Archie Meets Batman ’66 #2 review

This is a very nice comic.  It’s light, frothy fun without any sort of agenda other than wanting to be light, frothy fun.  I mean this not as a slight, but as a compliment.  After all, Archie and Batman ’66 are all about evoking a specific time and place, so why mess with a proven and successful formula?  It may not reinvent the wheel in terms of storytelling, and there’s nothing remarkably groundbreaking or moving about the story, but it is a good time.  Do you want to have a good time?  You’ll have a good time.

Two issues in, this series is a nice entertainment to be sure, but it’s pretty light on story.  Instead, it’s more a series of really fun little scenes, loosely connected by a pretty general plot.  Again, this isn’t a bad thing, as there’s some really fun stuff here.  Namely, Robin and Batgirl go undercover… as high school students!

That’s always a fun trope, and one that the TV series went to a few times with some pretty memorable results.  I mean, who can forget Burt Ward trying his best at being a young tough?  That hooligan.

The undercover plot is a pretty solid way of getting Robin and Batgirl interacting with the Archie gang, even if it’s mainly just introduced here without much further explanation.  But hey, we still have four more issues, so surely we’ll get plenty of fun scenes between the characters going forward.

It’s also worth noting, based on those panels above, that there’s some pretty sharp dialogue here.  It’s not deep and philosophical or cutting and cynical, but there’s some real chemistry between the characters exhibited through their good-natured ribbing.

While the Bat-family get more to do than in the previous issue, this is still largely an Archie comic.  For me, that’s perfectly fine, as I’m more than family with Batman characters, so getting exposure to another property is always welcome.  I’ve read a few Archies in my time, so I’m at least somewhat familiar with the characters and their world, but this is still a fairly fresh experience for me.

I kind of hate to say it, but had this only been Archie characters interacting with Gotham’s rogues, I might have been okay with that.  Much as I love Batman, Robin, and Batgirl, they’ve yet to do an awful lot to impact the story.  Robin and Batgirl are making strides, of course, but Batman remains a largely reactionary presence.  Seeing the villains try to hatch schemes in Riverdale has been delightful, whether it’s invading local culinary establishments:

Or taking advantage of existing rivalries.

Not going to lie: I laughed so hard at this scene.  Archie comics are sharp and funny, yet they also have a timeless innocence to them.  The fact that Archie was most upset about the type of pie Reggie used, and not the pie in the face itself, is hysterical.

Also, side-note: Dan Parent draws some killer cars.  I really dig his Batmobile, but Riddler rides around in a pretty sweet whip that’s as cool and stylish as his trademark suit.

Speaking of, I really enjoyed the visual aesthetic of this book, and it’s pretty successful in marrying two very different styles together.  The more exaggerated features of the Riverdale denizens fit Parent’s style a bit more than the semi-realistic likenesses of the Batman characters, but it works.  The strong inks of J. Bone and the bright, solid colors of Kelly Fitzpatrick really help to marry the two worlds together.  In the best way, it looks very animated, thanks to the thick outlines of the characters and some strong sound effects from Jack Morelli.

While Batman himself doesn’t have quite as much to do as some of the other characters, once he springs into action it’s very Batman-like.  Hopefully he has more of a presence going forward, but for now, this sequence is pretty awesome.

See?  That Batmobile rules.

While it’s loosely plotted, I had a good time with this issue.  It’s not a home run in terms of storytelling, but it really doesn’t need to be either.  This is two beloved properties, each meant solely to entertain, meeting up for the first time.  It’s good, it’s fun, it’s nice, and it’s enjoyable.  Really, that’s everything it needs to be.

BONUS: Another bevy of variant covers.

Recommended if:

  • You love Archie.
  • You love Batman ’66.
  • You want to see some sweet rides.

Overall: Nice in the best possible way, Archie Meets Batman ’66 is plenty of fun.  The plot may be taking a while to get anywhere, as the issue is more a collection of entertaining scenes than a solid narrative, but pretty much all of those scenes are fun to read.  As a fan of Batman, I do wish he had a bit more to do, but as a relative newbie to the world of Riverdale, I’m appreciating the opportunity to get to know characters I only have a passing familiarity with.  It’s a bright, colorful, and funny meeting between two beloved properties, which is exactly what it needs to be.

SCORE: 7.5/10