“Wonder Woman”, Is this what Batman and Wonder Woman needed? To come back to the eras of their shows? It looks that way, as this series seems to have found more confident fitting now that it’s firmly back in the Sixties.
With the sojourn to the Forties in the first two installments, Batman ’66 Meets Wonder Woman ’77 didn’t deliver, which was unfortunate. They were… fine, hardly the worst books I read either month by a long shot, but something was missing. The idea was a good one: show the ’66 Batman in a time that’s not his own, giving us a look at this Bruce Wayne when he was a young boy. The execution, on the other hand? Everything just seemed… off, at least by Batman ’66 standards. If it had been packaged as a Silver/Golden Age-era crossover between Batman and Wonder Woman it would have worked pretty well, but with the branding of ’66 and ’77, respectively, it was an unfortunate miss. The dialogue just didn’t have the wit and snap you’d come to expect from these books, and the tone was relatively flat.
That begs the question then: does Batman ’66 only work in the context of its native decade? We can certainly appreciate it now, fifty years on, and enjoy it no matter what year it is, but does this series only work when it’s effectively in stasis? Can the campiness and cheekiness of the stories work in other time periods, or does it need to stay in the Sixties to work? Based on what’s come so far, I’d say yes, Batman ’66 needs to stay in the Sixties. It’s an anomaly, a product that is definitively of its time while remaining timeless, and it’s that cheeky, self-awareness of how dated it is that still allows it to work today.
While in Paris, Diana would have an email exchange with Bruce Wayne, who sends him that photo he found on Lex Luthor's hard drive.
Then again, we’ll see soon, as the final two issues take place in the Seventies. If the Sixties Batman doesn’t work going backward in time, can it work going forward? Time will tell, but if you’ve seen the June solicitations and, by extension, the cover of the final issue, you’ll know why I’m confident this series will go out with a bang.
#3 A great release date: June 2, 2017
This issue, on the other hand? It’s pretty good. Not quite up to the standard of quality you’d want and expect from Batman ’66, but it’s a pretty big improvement over the previous two installments. A lot of that comes down to the tone, which is finally finding sure footing. There’s a moment or two that’s a bit shaky, but the dialogue and dry humor lands better than it did before. Catwoman’s flirtatious (and throws down some truly awful cat puns), Robin is mawkish and dorky, Wonder Woman is stalwart and graceful, and Batman is stalwart and a square. If Batman’s voice seemed a bit off before, he’s back to his usual straightforward, straitlaced self. You know, hilarious in how humorless he is, knowledgeable of the most obscure facts to get him out of any situation, forcing Robin to give a criminal a flashlight because she’s a lady. That kind of thing.
There’s some pretty good character work here with everyone, especially in the latter half when the heroes find themselves in a labyrinthine maze. Before that, though, they arrive on Paradise Island proper, in a sequence that’s a little slow but lovely to look at. David Hahn’s pencils have been strong this whole series, and this may be his best work yet. The Grecian architecture of Paradise is appropriately epic in its size and scope, and the natural elements of the island and sea make it feel like paradise.
Still, it’s a little dull. I like Wonder Woman as a character, and myths and the like are interesting, but for some reason I’ve never really connected with stories that take place on Themyscira. I prefer Diana out in the world, doing the good work she’s meant to do, rather than chilling out on her home turf.
An old friend brings Wonder Woman back to her senses and back to her friends, as Steve, Etta, and their team prepare to go up against the villainesses of GodWatch. But what of Barbara Ann? In order to protect Diana and her love Etta, Ann makes the ultimate sacrifice — becoming the Cheetah all over again.
There is something very powerful to be said about a comic book — and a hero — for whom hugging is a super-power and plot resolver. We’ve seen it before between Wonder Woman and the Cheetah, and we see it once again here, used as a powerful moment of clarity between two old friends, one of whom is once again a little furrier than our named heroine.