Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Review: Batman '66 #11

Issue 11 features a book length novel. Jeff Parker's script is a mixed bag.  The first part of the story deals with a talent show Harley Quinn organized at Arkham Asylum, featuring all the super villains. This part of the book is very much like "The Roast" episode of Legends Of The Super Heroes. Joker and Catwoman escape with a version of Professor Overbeck's brain regulator, seen in issue 3, which leads the Terrific Trio to investigate. Joker and Catwoman attack the Mayor (no longer Mayor Linseed from the TV show, but the George Wallace played mayor from Batman Forever) on a golf course.  Its revealed Quinn has been helping Joker and Catwoman, as they use the brain regulator to turn citizens into mind controlled laughing henchmen.  Ultimately, Quinn, feeling guilty over her part in this, uses the brain regulator to nullify its effects, but loses her own sanity in the process.

The one villain noticeably absent in an issue riddled with cameos, is the Riddler.  In fact, the Riddler hasn't made much of an impact in the series, save for the debut issue.  The Riddler dominated the first season of the TV series, but went missing for most of the second and third seasons, when the show went downhill.  It seems somewhat appropriate since Parker has modeled his stories on the lackluster second and third seasons (and even the Joel Schumacher movies) rather than the excellent first season.  It also appears Parker's main objective for this series is to make the 66 Universe conform with standard modern DC continuity, by bringing in Harley Quinn, and fostering a Robin crush on Batgirl, among other little bits he has thrown in over the course of 11 issues.  This is the opposite of what this series should be doing.  It should be exploring and expanding the 66 Universe, without forcing it to conform to standard modern DC continuity. And this all leads to the fact Parker should be replaced on this series by someone like Andy Fish, who understands the differences between season one and the other two seasons.  On the other hand, Jonathan Case returns to do the art, and does an excellent job, making the story seem better than what it is.  Overall, what was supposed to be a full length epic novel falls flat due to a poor script, and earns this issue a C.

No comments: