Jeff Parker is killin' it in the pages of Batman '66!
Batman '66 sees the return of Egyptology Professor William McElroy. The story opens with his transfer from Yale to Harvard. the scene is almost like a commercial for Geico: what's cooler than Eddie Money as your travel agent? Saving fifteen percent on your car insurance. Here, the college deans are walking around the ground with McElroy and everyone has something that could cause head trauma to the good professor! There are a couple students playing football; another couple students are playing Frisbee. A couple students are playing croquet. It's brilliant. The anticipation is genius. As the sequence reaches it's natural conclusion, Scott Kowalchuk's art builds to a crescendo.
Batman '66 17 features a number of good things:
King Tut is probably one of the best original villains created for the live action Batman television series. He is one of the few rogues with both an alter ego and an origin. That's very rare. Many of the rogues used aliases based on their villainous identity. King Tut was almost humanized by having a real name and a life apart from crime. He was almost akin to Two-Face in that he had a dual identity that could change so easily and so quickly.
Here, Parker has Tut discover something quite interesting about history. "The Osiris Virus"! Tut uses it to take control of Gotham City by turning everyone into zombie subjects! Even Chief O'Hara!
Better than the virus, Tut has his own "supercharged chariot", the Sarcarphagus! If only Mego had gotten the complete license for the Batman television show and this vehicle had been introduced!
Parker's story also features a brilliant cameo featuring The Bookworm and his "Emily Bronte-saurus", a steam-powered mechanical dinosaur!
The only drawbacks to this story are Kowalchuk's art. It takes some getting used to. It's comparable to Franco's style over in Tiny Titans. It's almost a mis-match here. The art does not hinder or get in the way of the story. It just takes some adjusting to.
The Bottom Line
With the Batman live action series finally on DVD and Blu-Ray, the series is well on it's way to making a comeback with fans, even if only a small comeback among diehard fans. It's encouraging that DC is making a commitment with Batman '66. There is a cemetery sequence in the story with three coffins that give further encouragement that Jeff Parker and Batman '66 might be able to push the boundaries of the series and introduce other characters to the series. Batman '66 is available weekly digitally and collected in monthly issues. So far, there have been two hardcover collections.
It would be a shame to miss out on this wave of Batmania.
Batman '66 17 earns four out of five stars for a fun, enjoyable story. There are puns galore, but the story isn't bogged down by being played for laughs. The art sets up a lot of punch lines, and takes some getting used to but it doesn't get in the way of the story. King Tut unleashing a dawn of the dead on Gotham opens up a number of future possibilities for the Dynamic Duo! Stay tuned for more!