, replaced with boilerplate lines of the “say, remember when I did this?” variety. Even Ra’s Al Ghul, he who is usually refined and almost poetic in his speech, has some real clunkers here. His ultimate fate doesn’t really do him many favors either, but I’ll leave you to discover that yourself.
On its own, this issue is fine. I like the fight scenes, all of which are genuinely good, and there are lots of little visual details that are great. Batgirl’s costume has some nods to her Burnside outfit, which I actually really like and don’t care who knows it, and Disco Nightwing is always welcome. It’s the narrative missteps that were taken before that keep this from being great, or really even good, as a pall has been cast over the story, tarnishing any real goodwill. Unsurprisingly, the story ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, so maybe if there’s another series down the road there can be some course correction. As it stands right now, though, a continuation isn’t neither necessary nor even wanted. I hate that I’m saying this about Batman ’66, but it might be time to let it rest for awhile.
At least after we meet the Legion, that is. That should be fun.
- You want to see how this ends.
- You’re willing to look past some incredibly questionable storytelling choices for some good fight scenes.
Overall: A lackluster conclusion to an uneven miniseries. While this chapter was certainly better than the previous one, the damage has been done; there’s not coming back from the questionable choices made. This story just further cements the idea that Batman ’66 doesn’t work outside of 1966, even with rad bell-bottoms and plunging v-necks. Bruce deserved better, Diana deserved better, and dare I say we deserved better than the end product.