With all of this Star Wars madness filling our days and nights, and – our social media pages, ad nauseum; and – Trek fans feeling decidedly – er…’doomed,’ after the release of the heavily-disfavored Star Trek: Beyond trailer (re- igniting the wrath of Khan-lovers the world-over), I needed a distraction. I was delighted, then, to finally get a copy of Batman ’66, Volume 4 – (above). I’d been anxious to read it for months, and, believe me, it is just as brilliant as I imagined it would be. Plus, it has some extra-magic, that I was not expecting: Harlan Ellison‘s entire, ‘unaired’ one-shot, ‘The Two-Way Crimes of Two-Face,’ as adapted by Len Wein; including the Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez sketchbook and all of the other added-bonus materials. (Note: This ‘special’ volume is $24.99; Comixology’s digital-download is $16.99).
I love these hardbound-volumes that DC is putting out for this series. I mean, those ‘ALL RED’ covers are fantastic; really showcasing the series’s unique flavor, tropes and colorful characters – right down to Cesar Romero‘s mustache.
In addition, each volume includes the variant covers for each issue represented, (as well as other goodies). As for the interior-art, the pages ‘POP’ with color; spectacular panels, capturing the look, feel and vibe of the show with stunning detail and zeal.
With more-and-more licensing agreements being reached, the comic book (as a whole) has evolved; the artists have been able to use most of the actors’ likenesses, giving the comic book a greater-depth of realism. Hence, Mike Allred using Adam West and Burt Ward‘s likenesses on his tribute ‘toy’cover for this issue – (below).
But, the real stars of this comic book relaunch are the writers, who have lovingly created some newly-inspired, very entertaining, innovative stories, bringing out my inner-child with every William Dozier inset. They have all brought out the best from the shows; even making-light of some of the series’s warts. The entire DC Comics team is to be commended, having done yeoman work in keeping me enthralled. Yes, sir, I highly-recommend them to everyone!
Guess, you could say, I was pretty torqued about picking up this latest one, and diggin’-in to it…
…because, a mere day, earlier, Dan Greenfield – having posted his Mike Allred interview on my Batman Past, Present, Future page – difinitively comfirmed the rumors and, snippets of news, I’d been hearing about (and, denying), for months: my beloved Batman ’66 comic book series ended with issue #73. Yes, citizens, like the revered (or – loathed, I’m afraid to say) TV show which inspired it, this brilliant comic book reboot has run its course, after an all-too-brief 2 yrs and 4 mos; running from July 3, 2013 to Nov. 11, 2015. FYI: That’s 2-month’s longer than the original show. The TV series debuted on Jan. 12, 1966 and went of the air March 14, 1968; running 2 yrs and 2 mos.
With that in mind, let me take a couple of minutes and give you my impressions on issue #73.
Batman ’66: ‘Main Title’ (Part 2)
Published by: DC Comics; written by: Lee Allred; art, colors and cover by: Michael & Laura Allred; lettered by: Wes Abbott; edited by: Jim Chadwick & David Pińa; release date: Nov. 11, 2015.
My Take: If you’re under the impression that this series blew in like a lion and went out like a lamb – as the TV show did – you’re sorely mistaken! Holy Battle Royale, Batman! Chapter Seventy-Two is the jewel in the crown! This is one of the best Batman ’66 comics of them all – if not, THE best! I don’t want to give too much away, but the two images above, (and – including), the Batmobile, should give you detectives out there a few clues, as to what you’re in-store for. Admittedly, it took me a second to get what was up, but – after that, I was grinning from ear-to-ear! Riddle me this: What has its beginnings, at its end? You’ll find the answers, and – more, in Batman ’66: ‘Main Title.’ (Part 2)
For me, personally, issue #73 may’ve just snuck it’s way in, to being my choice, for ‘Best Comic Book of the Year.’ If YOU love Batman ’66, (or, Batman), you will totally get this; you’ll be BIF-BAM-ZOK‘d by its originality; awed by the crisp, on-point, balls-out, vividly brought-to-life art; and you’ll cheering your heroes on, again, like you’re a snot-nosed brat, needin’ a serious diaper change!
This issue by the ‘Triumphant Triad’ of Lee, Michael and Laura Allred is purrrrfectly apropos, giving clever backstory to an aspect of [both] the show, and – the comics, that is just as iconic, as the series, itself. The Allred’s pay homage to everything that makes Batman such an enduring classic in pop-culture, today.
And, let us have a moment of silence for the lovely Miss Yvonne Craig; THE quintessential Batgirl…
I’ll tell ya what, the only-thing missing from issue issue #73 is a sound chip, with nothing-but ‘Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na… BATMAN!’
Yo! What’s the cap, on stars, that I’m allowed to give this thing..??
With that said, I’m going to miss this series. To me, it was just hitting its stride. Bringing in the likes of Poison Ivy, Bane and Lord Death Eater, was a stroke of brilliance; playing out some imaginative scenarios, while remaining true to the series. And, that’s not saying that Batman ’66 didn’t have a few zingers; but, overall, Batman ’66 surpassed my greatest hopes.
Of course, this isn’t the end, per se, for our cowled crime fighter and his dedicated, youthful ward; because we’ll be getting specials, such as the critically-acclaimed Kevin Smith crossover, ‘Batman ’66 Meets The Green Hornet‘ or, the ongoing ‘Batman ’66 Meets The Man From U.N.C.L.E.‘
But, still… Batman ’66 – like the show – was something special.
‘Til, next time, see ya ‘out there…’
Lt. Eric Cone