DC’s tactic of releasing their digital-first comics in smaller weekly chunks ahead of the physical release is actually pretty damn clever. I was initially not planning on picking up this title, but the very positive word of mouth about the digital issues made me change my mind. Whilst I’m missing out on the innovative digital techniques, this is still a really fun comic that pays fantastic homage to the classic TV show.
The plot of this issue is mostly unimportant, The Riddler’s there, so is Catwoman, and Batman and Robin have to stop them. The true fun here is in how close it keeps the comedic tone of the TV series, and also how it’s not just a parody. It would be very easy for Jeff Parker to just go over the top with this, and just make fun of the show for being crappy and campy, but it’s clear he loves the show, and the jokes here are not at the expense of it, but make sense in context. Plus, he’s actually putting thought into the plots, into Joker’s riddles. This isn’t a throwaway sketch, it’s a proper Batman comic, just with a different type of Batman. DC are not embarrassed about this type of Batman anymore, and it’s great.
The artwork from Jonathan Case is probably even more important than the tone of Parker’s writing. He draws each character like the actor who played them, so Batman looks like Adam West, Riddler like Frank Gorshin, etc, which is a really effective technique. Case colours the book himself too, and the colouring really helps the 60s, pop-art look. It’s bright, colourful, and full of Benday dots.
This book was just a pleasure to read, and it was great to read a Batman book that wasn’t grim. I still like dark Batman, but there’s room in the world for all sorts of interpretations. Grant Morrison opened the door to Batman’s embarrassing past, and now it’s wide open, and it’s totally groovy.