Holy crossover, Batman! “Batman ’66 Meets Wonder Woman ’77” is the best of DC Comics’ television team-ups yet!
Energetic, witty, and true-to-character, the series’ first issue (collecting the first several chapters of the digital comic) is a master class in how to have fun in comics. The creative team obviously understands the characters, placing them in a decades-spanning story that employs a deeper plot construction than ever considered for the TV shows, while including campy (but fun) elements like Robin’s “Holy ____!” catchphrases and a cliffhanger ending.
Let’s face it: you know good things are in store when a Bat-title begins with Eartha Kitt’s purr-fectly in-character Catwoman stealing a rare book for Talia al-Ghul. The theft sets the Caped Crusader off on a nostalgic adventure, and the story shifts to the day that young Bruce Wayne met Wonder Woman during World War II. The rare book in question is part of a two-volume set being auctioned at an event held at stately Wayne manor. The auction drew an eclectic crowd, including Ra’s al-Ghul and his young daughter, Talia.
Bruce and Talia hit it off (as we knew they would) and soon run into Yeoman Diana Prince and her colleagues Col. Steve Trevor and Etta Candy. The American military personnel are seeking out Nazi spies they believe have infiltrated the auction, while Ra’s and his men are there to obtain the books from the eventual winner. The tension builds as the auction ends and melee ensues as the Nazis attempt to take the books. This is a job for Wonder Woman, but Diana is unaware that she has a young audience as she transforms into Wonder Woman.
You can’t set up a World War II story in the DC Universe better than this. Solid mystery, genuine intrigue, raucous adventure and two of the most wholesome incarnations of DC’s beloved flagship characters is a winning combination. Writers Jeff Parker and Marc Andreyko establish a fast-paced escapade with spot-on characterizations; as you read, you can practically hear the dialogue in Adam West, Burt Ward and Lynda Carter’s voices. David Hahn and Karl Kesel obviously did their homework, bringing us interpretations of well-known images that are both dynamic and instantly recognizable. In fact, theirs is the best and most consistent artistic presentation of Wonder Woman ’77 yet, improving on the costumes to provide textures not possible in the original outfits, and including small details important to the identity of each character.
Most importantly, this is a fun comic to read! Check your angst-ridden, modern hero-with-a-burden expectations at the door and transport yourself back to the days where racks of comic books in grocery stores were topped with a sign that read, “Hey kids! Comics!” You’ll be glad you did. The original television shows still resonate with fans today because despite the campy circumstances and occasional over-the-top silliness, the lead actors took their roles as heroes seriously—and those heroes became positive role models. It’s an indelible legacy.
The creative team has delivered a thoroughly enjoyable issue #1. In his end-of-episode voice-over William Dozier would say, “Tune in tomorrow… same Bat-time, same Bat-channel.” Well, I’m definitely tuning in for issue #2.