Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Batman ’66 Meets Wonder Woman ’77 Review

It’s time to look at the big crossover between the retro Wonder Woman and Batman series. As they both starred in different eras the comic decides to have adventures that take place in both along with a third that he even sooner. It’s cool how the series was able to tackle all 3 eras and even added a sense of continuity by making them all connect to each other in some way or another. If we ever do get a Justice League comic with these characters it would definitely be intense!

The first comic takes place when Batman was still just a child. The Nazi’s wanted to obtain a book he owned that would lead to the Pit of Eternal Youth and many other places including Wonder Woman’s home. Ra’s Al Ghul and his criminal organization also wanted this info. Finally, Wonder Woman and government agent Steve Trevor also showed up to grab it. Batman’s in a little over his head here, but he needs to try and get the book to safety while also looking out for Talia. Although little does he know that Talia can certainly fend for herself as she was already taught much about martial arts when she was a kid.

It’s a fun comic and probably the only time we will see Batman’s parents for a while. Talia was probably the highlight here as it’s a nice look at how she could have been as a hero if not for the guidance of Ra’s. She probably would have been an even better Batgirl than the one we are all used to. Wonder Woman had a pretty easy time mowing down the opposing troops herself. Protecting the kids would probably be the toughest part and even that seemed rather simple for her as well. Even Steve got to contribute a bit.

The middle story has Ra’s make his way to Paradise Island. No man can arrive there without an escort so Batman convinces Catwoman to take them there. The villainess has a rather large role in both the second and third stories as she even gets a redemption arc. Her fans will likely be pleased as she does tend to go back and forth a lot but at the end of the day she always does have a lot of potential for good. Batman is rather skeptical the whole time as he should be, but doesn’t make a scene. He also doesn’t have much choice since she asks for sanctuary on the island and Wonder Woman grants it to her.

There’s not too much to say about this comic as it’s very to the point. The heroes fight with Ra’s and his team. We do get a cameo from Wonder Girl which was cool as she stood up to Ra’s. Naturally the comic does its best to keep Ra’s away from Wonder Woman because he wouldn’t last a second against her in an actual fight. Honestly that’s why Batman’s villains stay back for most of this collection as well. They can give the Dark Knight some trouble, but Wonder Woman? They are of no consequence to her and that’s considering that this isn’t even close to her strongest incarnation.

In the final story we have Wonder Woman head back to Gotham because Ra’s has returned once more. You have to respect the fact that he keeps on coming back for more each time. The guy just never gives up. Unfortunately she finds out that Batman has retired and now Robin is the only fighter left. Wonder Woman can’t accept this and convinces Batman to come out of retirement. Granted, he basically has to make this choice since Ra’s finds out about the Batcave and brings the fight to him. A more serious Bruce Wayne rejoins the fight and it’s a pretty fun climax.

This is the story that ends off the collection and it’s certainly a great pick for it. Aside from the fact that the stories were intentionally chosen in chronological order, it just feels like the most epic adventure from the 3 with the highest stakes. Ra’s is finally taken out of the equation as well so in theory the heroes no longer have to worry about him. That will certainly be a big relief for them.

The characters were all on point as you can probably guess. I’d say that Wonder Woman looks the best here as she looks out for humanity and saves the day many times. Batman isn’t as impressive since he gave up at one point, but did recover quickly and beyond that he looked solid as always. Robin still tries hard whenever he pops up and it was nice to see him as Nightwing. He deserves his share of respect at that point since he is a veteran and the heroes give it to him.

The artwork looks pretty solid throughout the issues. The character models are on point and the action scenes look nice as always. It’s not quite up to par with the mainstream DC adventures but it does a good job of recreating the look of the old shows. The panels all stand out so it’s always easy to see what is happening at a glance. Even though there is quite a lot of pages in this collection, it will all be over very quickly with how solid the writing and pacing are. This will come to no surprise as both individual series were always very good in these two areas though. If anything the writing is why these titles got so big in the first place.

Overall, This collection hits all the right notes. It’s a crossover where both heroes get a lot of tim to shine. It’s definitely interesting to see a more serious Adam West here even if you will miss the light one from the second story. I suppose that is definitely setting him up to play the role of Batman in Justice League as one more people would be familiar with from newer stories. That or since he was re inspired by Wonder Woman, he will go back to his usual style in time. Either way, hopefully we actually do get a Justice League story soon. That would definitely be a lot of fun.

Overall 8/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Batman vs Two Face Review

Adam West really had a good run as Batman. His TV show was very successful to the point where we now have comics and movies being released to ride the nostalgia. They’ve been handled very well and while I wasn’t thrilled with how the first film made Batman evil, this one suffers from no such issue. Considering that it’s likely the final Batman movie with this iconic lead, it’s a great way to go out. The film is really well made and balances the humor and action pretty well. It’s a movie that I can easily recommend to any comic fan or moviegoer.

The film starts off by adapting the classic Two Face origin story. Hugo Strange built a device to suck the evil out of all the villains, but it wasn’t stable so some of the residue got on Harvey Dent. This transformed him into the legendary villain and in a surprise twist he is defeated by Batman and Robin during the opening montage. We skip ahead a little while as there are multiple time skips in the intro of the film. Harvey Dent has been cured and rehabilitated. He has to slowly work up the ranks once again, but vows to keep bringing criminals to justice. At first everything seems to be okay, but then Two Face pops up once again. Batman doesn’t believe that it is Harvey, but Robin believes that Bruce is not able to see the truth that is right in front of him because of his friendship with Dent. However, Robin is not impartial either as he wants to put Dent away since he feels like his friendship to Bruce is now playing second fiddle. Tensions are high!

Two Face is a likable villain from the start. He’s cool as Harvey Dent and as Two Face. As Dent he is a charismatic guy who always takes command of the situation and doesn’t back down from the hero types. Even when Robin tries to intimidate him he comes up with quick counters like Robin’s bed time. It was a great comeback and I wouldn’t want him to try and play nice when the other guy is being mean. Dent also looks really good in the court room and even intimidates Batman which was an intense moment. As Two Face his voice may not have the same impact, but his character is still the same. The coin gimmick is always pretty solid and he’s just an interesting character. Two Face never feels like he’s overstayed his welcome and he is certainly a threat since even his underlings are a match for Batman and Robin. In the Batman ’66 universe, it’s safe to say that he is Batman’s greatest foe. The other villains have been reduced to guinea pigs for Hugo Strange’s experiments.

Batman is a great hero as always. His voice perfectly suits the character and he is shown to be a genius. Batman picks up on all of the clues right away and puts justice above all else. Now when it comes to combat you can tell that Batman is getting older. He has a hard time against paid goons and must get captured almost 10 times in the film when you consider the opening montage. He definitely would have benefitted from a little more prep time in this case. He still has a lot of great gadgets as always though so Batman is still prepared. He handled the evil Robin plot pretty well as to be expected.

Robin spends most of the film being jealous of Harvey. This is good in the sense that Robin gets to throw a lot more burns Harvey’s way as a result and even follows him into an abandoned warehouse by his lonesome. THe downside of this is that Robin is the one who usually ends up getting burned and the whole situation doesn’t go well for him at all. He just seems out of his league the whole time and definitely will have to keep training if he wants to be on Batman’s level. The evil Robin plot was fortunately a lot smaller than I had expected. I was worried he would be evil for a while which would have hurt the dynamic like the first film. Part of what makes Batman ’66 fun is the banter between both Batman and Robin. The show simply wouldn’t have been as fun without one of the two heroes being present.

Catwoman also gets a role in this film. Her dialogue with Batman is always so corny that it’s funny. As a result, I can’t say I mind their romance as much as I would otherwise although I still find it out of character for Batman. If she really does turn good, then I suppose it’s good that Batman never lost hope in her rehabilitation. Of course, would he still have her serve out her jail time or go for a nullification on the grounds of being a hero? She gets to fight in the climax and while Batman seemed to doubt her fighting abilities, I think we’ve seen her as a villain long enough to know that she is definitely a fighter. If the villains have to deal with 3 opponents from now on, Gotham just got a whole lot safer.

Alfred looks really good in this movie so his fans are certainly going to be thrilled. He stands up to the villains and never backs down. He stays stern to the end and does his best to make sure that neither Batman or Robin do something they’ll regret. Aunt Harriett isn’t quite as good though as she doesn’t contribute anything to the film except to annoy everyone. Her role in the first film was a little better when she was caught by Evil Bruce Wayne. Admittedly it was definitely a scene that really worked for the evil plot.

I wouldn’t mind seeing more of the human angle for the next Adam West installment if one were to come out. As it is, this Gotham is a lot happier and less crime infested than the one we’re all used too so it would be cool to see how the heroes interact with everyone on a daily basis. We see Bruce Wayne briefly and there are human scenes around, but it would be interesting to see this Utopia. Gotham seems like a pretty perfect place if we’re being honest so it’s even hard to see how Metropolis could be better. Lets face it, a Batman vs Superman movie in this continuity would be amazing!

The animation is quite solid as you would expect. The character designs are on point and the backgrounds look like something out of a mainstream DC film. After all, the animation is still at that high level for a modern action film, it’s just intentionally drawn to look campy and retro. As a result, it’s a film that still has its usual fun, but looks good while doing it. DC’s always been great with animation and that certainly hasn’t stopped in this film. The soundtrack is also pretty good although less memorable. The themes work well with what is happening on screen and that’s always the important part. It’s not super soft music or something that would distract you from the action.

The film isn’t very long so the pacing is very fast. There’s always something happening and the movie just doesn’t slow down. There are also no negatives to be found here which is quite impressive. I just can’t think of anything I disliked about the movie. I’m sure there are minor nitpicks and the film isn’t a 9 after all, but that’s a case of not enough great elements as opposed to bad ones. The film accomplishes at everything it sets out to do. What you expect from an Adam West Batman movie is a lot of good humor and solid action scenes. We get both in this movie. Who doesn’t like seeing Batman as the ultimate hero who is so over the top that even crossing the street too fast is a violation of rights for him? It’s just great and I can’t stress enough how the voice really sells the performance. That’s why getting another film without Adam West would certainly be risky. I’m sure the writers could handle it snce the writing is also very good, but it may be worth it to call the series something else if that happens. Go for the same tone but put it in a new universe.

Overall, Batman vs. Two Face is a great film. The vs title could be misleading if you were expecting a big fist fight, but I think it’s reasonable to assume that you would be expecting more of a mind battle considering it’s Batman. Two Face can fight when necessary though and does get his action in. The writing is on point and the animation looks good. Batman really gets his full credit and while it wasn’t Robin’s best day, he got a lot of good hits in as well. You really can’t afford to miss this one if you consider yourself to be a big DC fan or a comic fan in general. It’s pretty happy but also transitions well for the serious moments. There’s a nice mystery as to who Two Face is which you can sink your teeth into as you wait for the climax. It’s the perfect blend of why DC is so great.

Overall 8/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Batman ’66 Meets Steed and Mrs Peel Review

Batman 66 comics have always been pretty fun in the past. They have a nice balance of action and wit to keep you guessing throughout the adventure. That’s why I was surprised when this one actually didn’t turn out to be all that good. It’s still fun for the Batman and Robin scenes, but the artwork took a huge nosedive and the characters that the heroes get to meet aren’t too interesting this time around. Considering that these crossovers are quite limited with how many can be produced at a time, it’s a bit of a shame that we wasted one on these guys.

The comic starts off with Catwoman deciding to steal a large diamond. Bruce Wayne and a rich lady happen to be in the area so Catwoman goes after them next. With the lady’s tough talk and banter throughout, I figured that she was Mrs Peel. No, the real Steed and Mrs Peel show up shortly afterwards to try and handle the situation. Robin and Alfred (Dressed as Batman appear as well so the villains are corralled quite nicely. It turns out that this is a bigger plot that is being led by the villains of the Avengers series.

That is really Steed and Mrs Peel’s only cling to fame by the way. The series they are from is actually called The Avengers so at least it sounds impressive to the average comic reader. Their main villains seem to be a large organization that uses Cybernauts (Androids) to do their evil bidding. These cybernauts are now going to destroy the world once they get the diamonds so Batman and Robin have to stop them.

Here’s why the crossover doesn’t work very well. If you thought that the two men from Uncle weren’t too useful, these chaps are even worse. All they do is bicker and banter throughout their appearances. They don’t really contribute at all except for moments where you figure that Batman and Robin should have had the situation under control anyway. They made for rather boring characters in the story and couldn’t really keep your attention. At the very least, that’s why I couldn’t really get behind these guys. I didn’t really warm up to them by the end either. They had a convenient habit of forgetting everything about the villains until Batman and Robin would find out first. By then it’s not as if it really mattered.

One of the good moments of the comic was when the Cybernauts broke into the Batcave. Of course it was the guest stars’ fault again as they didn’t notice that the villains had bugged them. Still, it was pretty intense since I don’t believe a villain had ever gotten inside before in this continuity. Batman and Robin did a good job of holding the fort even against overwhelming odds. The Cybernauts actually have potential as they are henchmen that are actually pretty dangerous in a fight. You can’t say that about most henchmen.

Unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier the art is pretty bad. Until now the Batman ’66 comics have all looked really good. This one looks very rough around the edges and the art style is really no good at all. The character designs are all wrong and the fight scenes suffer as a result. The comic now has to thrive purely on the dialogue. The writing is pretty strong as you’d expect so at the very least that does help the comic quite a bit. I think this author actually liked Robin more than the rest because he looks good for a change. He gives Batman a few ideas and even saves the day once or twice. He’s portrayed as being fairly close to an equal in this adventure so his fans will like that. Batman still looks like the capable leader he always is as well. He’s just more open to suggestions this time around.

The comic had a decent misdirect with the rich lady from the beginning, but once you knew that she wasn’t Mrs Peel it was pretty clear that she had to be one of the villains. Batman was a little too emotionally attached though considering that they barely knew her. He didn’t take the twist very well although I suppose he put up a decent front. Most of the characters didn’t suspect a thing. Mrs Peel finding out his secret identity was a little iffy, but I suppose that usually happens in crossovers for the mutual hype for both franchises.

Overall, This may not have been the best Batman ’66 comic, but the series does set a high bar. It’s still as reasonably entertaining comic and I’d recommend it if you’ve already read the rest of the issues. It had some decent fights and Batman’s always a fun main character. Beyond that, I’d still never recommend this over any of the other volumes to be honest. The crossover just didn’t work and at the end of the day that takes away a considerable amount of the hype behind the volume. I’m still ready for more Batman 66 crossovers though and the only one left is where they meet Wonder Woman. That should certainly be a great team up so it’ll be fun to read it some day.

Overall 6/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Batman ’66 Meets The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Review

It’s time for the next Batman ’66 crossover event! This time he is meeting up with the Men from UNCLE which is interesting since I know nothing about the latter. From how they’re portrayed in the comic, I definitely wouldn’t call them heroes. They also seem a little outgunned next to Batman since they don’t really have any gadgets and appear to be only as tough as the average henchman. Still, I suppose they get enough one liners to keep them afloat and it’s a solid comic either way.

The Men from UNCLE are sent to Gotham after every villain in Arkham Asylum is broken out of jail. The company suspects that Bruce Wayne is involved since he has access to the prison and has enough money to pull this off. The Agents are sent into a party so they can keep an eye on him. Meanwhile, Batman and Robin are puzzled as to who could do such a dastardly thing and quickly head to the scene. The party is a great cover for them since they can just act natural. Well, it turns out that all of the villains are now working with T.H.R.U.S.H. THRUSH is an evil organization that is quite large so the 4 heroes are going to have to team up to take them down.

Unfortunately we don’t get our hero against hero fight this time. I feel like it’s because there is no believable way that Napoleon or Illya could do well against Batman. He should completely outclass them even without his gadgets. Still, it would have been fun. The difference is that both agents already know Batman from his reputation and the characters team up from the start. To counter this, I would have liked to have explored the “Bruce Wayne is a traitor” plot a little more but it’s the only real missed opportunity in the comic. The plot is mentioned but immediately abandoned as the villains attack and Bruce slips into his Batman costume. From here on out they assume that Bruce is probably a good guy since he works with Batman.

The comic also shows us how differently the two teams handle a situation. The agents don’t mind getting civilians involved. It puts them at a slight risk but the agents claim that the end justifies the means and so as long as it works they will keep up this tactic. They also use guns and outright murder all of the henchmen they fight. Unfortunately Batman never gets to witness this. Robin does, but he just takes them at their word that it’s simply how they do business. Again, Batman would never work with these guys if he knew the truth. It’s a shame he didn’t find out since that could have led to a pretty fun fight.

The comics go by really quickly so you’ll be sad when it’s all over. It was nice that most of Batman’s villains were able to get squeezed in. Of course, most of them don’t get much of a role but at least they showed up. The big reveal for who the mastermind is won’t surprise anyone who reads the main Batman comics, but I suppose for fans of ’66 it may be surprising. Lets just say that this traitor knows a few things about villains. He can’t really fight though so it’s good that the minions were at the ready.

The art is quite solid as always. I really like Batman’s design and all of the characters stick out quite well. The pages are easy to read and the action scenes are engaging. This just makes a comic that is already solid even better. There are no real weaknesses in this story and a strength is in its writing. The writing is top notch as you would expect with Batman being a total law abiding citizen the whole time and getting his share of one liners. The Men from UNCLE can seem a little overconfident at times but they still seem like good characters. I just happen to be on Team Batman and enjoy him upstaging them the whole time, but it doesn’t take away from their characters. I’d be interested in reading a retro version of their tales as well.

Overall, This crossover is really good despite the Man from UNCLE not being the most exciting team up yet. The best crossover might still be the Green Hornet as that one perfectly showed why having team vs team fights can be so interesting. I really hope DC continues doing more of these crossovers. At the moment I only have 2 left. I have one coming up that is even more obscure so it’ll be nice to learn more about the franchise through the comic. That review should be coming up relatively soon. If you haven’t read this comic yet then you should do so ASAP. It’s just a quality story that is both action packed and humorous at the same time.

Overall 8/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Batman’66 Volume 5 Review

It’s been a real pleasure reading the Batman’66 comics. They’ve all been really fun to read and this is a period in Batman’s career that deserved the extra exposure. Unfortunately, this is the final volume of the main series. It had a really good run to last this long, but it’s all over now. It ended on a pretty high note with this volume though and at least I still have 3 more crossovers to read. Until those are done, I can take solace in the fact that there is more Adam West to come.

Most of the issues here have 2 adventures so the collection is able to fit in quite a lot. As such I won’t go into all of the adventures, but I’ll at least touch on most of them. The first story is more of a short than anything else as we see a few kids dress up on Halloween and try to emulate the Dynamic Duo. They stand up to bullies and give everyone a fair shake. They may not get the candy in the end, but Batman and Robin are nice enough to make it up to them. As Batman points out, being a nice person is its own reward, but it’s still fun to receive some candy. It’s a nice little story that perfectly captures Batman’s character. His heroic nature is why he’s such a great character here.

In a more intense story, Solomon Grundy shows up. He is nigh invulnerable so the heroes have a little trouble with him. Fortunately, Batman is prepared for all contingencies and knows that Grundy can’t really handle a good zap. Being alive, albeit temporarily, was just too much for his system to get used too. That’s why it’s tough being an undead fighter sometimes. What do you do about such a thing? As for the Clayface story that followed. The heroes just confuse him quite a bit. The climax may have been a bit weak there as I don’t see Clayface being fooled so easily, but as long as it gets him out of their hair. He was pretty dangerous so it’s fortunate that they stopped him.

One of the more entertaining stories was when all of Gotham’s biggest villains got together and decided to improve their PR. Fortunately, Barbara Gordon worked there so she tricks them into bickering with each other until the cops can come to arrest them. Remember the good ole days when the cops could actually take down foes like the Joker, Penguin, Catwoman, and the Riddler? This was definitely back in the days where they got a lot of hype like this. The stories aren’t meant to be taken too seriously so don’t overthink this. Just roll with it and remember that when you’re creating a name for a company, you should have a neutral initial to start it off.

Bane finally made his debut in another comic and even had the famous scene where he breaks Batman’s back. Of course this Dark Knight thought ahead and had a batarang near his back which absorbed the impact and saved him from being crippled. It was certainly a fortunate event and as Batman always points out, it’s best to be prepared for all eventualities. It was certainly a good motto to live by this time. Bane was a wrestler here which makes sense as it gives him a good reason to be so formidable. He ends up getting overwhelmed by sheer numbers in the end, but I definitely liked his portrayal. He was certainly a nice threat and maybe the strongest Batman villain in the series. At least, the strongest human.

After a quick battle with Killer Croc, a villain decided to have a big team up. She’s known as the Mom or something like that. She frees a bunch of villains and gives the heroes so much trouble that they let her share a cell with her kids. It’s one of the few times Batman compromises with the villains so that’s quite a feat in itself. Still, he makes a nice speech to help us realize that it actually was the right choice in the end. It was a pretty fun comic and I’m always up for villain team ups.

The team ups kept coming in the last two adventures. In one, Catwoman showed up to help the heroes stop Solomon Grundy and Killer Croc. She apparently had not been using her full strength until now so the heroes were pretty surprised. Of course, Batman admitted that he had been holding back against her as well. It was interesting to see her on the same side as Batman for once although you can’t really imagine it lasting. The final issue was everything you could want in a finale. All of the villains team up again, but Riddler rats them out so Batman takes em all down. It was a pretty huge ensemble of villains so for Batman to take them all down was most impressive. Slow and steady wins the race after all, just pick off a few of them and keep it moving. Eventually you’ll have am all down. The comic also had a guest star for the heroes as Batgirl showed up to lend a helping hand. The only big character to not appear was Aunt Harriett. I forget if that was her actual name, but the nice little lady that always tried to find out Batman’s secret identity. It would have been fun to have had her show up.

The Batman issues have always been pretty fun and played the humor out pretty well. This volume is no exception as the characters unleash epic one liner after one liner. It’s definitely my kind of humor as the heroes are so ultra heroic, but don’t seem to notice. They just act natural about it and there’s no annoying character constantly getting shocked about this or pointing out how crazy it is. It’s just the norm in this fair city and even the police wonder what they would do without the duo. The setting is just perfect and it always makes me tempted to go watch the TV show. I can see why this was such a big success back in the day.

The art is also pretty solid as you’d expect. The characters are all looking pretty sharp and the backgrounds are pretty good. The comic does a good job of making everyone look like their older show appearances. The art is always easy to read so you can really appreciate what is happening. Mix that in with the excellent writing and you just have a really good recipe for success. It’s why the collection is such a blast to read through. It’s just got everything you could want in a comic.

Overall, You probably know what to expect from a Batman’66 comic by now. It’s more or less the same as the previous collections and that’s a good thing. Don’t fix what isn’t broken right? It’s a pretty solid rule that I stand by and while taking risks can pay off…it is called a risk for a reason. The issues did also have some more outlandish foes like Clayface and Solomon Grundy which was interesting to see in this setting. I’m definitely looking forward to the crossover with Wonder Woman as well since that is bound to be a blast and she is certainly a lot more Super than most of the characters they have to deal with. If you’ve somehow never read a Batman’66 comic before and don’t understand what all the fuss is about, it’s time for you to start with this one!

Overall 8/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders Review

This was a movie that I definitely had high hopes for. I’ve always been a huge fan of the Adam West depiction of Batman and seeing it come back in movie format was quite the treat. Recently I got to read most of the trade paperbacks for the current Batman’66 comics (I’m behind by a volume now, but that’ll change at some point) and it just reminded me how cool he was. The film does a great job of bringing the characters back with minimal changes although it is also a huge missed opportunity because it breaks away from what made the series great towards the middle. More on that in a bit, but this is still a very good film that I recommend checking out.

The film starts off with business as usual for the daring crime fighters. They foil another plot by Catwoman, Penguin, Riddler, and the Joker. It’s a close fight though since the villains don’t play by the rules and have a lot of henchmen as well. Still, things are going smoothly until Robin notices that Batman is acting a little differently than usual. He’s quoting Frank Miller and using more extreme methods of taking down the villains. It would seem that Batman has now defected to the side of evil so Robin must team up with Catwoman to stop him. Can this unlikely pair defeat Batman or are they doomed before they have even begun?

So, that’s the missed opportunity that I talked about. Batman turning evil takes away from some of the fun because the whole point of what makes Adam West so cool is seeing Batman reprimand everyone and show why he is the perfect citizen. Nothing gets to Batman and he even obeys the smallest laws possible like not walking through a busy intersection. Batman’s antics and great quotes are the best part of the film, but we lose them by the halfway point since he is now evil. It was a risky move and I’m afraid that it did not pay off. As such, the first half of the film is far better than the second. The second half isn’t bad of course, but it is certainly a lot weaker.

I don’t really need to talk about Batman much because you get the memo by now. He’s an awesome hero. As a villain he is fairly interesting as well. The voice actor always does a good job with him and why not? West has a lot of experience voicing the character even though it’s been so many years. Batman may be a little naive and gullible when it comes to Catwoman, but every hero has a weakness of some sort. As far as that goes, this isn’t all that bad.

Robin’s a great sidekick and nice foil to Batman’s character. He’s the guy who always makes the small mistakes so then Batman has to reprimand him. Robin means well though so you can’t really hold it against him. His heart’s in the right place and he also sticks up for Alfred when Batman starts to go over the top. It’s easy to see why Robin’s always been such a fan favorite, this is one of his best depictions. Commissioner Gordon and the Mayor were also fun to have around. They are pretty open about how much they depend on Batman and they do tend to be lost without him. You need a Dark Knight to save the day from even the smallest of crimes when the cops are used to hanging in the background. It backfires a little when Batman turns evil, but at least they took it in stride.

Joker and the gang are also fun. This is the classic Joker that I’ve missed. He isn’t afraid to throw a few punches, but never forgets the one liners. The Riddler may love his riddles, but he does resist the urge to give one to Batman when the plan is fully in motion. Penguin has slightly less character than the others, but he’s a fighter and doesn’t go down easy. As for Catwoman, she mostly uses Batman’s emotions against him to take the upper hand. It’s a viable strategy though and if it works…it works. The 4 villains make for a very potent team and I don’t believe that Two Face will be able to top them in the sequel.

Aunt Harriet is one of those characters that I sort of miss from the old days. She can be super annoying so on one hand it is cool to not have her around anymore. On the other hand, it was interesting to have someone on the inside who was always trying to figure out Batman’s true identity. She really came close many times so I think it’s safe to say that she is a great security risk. One of the best scenes was when Batman arrived in the nick of time to prevent her from picking up the red phone. It did cost Alfred quite dearly, but he really shouldn’t have allowed her to get anywhere near that room. Surely Batman should have had some better defenses in place as well. The characters should all share the blame on that one. Aunt Harriet is certainly persistent with how she constantly goes after Batman and Robin.

There are a lot of stand out moments in this film. Again, the voice acting is excellent and so is the writing. This makes for a lot of really good scenes and Batman is excellent at sarcasm. The brief period where he is still a hero, but a slightly meaner one is also handled well. He’s grumpy, but still reasonable. I would have been more satisfied with the plot if he had stayed at that level instead of becoming totally corrupt. His “Frank Miller” fight scene against the villains was also pretty fun. You can’t help, but feel bad for them by the end of it though. They’re just not used to this level of violence from the normally polite and mild mannered Batman.

The animation is pretty sharp, yet familiar. The designs transition into animation very smoothly. The movie doesn’t get to show off its animation all that much, but it’s crisp enough where you can tell that it is good anyway. This movie’s audio is also quite good with the classic Adam West theme popping up and a lot of other retro tunes that you will associate with this era of comics. It helps to complete the package as a great retro event.

Overall, Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders is a return to greatness. While the second half weakens it a bit, the film just barely manages to cling to its high score. I have been less than thrilled with a lot of the recent DC films so this was a really nice change of pace. I do think that it was an improvement over the first Batman Unlimited film as well. I’m definitely glad to hear that there is already a sequel in development. This could potentially be a nice long movie series if DC plays their cards right. If you’ve never seen the Adam West show before then I super highly recommend this. You’ll be in for quite the surprise when you see this depiction of Batman. It’s very unique and like nothing that you will have ever seen before. Even if you don’t really follow comics, I recommend checking this film out for the strong dialogue and good technical qualities throughout. If the sequel plays it straight through and through, prepare for an even greater film next time. I have really high hopes for that one so I’m hoping that it can deliver!

Overall 8/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Batman’66 Volume 3 Review

I always liked Adam West’s portrayal of Batman. It felt on point and felt natural. This is the Batman that I remembered, making lots of puns and having a good time while taking down villains. That being said, the serious Batman from New 52 or the DCAU is certainly a classic as well. Both versions certainly work well when given a good story to back themselves up. Volume 3 of Batman’66 plays out as you would expect it too. It doesn’t take any risks and simply follows the formula along. As such, nothing’s unexpected, but it’s still a good story like the first two volumes.

This one brings 6 issues so let’s take a look at hoe they fared. One of them saw an old Egg themed villain return, but he has now evolved to a level where he can use his mind for abilities like telepathy. Batman and Robin must now figure out a way to defeat this foe since the guy can basically defeat them with a glance. This won’t be easy…that’s for sure. My problem with this issue is simply the fact that the villain was portrayed to be way too powerful. Defeating the heroes with a glance is just too much and as a result, it’s hard to really believe the ending. It felt like plot hax was everywhere. That’s why you never want to make villains too powerful unless the heroes get some kind of power up as well.

One of the better stories definitely involved a big Batman robot that will help make Gotham city a nicer place. Batman trains the robot and decides to leave it to its own devices. The moral involves how robots can’t adapt to the situation, which you probably could have guessed from the get go. It’s obvious, but still fitting and I was glad that the robot didn’t randomly turn evil. I was actually expecting that the entire time so I was glad to be proven wrong. Maybe this was the best story in the collection.

Another issue involved a team up between the Penguin and Widow Black. These two are a dangerous tag team and actually defeat the heroes rather easily. The part that I don’t really buy is how quickly the Penguin betrayed her. Sure, Batman reminded him that he would be betrayed eventually, but didn’t he realize that from the get go? I feel like the writers had no idea on how to save the heroes since Batman and Robin were literally put in a sticky situation. Regardless of how realistic that ending may have been, it was good to see a new(ish) villain to the series. This isn’t her first appearance in media or anything like that, but I definitely don’t remember this villain so it’s probably been a while. She’s not the greatest, but more variety is a good thing.

Another all star is definitely the issue where a TV show of Batman and Robin is produced. This leads to a lot of dicey moments for the heroes since villains are beginning to fear them. They don’t want that. This isn’t the 90’s after all! They decide to shut down the program, but find out that it is being run by a villain. This was certainly an entertaining story and I always like the idea of villains using TV to wreck the heroes. It is a solid strategy and almost worked. If anything, the villain should have stayed undercover a little longer. The heroes wouldn’t have dared to have attacked him. A running gag was that the heroes would do “The Bat Business” to the villains, which makes them cower in fear. Considering that the heroes reluctantly hit the villains a little, it could be anything. I feel the comic was hinting towards tickling and that used to be a big joke back in the day, but thankfully that era has passed.

Next up, we saw the return of Batgirl! Batman and Robin are always eager to have another hero to help out, even if it makes Robin look a little worse in comparison. The Joker and Catwoman are teaming up this time so that means double trouble for the heroes. I’ll admit that this comic was surprisingly uneventful though. I can’t really remember the plot even after seeing the cover and the summary. I just remember Batgirl being in it and the quick team up as the heroes had to break up some fights. Not a bad comic, but not really a very good one either. Still, it is a Batman’66 comic that basically follows all the tropes so it’s your standard stuff.

Finally, Marsha decides to leave the Brady Bunch and make a name for herself. She wants all the jewels in the world and actually manages to enter the Bat Cave!!! Luckily for the heroes, She decides not to go for his secret identity since the cops could have been alerted. Not her best decision, but now the Dark Knight can rest easy as he takes her down once and for all. The villains weren’t actually that tough as Marsha can’t fight, but the tension of her possibly knowing his identity (Or coming close) really makes the issue.

It was a fine collection of issues. This volume’s definitely not as good as the Green Hornet crossover, but that…was a crossover. You can’t expect the normal volumes to come close. As far as going against volumes 1 and 2, I’d say that 3 is more of less the same. The thing with Batman’66 is that almost all of the issues are essentially interchangeable. It all comes down to whether you like the style or not. I still love seeing all of the puns and Batman ends up putting everyone in their place even when he only fights reluctantly. He wants to help all of the villains out after all. He makes for a great lead. Robin’s mostly just here to get humiliated and you can feel bad for the guy, but I suppose that he tries. He just tends to almost let the secret identity out a lot, which can certainly be disastrous.

The cover may be very underwhelming, but the art in the actual issues is still solid. It’s easy to really get into the flow of things and you’ll feel like you’re back in the 1960’s. The art does a good job of emulating the classic style and the overall comic is better off for it. I doubt it’s very difficult to draw from the artist’s perspective compared to other styles, but the finished product is really what counts.

Overall, This is a solid continuation from the first two volumes. At this point, you know whether you like the comics and its premise or not. It’s a lot of fun and is filled with many puns, but some Batman fans may still not be used to this happy version of the character. It’s a comedy over action volume as that is the direction that the series is typically focused on. It works quite well and I know what I want to happen in volume 4. We need Superman to appear. This series is typically very realistic, but now that it’s in comic format, I feel like adding Superman wouldn’t be super out of place. It could actually work if handled well…don’t you think?

Overall 7/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Batman’66 Meets The Green Hornet Review

The classic incarnation of Batman is back once again in a crossover with the Green Hornet. As soon as I saw this collection, I knew that I had to check it out. The Adam West Batman show was pretty great and the comics have done a good job of capturing why this series is so much fun. As good as the first two Batman collections were, this one is the best. Whether it is the added hype of the crossover effect or just the fact that the writing has gotten better, this is one collection that you don’t want to miss.

It was just another day for Batman and Robin until they learned that some rare items were leaving from Gotham to another city. Bruce Wayne felt personally responsible for this and decided to go onto the train as well. Gotta keep up the Wayne reputation right? The Green Hornet in his alter ego also decided to come along under the pretense of a story for his newspaper. The two heroes try to out hype each other as they brag about the local heroes (or villains in the Green Hornet’s case) until someone breaks into the train. The General has arrived and his glue weapons could mean the end for the Dynamic Duo. Batman and Robin prepare to stop him, but the Green Hornet is in their way. As far as Batman and Robin know, the Green Hornet is just another criminal. Can Batman drop him while also dealing with the real villains? Speaking of which, the General is not alone. He is joined by the Joker and stopping both of them will be difficult.

This comic is a blast to read from start to finish. It really feels like you are looking at a new Batman episode from the good ole days. The heroes are constantly making puns, but also reminding each other about defending the law. Batman can barely even stand the thought of working alongside the Green Hornet since the masked man is a known criminal. Seriously, the comic is incredible and the dialogue is easily top notch. You’ll thoroughly enjoy the issues and even the villains have honor as they outsmart the heroes using technicalities instead of tricks.

It almost goes without saying that Batman makes for an excellent main character. He really embodies truth, justice, and the American Way in this collection. He always stands up for what’s right and he gives everyone a fair shake. It’s just what he does and Batman never backs down from a fight. The Green Hornet may have surprised him in round 1, but it’s safe to say that Batman bounced back from that. In a fair fight, I don’t think that the Green Hornet would last very long. Batman also proved that his Batcave and its gadgets are better than the Green Hornet’s.

Robin is essentially the Yes Man on Batman’s group. He always agrees with Batman although you can hardly blame him since the Dark Knight tends to always be right about everything. Robin’s a good sidekick and this is really how he should be portrayed. He can fight and he’s also smart, but he’s just not ready to match Batman in those categories yet. Give him a little time and then he’ll be all ready to roll. His counterpart in the form of Kato wasn’t quite as likable. I found him to be rather arrogant and undeservingly so since he’s not a great fighter. I’d say that he’s weaker than Robin when you think about it. He likes to quote philosophers to psych out the opponents and get some subtle burns in. Kato’s not a bad character per say, but I do find him to be rather annoying. Of course, it helps that I’m on team Robin so the burns get personal.

As for the Green Hornet, he’s a fun hero to have around. He’s similar to Batman although he’s not nearly as heroic. The Hornet is still a hero, but he pretends to be a villain to deal with the crooks. I wonder if it’s a plan that Batman would approve of since it skirts the lines of the law. Telling Batman his secret would have saved them all a lot of hassle, but I can see why he wouldn’t want to divulge such a big secret so easily. So, I don’t blame him for that. The Hornet is a fun foil to Batman and I’m guessing that his old comics would probably be a lot of fun as well. I wonder if he has an ongoing at the moment to match up with the Batman’66 stories.

The art on the covers is trying very hard to look like it’s a live action piece to match the TV show. I’m not crazy about how it looks so I’m glad that the art inside of the issues is normal. It flows rather easily and while Batman’s uniform can still take a little getting used too, it looks sharp. Likewise with the rest of the cast. The art is simple and managed to pull off the TV show vibe that they are going for. The fights are certainly fun to look at.

I almost forgot to mention the villains! The Joker definitely looks like the mastermind of the operation even if he doesn’t get as much screen time as The General. The Joker can hold his own and I was satisfied with his portrayal as he showed a good amount of wit and skill. The General isn’t quite as charismatic and comes off as a generic villain. That being said, his plan was quite good and it would have succeeded against the average hero although the final demand for the millions was rather suspicious.

Naturally, Batman and Robin ended up fighting Green Hornet and Kato on one occasion. The battle was a quick one hit knockout so Batman and Robin fans would likely be disappointed by it. I can safely say that I wasn’t thrilled by it either. Although things essentially equaled out by the end, I just don’t see such a tactic working on the Dynamic Duo. If you ask me, Batman and Robin would win the fight quite easily and you could say that they had the upper hand in all of the other skirmishes. While the outcome wasn’t quite as accurate as I could have hoped, I appreciate the fact that the crossover actually picked a winner instead of making it a generic stalemate. Nothing’s worse than a tie…

Overall, This is a great crossover! From how the characters are portrayed in the collection, I have a feeling that each comic title could holds its own. I’ve already read two Batman’66 volumes so I can say with confidence that it is a good series. I haven’t read any Green Hornet issues so far, but if there are any retro styled ones where the characters act like they do in this collection, it would definitely be a lot of fun. If you’re a Batman fan, you really need to pick this title up. The constant stream of quality dialogue will keep you going and the art is sound. This is a style that I hope more comics emulate in the future and hopefully the library will pick up more collections for the Batman series.

Overall 8/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Batman’66 Volume 2 Review

Considering that some pretty major villains appear in this volume, I have to wonder why King Tut would make the cover. It’s certainly not a great way to increase sales and I can only imagine that they must have thought that the Crocodile scene was simply too memorable to pass up. It’s not the cover that I would have chosen, but it still shows that there will be a lot of danger involved in these adventures!

Batman and Robin may have survived their encounters with the Joker and Mr Freeze in the last volume, but it looks like they are back! Mr Freeze decides to stop making ice cream for the kids and he goes into the air conditioning market. Everyone quickly buys his portable tech to keep themselves cool during the winter, but it turns out that it was simply a trap to freeze Gotham city! Batman and Robin quickly get on the case. Another tale involves the return of the Joker as he decides to maximize his earnings by minimizing his staff. Can the Joker really beat the Dynamic Duo with his own pair of two? It’ll certainly be a battle!

Aside from the more popular villains, we also get some that you have probably never heard of before. King Tut is one of them and it’s hard to tell whether he really has been reincarnated or if he’s just loony. My money’s on the latter option of course, but at least he talks a good game. Let’s just say that Batman and Robin will have to watch out for his Crocodiles. Zelda presents them with a more difficult challenge as she puts them in impossible situations to see how they can possibly escape. One of them involves a bunch of scorpions heading towards the Dark Knight as he is trapped up to his neck in sand. Definitely a tricky predicament!

Well, this collection is about as good as the last volume. It still has that witty banter that you likely miss from the old days. One scene makes for a perfect example. Robin is giving a speech to the Police Force and Bruce mentions how Batman would be proud of him. Robin quickly exclaims “Bruce!” and then catches himself. They then whisper in front of the crowd about how close that was since their secret identities were almost shattered. Batman reminds Robin that mistakes build character and they wrap up their conversation.

This is something that we saw a whole lot of in the old Superman comics. People wouldn’t come close to breaking his secret identity so many times, but he did love to remind the readers that Clark Kent was Superman, but nobody could ever know this. Likewise with the old Spiderman comics. So, it’s good to see this occurring in the Batman series as well. It’s just so preposterous to see Robin shattering his identity like that that it really just makes you get into the comic. It’s fun because it’s not possible.

Another thing to look at is the fact that Robin is giving a speech to the Police Force. You simply wouldn’t see something like that nowadays. Perhaps in a different setting, but not quite like this. Everyone respects Robin as a legitimate crime fighter and there are no extremely smart cops to ruin his parade. Batman and Robin were heroes back in these days and they definitely were not known as vigilantes.

The writing in the comic is pretty excellent as well. It really captures the essence of how the dialogue was back in the 60’s. Robin is always exclaiming in wonder or shock about something and Batman always has a cool response that you figure he must have been practicing for a while. Batman is still an expert in just about everything and the genius is rarely outmatched. The condescending way that he speaks to everyone at times can be epic as well. His Bruce Wayne form is also great because he doesn’t have to put on an act. Back in the day, Bruce Wayne was just as noble as Batman!

Batman’s portrayal is naturally spot on and Robin looks pretty good as well. You may question the scene where the Dynamic Duo are taken out in one shot by Zelda, but they simply didn’t have enough prep time. It was more embarrassing to see Robin lose in a straight fight against 4-5 henchmen. They’re just average joes so Robin should have had this one…in theory. Batgirl does a pretty good job of solving the mystery when Batman is busy and she definitely seems like a good character who simply doesn’t have a whole lot of screen time.

From the villains, they’re mostly pretty good. I didn’t care for King Tut as I never liked the villains who think that they are someone else. (Happens twice since a Cleopatra also strikes back in the final comic) They just aren’t very interesting. King Tut doesn’t like to witness any violence so he just leaves Batman to his demise, which ultimately backfires. Mr. Freeze isn’t quite as good as in the first volume since he’s definitely less sympathetic and his goals just aren’t interesting. He wants to make Gotham frozen so everyone can know how he feels. It’s definitely a tad generic to say the least. Joker just wants to do your average villain deeds, which is good enough for his character.

There is a plot line that basically gets thrown out to the curb though. What happened to the girl who went with Zelda? She was originally Robin’s friend and then she got interested in the world of showbiz. From there, things got dicey for her as she fled when Batman and Robin beat Zelda. She is never seen again so I guess we can assume that she turned to a life of crime. It’s a rather somber ending for the 60’s and I wonder if she ever will appear again.

Once again, I do have to criticize the art. It just doesn’t look very good and I would expect better from a retro callback title. The art actually seems to shift a little from comic to comic and the worst one is near the end as it’s supposed to be trippy or an acquired taste. I don’t plan on acquiring any more art tastes so it simply wasn’t for me. The Batgirl story at the end probably had the best art since it had more of a modern flair, but it seems that this may just be the case for the final story of all the Batman’66 collections. I’ll keep you informed as I progress through the series.

Overall, Batman’66 Volume 2 continues with a pretty strong collection of stories. They’re a fun tribute to the olden days and we certainly get a lot of action in these adventures. The characters are essentially all in character. Batman and Robin make for entertaining leads and the comic is long enough that it shouldn’t feel like you lost your money’s worth. It’s definitely good to see Adam West’s Batman live on and I look forward to seeing what future installments of this series have in store for us. I do have to wonder if the mysterious man from volume 1 will be making an appearance anytime soon though. I definitely recommend this comic to anyone who wants to see what a humorous comic from the olden days is like or for anyone who just likes to read about Batman.

Overall 7/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Batman’66 Volume 1 Review

The Batman 1966 series was pretty legendary back in the day. I never really got to check it out as much as I would have liked, but I did see the film and it was pretty solid. They did a good job of portraying Batman as a genius there. Deciding to revisit that continuity with a new comic series was a pretty great move on DC’s part and it makes for a nice read. It’s not going to be remembered as a game changer in the comic industry, but it’s a lot of fun to read and that’s what counts in the end.

There are several stories in this graphic novel and they’re all basically self contained. There is a plot that’s hidden beneath the surface and it’s slowly going forward, but it could be a while until we see it unfold. Let’s just say that someone has big plans and he’s going to take Batman down! (Or so he thinks) This villain stands out because he is completely serious at the moment while everyone else is still stuck in the 60’s. In a good way of course and the meet up should be epic!

One arc involves the Joker as Batman is forced to ask for his assistance when a new villain comes to town. Joker will be used as bait and he appears to be innocent this time. That being said…is the Joker ever innocent? Another story features Mr Freeze and the Penguin as they make an Iceberg and convince the United Nations that it should be considered as an independant land. That means that the police can’t stop them! Batman’s really going to have to think now. Other stories feature villains like the Mad Hatter, Catwoman, and more. One of the more interesting stories had Batman, Robin, and Alfred travel to England. It’s always fun to see the heroes in a new setting and I imagine that England typically doesn’t get a lot of superhero action in their neighborhoods so it was probably pretty cool to see the heroes. The Clock King is not to be underestimated there!

My one big complaint with the comic would probably be the artwork. They are trying to give it a retro feel so that you can be reminded of the old TV show, but that is already achieved with the sound effects. If handled right, retro art could have been great, but it just looks sloppy at times. Particularly the facial expressions can be a little dicey at times and it looks like more of a quick cash in comic than a work of art.

None of the stories are really uninteresting and that’s a good thing since it can always be risky for a series to have too many stand alone issues. One bad or boring story is enough to bring the entire collection down at times. Batman does get knocked around a few times though and it can be a little hard to see him getting beaten up upon by random henchmen, but I suppose that this is how it’s supposed to be sometimes. The old Batman would always win in the end, but he also took some big hits. You have to take the good with the bad in this case.

This is one of those times where the Joker looks decently good. He has a pretty well thought out plan and he’s a decent fighter since he holds his own against Batman. He’s certainly more interesting than the Penguin and he was probably one of the best villains here. Of course, Mr Freeze is pretty epic as well. He also gets to take on Batman and I may as well say that he does a very good job during the fight.

Catwoman doesn’t really stick to one side all that much as she just goes with the flow. She teams up with Batman against the Riddler, but she alters her plans towards the end once a bigger goal appears. Luckily, Batman had prep time so let’s just say that he wasn’t duped like we may have feared. The Riddler is pretty cool here and the riddles are certainly tough to solve.

Actually, the riddles are fairly infamous since they can be pretty impossible to solve at times. Batman just strings together a lot of random sentences until he happens to get to the right answer. It’s one of those things that feels like it must have been a parody even back in the 60’s. Would viewers actually believe that Batman was making logical sense? I suppose that it doesn’t matter all that much though because it still shows that Batman is a super genius in the comics. He can solve just about any riddle, He can beat up any fighter, and he is also rich. That’s how you make a main character!

Robin is a decent sidekick and he helps the readers follow the events as he narrates as much of the situation as possible. He’s typically in shock over what’s happening, but he still lends a helping hand when necessary. He actually gets his own adventure at one point and he plays a decent role when the heroes go to England. Which reminds me that Alfred was certainly a solid supporting character. He’s not the boastful type, but he doesn’t mind admitting just how good he is. He is a valuable asset during the trip to Britain and he certainly doesn’t back down from danger.

Overall, Batman’66 does a good job of capturing the happy tone of the old DC comics as well as Batman’s spot on personality. He’s always ready for whatever the villain is about to do and his confidence never wavers. There’s nothing here that pushes the envelope or causes you to take a step back. It’s just like being back in the Silver or Golden age of comics and those times were pretty fun for comic readers. Who didn’t grow up watching the original Batman show? I definitely recommend this comic if you want to see how Batman used to be. The only drawback is the art, but it’s not downright terrible so you should still be just fine.

Overall 7/10