Casual Comics Review: Batman ’66

How’s a casual comics fan supposed to get into a Batman title nowadays? Last I heard, “Batman” is some kind of multi-national conglomeration. Maybe “Batman ‘66” can deliver that same Bat-action of the TV show without the weight of the continuity and mythology that drowns casual comic readers.

Just one page in and all your favorite memories of the old “Batman” TV series will come rushing back. The first words spoken are from Dick Grayson, and wouldn’t you know he starts out with a “Gosh, Bruce…”? Love it.

Right off the bat, “Batman ‘66” jumps into the thick of things with the Riddler snatching the “Lady Gotham statuette” at a public ceremony in the park. And, unlike darker titles that involve complicated schemes and sewer crawling, The Riddler just flies in on a biplane, drops a dozen gas bombs, and absconds with the statuette – unfurling a banner with a cheeky riddle for Batman and the police to solve.

Robin hooks the tail of the biplane with a batarang and Batman climbs the rope up onto the plane, apparently planning on some good old-fashioned fisticuffs at 5,000 feet.

You thought I was joking, didn’t you.

That’s the kind of action sequence I can get on board with.

For fans of the TV series, all the usual recurring gags, character traits, and verbal tics are accurately reproduced.  You’ll be hearing the voices in your head – the narrator, Chief O’Hara’s obviously staged brogue, and Adam West’s stilted delivery. And it’s glorious.

There are times where the art gets a bit over-stylized for my taste, but it’s in the service of recalling the wackiness of the action from the TV show. I think they’d be a little better off trying to reproduce the TV show and not the pop-art of the ‘60s, but that’s just a small quibble.

The only other complaint I had was a sequence with Bruce, Dick, and Alfred in the Batcave where Bruce has his cowl off. It really blew me away because I don’t recall seeing Adam West ever in the Batman suit, but without the mask.

It just doesn’t look right.

Two sequences really solidified the title as a worthy successor to the TV series. First, the wall-climbing guest cameo gag was well executed. As Dracula peers out the window to see the Dynamic Duo climbing to the top of the “Meow-Wow-Wow” club, there are a couple of corny/kooky one-liners exchanged between Batman and the original “bat man”. Second, Batman’s aside on the importance of strict adherence to the fire code in any nightclub is not only giggle-inducing, but also just plain good advice. It’s the kind of lesson that more comics should contain.

Anyway, it was almost predestined that this comic would earn the Casual Comics Confirmed Awesome certification. While it does call back to the TV series, it’s not a requirement to have seen that show to get the plot. The nostalgia factor helps, but it’s also a comic I can hand my kids and know they’ll enjoy, too.

There’s really not that much more to say about the title. You’re either the kind of person that gets it or you don’t. As for me, I’ll grab subsequent issues when I can without worrying about missing an issue here or there.

–          CCG

One response to “Casual Comics Review: Batman ’66”

  1. Jim Mehsling Avatar

    Glad this got the rating of Awesome! This one is on my pull file. I am really digging the art and the plots are simple but fun, they are totally getting the vibe of the show into the book!

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