Saturday, July 23, 2016

Batman '66 Meets Steed and Mrs. Peel Chapter #4 Review

Memories light the corners of my mind

Written by: Ian Edginton
Art by: Matthew Dow Smith, Wendy Broome and Wes Abbott
Cover Price: $0.99
Release Date: July 20, 2016

I'm back for the campy fun that is Batman '66 Meets The Avengers Steed and Mrs. Peel and if you are a fan of both franchises, this book is made just for you.  I really mean that.  I know that it's a sign of insanity to think that creators are making something just for you, but seriously, I think Ian Edginton and Matthew Dow Smith are doing just that.  I'm sure that they knew that little Jim Werner used to lay in front of the television in his footie pajamas watching reruns of both of these shows and were just waiting for the chance to put both properties together to make it twice the fun.  THAT IS WHAT'S GOING ON, RIGHT?!?  So, now that we know why this book was made, we can move on to the review itself.  Now that we have the Cybernauts and Lord Ffogg at odds with our two favorite Dynamic Duos, is this issue as fun as the first three?  Let's find out...

The chapter opens with the mysterious leader of the Cybernauts conversing with Ffogg and while it is a very quick scene that only seems to set up the beginnings of why Ffogg would be involved, I liked it.  Why?  Because I love seeing the ridiculous Batman '66 villains anytime I get the chance and Lord Marmaduke Ffogg is one of them.  If only he would have given a patented, "I don't have the foggiest idea..." type of line, I would have been even happier.

We then head off to the Gotham Police Headquarters and get down to brass tacks.  After it becomes obvious that Ffogg is just in it for the money, the questioning turns to Catwoman who really doesn't know much of anything.  She was contacted by phone to steal the White Star Diamond and agreed without even knowing who contacted her.  Oh Catwoman, you should be more careful than that!

All of this is interrupted when Gordon gets a call that Michaela Gough has been kidnapped!  Dum, Dum, Dummmmmm!  Batman and crew head off to her hotel room and find that...she really has been kidnapped!  Dum, Dum, Dummmmmm!!!  It looks like the work of the Cybernauts and in a case of "I think I suddenly remember something really important", Steed and Peel connect United Automation with the Cybernauts and a bigger picture is beginning to come into view.

Okay, this is the first time that I shook my head in the entire series.  How could Steed not remember this earlier?  I actually was hoping that Batman would slap him right across his smug face (knocking that bowler off in the process), but instead he uses some Bat-Gas to knock him and Peel out and take them to the Batcave.  The big revelation in this scene, however, is that the leader of the Cybernauts is listening in on everything they are saying and can track their every move...the pen is indeed mightier than the sword, especially when it has a tracker inside it.

I love the Batman '66 Batcave and we get a peek at it as our heroes try to figure out what is going on. They make the connection with the diamond heist and the Cybernauts, but the issue ends with the reader wondering if it is too late.  It looks like the Batcave is about to get really crowded, really quick!

This issue was setup heavy, but that's not the problem.  The problem was the forced nature of it.  Steed is a pretty smart guy and having him just remember the Cybernaut/United Automation connection felt off as did Peel's sudden revelations.  However, it pushes the story forward and I liked the callback with the pen a lot.  That also made me sort of question who was the big bad and that's something I thought was set in stone.  Overall, Ian Edginton continues showing he knows both properties and I had a good time reading this chapter.  Isn't that what it's all about.

Matthew Dow Smith's art still focuses on being a more realistic/classic television look that fits both properties.  At first, I actually was hoping for a more cartoony look, but it has grown on me and goes hand-in-hand with the story being more Avengers than Batman.

Bits and Pieces:

Fans of both the Avengers and Batman '66 should get a kick out of this series and while this chapter is mostly setup, there are some important stuff here that readers will want to see for themselves.  The forced nature of it was a little off putting, but we do end with a crazy cliffhanger that has me excited for the next chapter.


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