Batman ’66 Vol. 1 Review
Holy blast from the past Batman! One of DC’s newest takes on The Dark Knight is actually a throwback to one his oldest, campiest and most iconic eras. Batman 66′ Vol. 1 contains all new stories set in the Batman universe that was popularized by Adam West and Burt Ward. No longer bound by the technology and production budgets of television shows of that time, Batman ’66 retains everything that made that show tick while blowing out the scale of their adventures in ways the show never could.
Batman ’66 is an ongoing series, though most issues are standalone stories. Much like the show, each issue focuses on the Caped Crusader and the Boy Wonder taking down a classic villain. The first one involves The Riddler, whose trying to steal rare works of art while stringing our heroes along with clues. I got off on the wrong foot here for a few reasons. One, I wasn’t quite ready for how literal of a translation this would be of the show. Everything from the general campiness of the writing, to Batman explaining how every piece of his bat-arsenal works, right down to the narrator chiming in just before commercial breaks are here. I also found the colour work in this issue to be especially jarring, as the clashing neon hues actually made it painful to look at.
Since the series features a plethora of different artists, the art does move away from this look for the better. The issue with the Penguin in particular is one of my favourites to look at. Also, after that first Riddler issue, the writing settles into a comfortable groove where it seamlessly retains that vintage feel without being dated. Having this era of Batman and Robin go on grand adventures like these further adds to this book’s appeal, as they end up in wild aircraft chases, fight within a giant glacier and even fight crime in London, England. Shark repellent will always have a soft spot in my heart, but their new comic book adventures are greatly improved when the stakes are raised to the level that they are in this book.
Campy Batman from the 1960s is clearly not for everyone. There’s a reason why this era of the Caped Crusader has been largely buried in the 60s ever since the show went off air. Even though I mostly enjoyed reading Batman ’66 Vol. 1, there were times when I had my fill and had to move onto other things before continuing with this. Having said that, Batman ’66 Vol. 1 succeeds at bringing this era back to life in a comic book that’s fun for modern audiences.