Saturday, September 21, 2013

Epic Beards of Review: Batman '66 #1 & Batman Beyond Universe #1

Holy time-travel, Batman!  This review originally published graciously at Striptease The Magazine!

Batman ‘66 #1
Jeff Parker (w) Jonathan Case (a)

DC Comics $3.99

I’ve not read a Batman comic since the first three issues of DC’s New 52. Not that I read much before, but I couldn’t wrap my brain around continuity issues of the entire line. I’d never been much of a fan of Damien Wayne, either. But with my own super-baby on the way, money’s going to be tight and I’m going to be picky.

I’ve still a box of my uncle’s from the 80s that I’ve still not read, as well as a great big honkin’ gift of Superman titles that I got for my birthday. I’ve even got three or four longboxes of stuff that I’ve been meaning to pore over again, maybe with said super-baby.

I’ve also not yet gotten into the cheaper digital comics, but my deficient computer handling skills coupled with the fact that I already spend so much time on the internet just sounds like bad news. How ironic, then, that I should pick up the two first issues of comics that were A) Batman and B) originally distributed as digital issues? I just now picked up on the fact that these were both television shows, too.

In our first review, Jeff Parker (Bone) and Jonathan Case (Dear Creature) bring a rowdy and raucous take from the small screen to your fingertips in Batman ’66. The feel of the original television program is here, almost as if it never left us. The announcer introduces us to the perfectly mundane Gotham City before some spectacularly dazzling crime takes place—this time in the throes of that Pasha of Puzzles: The Riddler. We’re thrown into the action and it isn’t long before Bruce and Dick are missing, the day saved by Batman and Robin.

There are some Bat-tastic nods here including Robin pounding his fist in frustration and Bruce/Bats telling him to “’Take heard, old chum.’” And how can you not mention a super-surprise guest-star appearing out the window as the Dynamic Duo climb up the side of a building?

There’s a cacophony of camp an color here, but the color concerns me: the shading and dot texture giving a feel of the sixties make for some hard-to-digest scenes, as if were almost meant for 3-D. Maybe something to do with the comic originally intended for the digital market.

Despite that little bump, $3.99 for thirty pages is a steal which the Caped Crusaders will be more than happy to let you get away with.

Batman Beyond Universe #1
Rewired Kyle Higgins (w) Thony Silas (a)
Power Struggle Christos N. Gage (w) Iban Coello (a)
DC Comics $3.99

In going with this time travel theme, how will we read comics in the future, especially now that we’ve gone a bit digital. Not sure why I’ve never picked up Batman Beyond because I’m a huge fan of appropriating old characters for new situations. Originally billed as Batman Beyond 2.0 and Justice League Beyond 2.0, Batman Beyond Universe has somehow helped me buy into DC Comics for at least a little while.

Gotham of the future goes back to its roots with the Arkham Institute, working very hard to “rehabilitate” the city’s biggest and baddest. In short order, the mayor is killed by an unforeseen murderer which we later find out is bioelectric in nature. There is no one the boys can put their finger on, so it seems there’s a new player in town. As usual, Terry is left completely unprepared for what lay ahead.

Next up is Justice League Beyond and Superman is experiencing issues with his powers having vaulted into overdrive. The League is there to help out when Supes’ powers go haywire, but the only way they can prevent further damage is Kryptonian nanotech which blocks his power to absorb solar energy.

There’s a neat twist here with a flashback aside remembering Lois which ties in nicely with Kal’s (Clark’s new alter-ego) fitting into normal society as a firefighter. Lots of flirting with a lady firefighter who seems to be asking him out, and not taking no for an answer.

Great art by Silas on Batman Beyond with plenty of panels to shake a stick at. Coello hits home with his depictions of Superman in Justice League Beyond, both in and out of the suit.

Even though neither story is wrapped up in this compendium, weighing in at FORTY PAGES for $3.99, you’ll be more than happy to pick up the next installment.

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