Writer: Jeff Parker
Artist: Joe Quinones
Colourist: Maris Wicks
Letterer: Wes Abbott
Cover Art: Michael and Laura Allred
A review by Jake Morris.
DC’s launch of the digital series based upon the 60s show featuring Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin has been running for a fair amount of time in terms of their newly refreshed digital line. The success of it though has come under mixed response however, which can be attributed to the format in which the series is presented.
Months ago most comic book fans would find it ludicrous to be crying foul at the loss of an almost animated styled book, but Batman ’66 brought this format to us fans in such a fun and unexpected way that it became part of the charm.
Move three issues forward and the format was abandoned and now in regular, standard reading order. Most, myself included, found that it had lost the ‘spark’ that made it stand out, so now with the series into its conclusion of a third arc, is the book back to bringing the fun and humour to its readers?
Straight off the bat, I am going to say that although this two part arc has been a lot more fun than the previous one, it still hasn’t reached the heights of issues one through three. However… That is not to say the book hasn’t been fun. This arc, bringing the Joker to the series, has had some stellar moments mixed with some rather dark undertones.
The issue begins proceedings directly where the previous one finished. Batman and Robin are chasing after The Joker who has been kidnapped by Red Hood and his cronies, all the while conversing in their usual pleasantries and odd offbeat quips.
As the story progresses we get the big reveal as to who the Red Hood is and it is not necessarily a jaw dropper but like Batman would say; “that’s not the M.O.”
We get to see a more twisted Joker than the one we usually get in the 60s show, albeit tamely twisted compared to the modern age’s Joker. Though it is humoursome to see the characters find comparisons between Red Hood and Joker, as everyone knows it was Joker’s first alias when he appeared in the comics.
It seems that Jeff Parker has delved into how insane The Joker really is throughout the issue as he displays that what would otherwise leave lasting effects on a sane man, shows no sign of wear and tear on the Clown Prince of Crime. It is a nice underbelly to it all that gives the charm of the story a sprinkling of dark elements that beset all of the Joker stories throughout the years. The Joker is an insane human being, if you can call him that, but he gives off a sense of sanity among all of the accompanying insanity.
What I enjoy most about Batman ’66 is how every action, every panel and every bit of dialogue aims to please. Not so much as desperation but in a way that wants to be fun. There is never a dull moment and this is exemplified by the art and sheer gorgeous colouring that accompanies the writing.
Sure the animated sections are no longer present but the pop-art style remains despite the art team changing. The complaints do lie with how static events in the book look. With this style of art, for the frantic expressive nature, it can often be a challenge to display all of the quirky action from the TV series, and that is a shame. Who didn’t love the animated pop ups of ‘pow’ and ‘wham’?
Despite all of that, Jeff Parker has scripted another fun extension of the TV series and brought about a new and welcome addition to The Joker’s psyche that viewers will have missed out on in the 60s show, and that is what I want to see more of… Meshing the present formula with the past but staying in touch with the loveable and eccentric style that West and Ward fans enjoy.