Review: Batman '66 Meets Steed and Mrs. Peel #1

They are remaking 'Big Trouble in Little China'. With the Rock I guess. When it was announced, a friend of mine messaged me with 'wow, you must be furious.' And you know what? I'm not. It's among my favorite movies of all time, a weirdo gem that is impossible to recreate, but I'm not upset. Because it doesn't matter. Because I learned a while ago that this nostalgia culture wasn't going to stop, that one day it would come to my door, too, to kill my darlings. You can't be insulted by something you don't respect, and I haven't respected these engines of nostalgic exploitation for years. So I'm not insulted by 'Batman 66' Meets The Avengers' (it's my review, I'll call it by its proper name), even though this book is rushed garbage that obviously skips the point of both franchises with this pasty looking hack job. Take two franchises where much of the charm came from the iconic production and performances, and stuff them ingloriously together in 20 or so odd pages of unfinished looking art so you can sell variant covers to middle-aged men with disposable incomes and probably at least one Steve Austin doll in their house.

Batman-66-Meets-Steed-and-Mrs-Peel-#1I'm not even going to dignify this with a discussion of the story, save for that The Avengers only show up at the very end with no foreshadowing or explanation, they are just here now. Because this is a book made to sell variants. The voices of the characters are utterly devoid of personality. The only one really reflecting their on-screen persona well-being Burt Ward's Robin, because you can easily hear his voice if you throw 'Holy -----, Batman' in a word bubble every now and then. It doesn't matter. This book was made to sell variants.

This book looks supremely awful. A lifeless, digital-looking corpse. I may not be able to be offended by the idea of ruining something nice from the past, but I can be offended by a major comic publisher selling art that looks this pathetic. And yes, I may be harsh, but I usually try to pull my punches when it comes to art, because on the other end there is a person who probably worked pretty hard even making an ugly book. Not. Fucking. So. Here. This is the comic art equivalent of the special effects in the latest 'Yoga Hoser' trailer, not even a play at an effort. There is no more fitting an adjective: this looks pathetic.

Another thing you might notice I do is when I don't like a book, I won't mention the writer or the artist's name, not as some sort of snub, but as a way of communicating that I'm not trying to criticize individuals, only their work. I will make one unusual exception here: Jordie Bellaire is the colorist on this title. Jordie fucking 'Injection' and 'Moon Knight' Bellaire. As in one of the most striking colorists working in the market today. Her work on those titles is beyond reproach, I can't imagine Declan Shevley's art without her. So why does this already worthless looking book look even worse with this limp dash job color work on it? If the art is a corpse, she put the grey in its cheeks. It's bewildering, but if there is any upside to this book it's that while this was a waste of her time and talents, it clearly didn't waste very much of either.

I wish that this could be shipped straight to the landfill, but I know in truth this book will be treated like a minor treasure, bagged in plastic and stored rigidly upright, to await the accumulation of value that will never come. This book was made to sell variants.


What's that?

This is a digital first book? As in it won't be collected in print till July? As in it is expected to be appreciated first as a story and art in a delivery system that the primary demographic for this book doesn't use?


I can feel it.

Somewhere deep in my body, there's the tickle. A tickle of the geek that used to care about this sort of thing, the fan that existed before cynicism drove him to better shores of art and stories at Image and indies. That old forgotten hate for this shit. There's hope yet folks. You, too, can hate again.

[su_box title="Score: WTF" style="glass" box_color="#8955ab" radius="6"]

Batman '66 Meets Steed and Mrs. Peel #1
Writer: Ian Edginton
Artist: Matthew Dow Smith Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $0.99
Release Date: 6/8/16
Format: Mini-Series; Digital