Written by: Ian Edginton
Art by: Matthew Dow Smith, Jordie Bellaire and Wes Abbott
Release Date: June 8, 2016
When announced, there are some comic books that make total sense and some that make you go hmmm...Batman '66 Meets Steed and Mrs Peel falls into both categories. The Avengers (the show Steed and Peel came from) was wildly popular along with Batman '66 during it's time and since then, has garnered a loyal cult following as well. However, the time for such a crossover may have passed. I don't know much and may be totally off here, but I have not heard anybody talking about these Avengers down at the malt shop in a long, long time. I guess we'll have to wait for the sales numbers to come out to settle that debate, but for now, I am here to talk about the first chapter of this series. How was it? Let's find out...
I do consider myself an Avengers fan and even though I haven't watched it in quite some time, this is my favorite lineup. I was a huge Emma Peel fan back in the day! So going into this series, I was looking forward to seeing how Ian Edginton portrayed them and how they fit into the Batman Universe.
I had to wait a little because the issue opens with Bruce Wayne escorting Miss Michaela Gough around the "Rare Gemstone Exhibition" in Gotham. She is the head of United Automation and is partnering up with Wayne Enterprises for something in the near future. If you are a fan of the Avengers, bells should be ringing all over the place! I really liked the shoutout to actor, Michael Gough, and in one page I'm already settling into the crossover nice and cozy like.
As Bruce and Ms. Gough walk through the exhibit, they talk a little women's lib and after making dinner reservations, Catwoman shows up. Really, they might as well have just given her advanced tickets because there was no way she was missing this party! As her henchman make quick work of...well, smashing everything in site, Bruce uses his emergency wrist radio to alert Robin to the trouble.
I don't know about you, but I love any and every time that Alfred gets in the Batsuit and pretends to be the Caped Crusader! He is so damn old and feeble, yet everyone is fooled. I mention it because that's what we get here as Alfred and Robin suit up and head off to the rescue.
They aren't the only ones planning on stopping the heist, however, as we see that someone else is on the job. Actually, we don't see much at first and the only hint that something is going down is the reference to cricket. Cricket! The whole scene is set up to play off the idea that Emma Peel also wears a catsuit (and a damn sexy on at that!), but I could only think that this scene would have played better with actual verbal dialogue. Oh well, it's okay as it stands and soon we realize what is going on and then are formally introduced to both Steed and Mrs. Peel. That's when Robin and old as hell Batman show up and I actually laughed out loud at Alfred! Seriously, I want a whole series with him as Batman.
The issue ends with another hint at the Big Bad of the series and if you weren't tipped off from the first page, you should catch on now. Who am I kidding...I still don't think most people will know what's going on, but take it from me...It's huge!!!
I've made it clear that I'm worried about the mass appeal of this series, but if you are a fan of the Avengers in particular, I think you will get a kick out of this beginning chapter. Ian Edginton gives us a fan favorite team, a fan favorite villain and Alfred in the Batsuit...what more could we ask for? Maybe a little better introduction to the characters of Emma and John, but hey, we have next chapter for that. I am also waiting in anticipation to see Steed's Bentley!
Matthew Dow Smith's art does make this more of an Avengers book than a Batman 66' one in my opinion. It all skews to a more realistic and time appropriate setting...a little less camp in this issue at least. I don't know if it was on purpose, but Bruce looked a lot like a certain spy with a licence to kill at the start of the chapter. Overall, I liked the art and especially loved the way Smith drew Steed.
Bits and Pieces:
If you are an Avengers fan (British TV show, folks), then I can easily recommend this book to you. Ian Edginton knows his stuff and plays around with it a bit here. If you have no idea who Steed and Mrs. Peel are, then I pity you and will tell you that your mileage may vary. I suggest you pick up this first chapter to see if it tickles your fancy. At the very least, you'll get to see Alfred as Batman. I'm not lying, I can't get enough of that!