There are two Batman (or Batfamily) books out this week that are high energy and with lots of forward momentum. While one is better than the other, they are both incredibly entertaining issues that will please fans of both properties.
The superior issue, for the record, is Young Justice #1, which takes already high expectations and exceeds them by being everything you could possibly want in a way you may not have expected.
The other issue is the final installment of Archie Meets Batman ’66, which bears all of the miniseries’ strengths and weaknesses, yet ends the story on a pleasant note.
When last we saw our heroes, Batman had been captured by the United Underworld, leaving Robin, Batgirl, and the youths of Riverdale with the task of saving the city. The story picks right up where it left off, and the narrative is effectively non-stop action and excitement from the get-go. Like the rest of the series, it’s pretty light on story, but it more than makes up for it in charm and fun.
I’m… sure it’s not a spoiler to say that our heroes win in the end. Of course Batman isn’t going to fall before his foes, no matter how devious their Machiavellian machinations may be. And of course the final confrontation between the forces of good and evil would involve elements as diverse as superheroics and dance parties.
Those wacky, pop-art elements are all a part of Batman ’66 and Archie. Nostalgia filtered through bright colors and happy endings are ingrained in the DNA of both properties. You don’t come to either series looking to be surprised; you come looking to have a good time. To that end, it delivers.
I wouldn’t say it’s a secret weapon, as the visual aspect of comics storytelling is just as important as the writing on the page, but Dan Parent, J. Bone, Kelly Fitzpatrick, and Jack Morelli carry a lot of the weight when it comes to just how fun this book has been. I loved the different sound effects that Morelli used in his lettering, with the different fonts and styles evoking the iconic fight scenes of the Batman television show. They also play off Fitzpatrick’s bright color palette, which itself is clean and smooth.
Parent’s pencils and staging are great, particularly in how he lays out his panels and depicts action scenes. Some of his figure work in this issue is lacking a lot of detail, like Catwoman above and some of the background characters below, but when he’s on he is on. If nothing else, this is some of the best vehicular mayhem since Batman: White Knight.
You think I’m being hyperbolic? Check out this sweet whip.
No. I am not being hyperbolic. I never exaggerate when it comes to Batman ’66.
If that’s not enough, the ever-escalating craziness culminates in the Archie crew donning costumes to fight crime alongside Gotham’s guardians. I do wish this aspect had been taken a bit further, and even more that they referred to the Archie gang by their superhero names. A quick Google sorted out the various monikers (for the record: Archie is Pureheart the Powerful, Betty is Superteen, Veronica is Miss Vanity, Jughead is Captain Hero, Reggie is Evilheart, and Moose is
Sir Not Appearing in This Crossover Mighty Moose), so it wasn’t too hard finding out what “PH” was supposed to mean, but it would have been nice to have it in the text here.
Parker and Moreci both write these characters well, though it’s the Archie gang that feels a little more on-brand. Batman, Robin and Batgirl don’t make much of an impression in this issue, taking a backseat to their rogues and the Riverdale crew. It’s not the worst thing in the world, and it’s not that they’re poorly written, I just wish there had been a few more ’66-style one-liners and jokes thrown in.
It’s no matter, though. This series was an easy read, and that’s all it needed to be. I had a good time, which isn’t exactly the worst thing you could say about a comic. If you like Batman ’66 and Archie, chances are, you’ll have a good time too. That’s what matters.
Bonus: One more batch of variants, this time from Joe Giella, Jerry Ordway, Dan Parent, Ruben Procopio, and Greg Smallwood. The main cover is, of course, from the inimitable Michael and Laura Allred.
- You love Batman ’66.
- You love Archie.
- You just love lighthearted, good-natured fun.
Overall: This may be “more of the same,” but that’s okay when “the same” is a good time reading comics. There’s nothing earth-shattering or mind-blowing about this issue or the crossover as a whole. Instead, it’s simply a fun meeting between two properties that each exist entirely for the purposes of entertainment and enjoyment. It’s good Batman ’66, it’s good Archie, and it’s just a good time all around.