Sunday, April 6, 2014

Batman '66 #31 Review

Written by: Jeff Parker
Art by: Jonathan Case
Cover Price: $1.99
Release Date: April 2, 2014

Prop Comics Suck

Batman '66 has been so good since it's first issue.  Jeff Parker (mainly) and multiple artists have explored the campiness of the television show.  Like the Silver Age comic, the show really relied on the crazy and colorful villains to drive the crazy plots and Jeff Parker has duplicated that formula to a tee.  Everyone from huge villains like the Joker, Penguin and Mr. Freeze to little known ones like Shame and Chandell have been featured.    All have been great, but after 31 issues there is the danger of not knowing what to do next.  Jeff Parker is better than that, though.  Instead of picking a villain for Batman '66 #31, he throws in a bunch and makes one of the best issues in a long, long time.

The issue starts with the Joker and Catwoman finding Batman, Robin and Batgirl on the side of a building uncontrollably laughing.  But how did they get there and what are they laughing at?  Earlier in the week, Bruce, Dick and Barbara joined Commissioner Gordon and Chief O'Hara for Patient Pageant Night  at Akham.  It's a who's who featuring Catwoman, Chandell, King Tut, Bookworm, Siren, False Face (impersonating Egghead and Bruce Wayne) and for the finale, The Joker.  It is as good as it sounds with each villain being hilarious because they act just like you would imagine.  Kudos to Jeff Parker.

Of course, everything isn't as it seems.  The Joker is bringing down the house by making fun of the Rogues Gallery, Batman and even a dig at prop comics.  However, it's all a plan by Catwoman and the Joker, but what is the end game?  We'll have to wait until the next issue to find out.  Jeff Parker has a real winner here. The issue is hilarious from the beginning to end.  I am always worried how this book can maintain it's freshness over a long haul, but Jeff Parker showed me that he is the man to do it.

Jonathan Case does a great job here.  Everything from Catwoman's sparkly catsuit to Joker's mustache under the makeup looks great.  I have been touting the motion comic aspect of this digital release for a while now, so risking sounding like a broken record, do yourself a favor and buy this book digitally.  It is so worth it.

Bits and Pieces:

Batman '66 #31 is a fun story throwing a handful of Batman villains in a Patient Pageant at Arkham.  Jeff Parker's dialogue is great and so is Jonathan Case's explosive art.  My fears that this book is becoming stale were unfounded.


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