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Written By: Jeff Parker Art By: Scott Kowalchuk Digital Price: $0.99 Release Date: August 5, 2015
I Must Break You
*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*
I've been off of Batman '66 for a long time now. I think the last time I picked up an issue of this was when they told that never filmed Two-Face story because at this point in our Batman '66 history, we've pretty much been there and done that. It's all been done already and just like the show, you can only watch so much of it in a single sitting because it's so over the top in it's camp and when it all comes down to it, you'd rather see a more serious Batman, either in the show or in this comic. All that naysaying doesn't mean that I don't respect or even enjoy Batman '66, it just means that I can only deal with it in small doses. Luckily though, Jeff Parker has come along and introduced a character into Batman's Rogues Gallery here, that we never got a chance to see during the show's run........ Mostly because he wouldn't be created for another twenty five years, but that character is Bane. That's right, the man who broke the Batman is going to be going up against this version of the Dynamic Duo and that just tickles me. So strap yourselves in for something new all you Batman '66 fans because you definitely haven't seen this before. Let's check it out.
Our story begins with the Riddler stealing himself a crystal skull from a private collector and I have to tell you, for being in the 60's Riddler has himself some pretty impressive Ethan Hunt style masks. When we first see the Riddler, he looks like the John Astin version of the character, but when Batman and Robin show up, they use a batarang to tear away the mask, revealing the Frank Gorshin version that I love....... domino mask included. So not only was the Riddler wearing a John Astin mask, but he had his regular mask on underneath. That's some impressive prosthetic makeup. Eat your heart out Planet of The Apes. So the Riddler steals the crystal skull and with the use of gas, he's able to escape the Dynamic Duo, sending them to Commissioner Gordon and Chief O'Hara with the latest clue from the Riddler.
As it always goes, the Riddler leaves behind a riddle clue and the police are stumped....... and hell even Batman and Robin appear to be a little flabbergasted, so it's a good thing that Batgirl showed up and could decipher the clue, leading our heroes to that night's big wrestling match. In the one corner we have the current champion, Hangman. In the other corner, we have a newcomer to the states, the luchador Bane. That's right, Bane is a Mexican luchador and I love this re-imagining. In what might be my first Top 5 post on this site, I talked about characters I wanted introduced into the Batman '66 world and while Bane wasn't on that list, I had Killer Croc as a wrestler and this is close enough for me to get me happy...... You can check that out HERE. Our heroes are in the front row watching the match...... in their hero garb, which makes me laugh and they see that the Riddler is in Bane's corner. So not only do we have Bane being a big deal in this book, but it looks like he's a part of a villain team up and Batman better watch his ass. We also get the idea that the crystal skull that Riddler stole in the opening is something for Bane and that it might hold supernatural qualities. I don't know if these supernatural qualities will be the equivalent to Bane's venom, but I know that I'm interested.
In the end, after Bane throws the Hangman out of the ring, Batman makes his move to take down Riddler, but what Batman didn't count on was Bane's superior strength and wrestling skills preventing him from making the arrest. As the issue closes, we see our hero in a familiar pose as Bane holds him over his head and we're left wondering if Jeff Parker will actually have the cojones to break the Adam West Batman........ Yeah, I doubt it too, but that would definitely be something that would get people on the Batman '66 trolley.
That's it for this issue of Batman '66 and while it's been awhile since I've picked this series up, I have trouble understanding how it's gone on this long. Yeah, I love this era of Batman and all the silliness that came from it, but we're still dealing with the same jokes and cliches that we've always dealt with from the TV show and from this series. Nothing seems fresh........ That is, until we see Bane. Yeah, it's a gimmick to introduce a popular character into this series that wasn't originally featured, but I love it because I desperately want to see that new and fresh thing come out of it and I hope that it happens more often from here on out. It definitely spices things up and I love seeing characters re-imagined. The art in this book was alright and besides for a few instances where Batman looked really weird, I enjoyed this style.
Bits and Pieces:
The introduction of Bane to this series is a stroke of genius because even people who aren't fans of the original television show will want to check out his inclusion and the re-imagining of the character. With that though, you still have all the Batman '66 style goodness that you love and have come to expect from this series. I don't know if this story will be something great by the end, but as of right now, Jeff Parker has my attention.