Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Batman '66 #52 Review

Written by: Rob Williams
Art by: Ruben Procopio
Cover Price: $1.99
Release Date: January 21, 2015

A Stand Up Guy (Part 1)

For the better part of the Batman '66 series, and the franchise as a whole, Batman and Robin have been dedicated to one thing: defeating criminals. This issue poses a question that many have pondered but none dare ask: What happens when Batman becomes obsolete.

Taking over writing duties for this issue from series regular Jeff Parker, Rob Williams poses that exact question. The means by which he poses it are even more amusing. Instead of giving Batman and Robin an episode of doubt caused by losing the life of a civilian or an attempt to stop a foe gone awry, Williams introduces a new hero into Gotham City to take the place of the Dynamic Duo--JOKERMAN.

Yes, you read that right--Rob Williams replaces Batman and Robin by having the Joker take over as the official crime fighter of Gotham City. It's obvious this is some part of a villainous plot that somehow benefits the Joker, but the details of how are rather unclear. Either way, seeing the icons we've come to associate with Batman get Jokerfied is rather amusing.

I like Jeff Parker's work on this series but it was nice to see him hand a main story off to another writer. A breath of fresh air is exactly what this book needed and Williams pulled it off superbly.

Ruben Procopio also joins this issues creative team as the latest artist to breathe life into the world of Batman '66 and believe me when I say it is a colorful world. Caesar Romero's Joker is an iconic image and seeing him dressed up as a savior of Gotham is hilarious in and of himself, but the visual characterization of the Joker never loses it's power.

Bits and Pieces

Batman '66 #52 is, at its core, what appears to be the set up for a two or three part back up story featuring everyone's favorite villain playing the hero card. At the end of the day Rob Williams style can be a little bit too zany for the universe (yes that is possible) but it gives the series a nice breath of fresh air from what appears to be a creativity bottleneck with series regular Jeff Parker. Despite feeling forced at times the story itself is genuine and I've been left excited to see what the Joker's grand plan is--and that's all I can really ask for at the end of the day.

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