Batman ’66 Meets Steed and Mrs Peel Review

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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

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

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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

Batman’66 Meets The Green Hornet Review

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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

Batman’66 Volume 2 Review

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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

Batman’66 Volume 1 Review

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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