(Submitted by Prince Adam on this glorious #WonderWoman Day…Thanks, Super Friend! 🙂 xoxo)
“What mysteries are hidden in the book Ra’s al Ghul hired Catwoman to steal? And why does this caper lead Batman down memory lane—to his childhood fight against actual Nazis? Witness the Caped Crusader’s first encounter with one of the greatest heroes the world has ever known: Wonder Woman!” (DC Entertainment)
I always wanted to get into the Batman 66 comic book but something kept getting in the way. When I heard DC were planning a comic book miniseries set in the world of classic Batman and classic Wonder Woman, I decide to add this to my special review list, leading up to the Wonder Woman film. Well that film is here (YAY), so I finally got to read it. This book puts you right back into the Batman 66 world, as we see Catwoman stealing two antiquated books, only to be thwarted by Batman and Robin after a silent alarm was triggered. The banter between the caped crusaders and Catwoman was spot on, right down to her flirting with Batman, and asking him to put in a good word for her at the parole hearing. Writers Marc Andreyko and Jeff Parker even over accentuate the word purrrfect to the point that I can hear Eartha Kitt’s voice as I read Catwoman’s dialogue. The book does two distinct things differently from the TV show. For the first time in this continuity, we get a story told partially in flashbacks, highlighting Bruce Wayne as a 10 year old and actually showing his parents, Thomas and Martha Wayne, who were only mentioned once on the show. Not only was it nice to see the Wayne’s in this continuity, it was even nicer to see them alive for the entire issue. Usually in any incarnation, they are walking down an alley to their death. The reason for these flashbacks, is to establish Bruce’s first encounter with the ancient books Catwoman stole and who she stole them for. The first appearance of the books in Bruce Wayne’s life, was 1940’s war time. Thomas Wayne was having an auction for the books at Wayne Manor. In addition to undercover Nazi’s being in attendance, Ra’s Al Ghul and his then young daughter Talia are there as well. It makes sense why both parties wan the books too. The Nazi’s want the book for Hitler, so he can locate lost civilizations and mythical locales, to pillage their enhanced weaponry and turn the tide of the war in his favor. Meanwhile, Ra’s al Ghul wants the books to gain access to these lost worlds and weapons to fortify the strength of his criminal organization, the League of Shadows worldwide and to find the location of Lazarus Pit’s around the world. Young Talia accompanies her father to the auction and he immediately unites the two, because he wants his daughter to end up with a man who’s family is of good repute. This bit of foreshadowing put a smile on this Bat-Fan’s face. It was great to see that Ra’s matchmaking machinations between Bruce and Talia carry over from the mainstream continuity to here, but start even earlier. I love that this book can take villains who weren’t created when the series aired and put them through the lens of the show, yet still keep the core of who said characters are in the mainstream universe.
The book does use a familiar troupe from the show. The villains waltz into Wayne Manor undetected. When fights ensue, priceless artifacts in Wayne Manor start getting destroyed. This is where Diana Prince, Steve Trevor an Etta Candy make their entrance. The three characters we’re pretty much the status quo from Season 1, as both that season and this miniseries take place in the same time period. What both writers do as soon as Diana Prince makes her first appearance, is have her steal the show so to speak. Batman’s name may be first in the title but the first two digital installments that comprise this first issue, are very much a Wonder Woman story. I loved how awestruck young Bruce and Talia are over Wonder Woman and how even during the fight scenes, Steve Trevor for the most part, watches Wonder Woman do all the ass kicking. The scenes near the end of the issue where Bruce and Talia use whatever they can to ward off Nazi soldiers and League of Shadow’s ninja’s solidify and remind you that these characters are destined to become the World’s Greatest Detective and the future leader of the League of Shadows. Speaking of Ra’s al Ghul, he comes off a silent threat, with over the top ideas. That coupled with the search and race to get a hold of those ancient books, this issue had a mixed vibe of James Bond meets Indiana Jones with Wonder Woman smack dab in the middle of it!
David Hahn is the artist on this book and while his art looks more like animation rather than current comic book art, he certainly captures the look and characters of these two iconic television series. I love that the Catwoman featured in this book is visually represented in the form of Eartha Kitt. The casting change was part of the series, so I’m glad that it hasn’t been ignored. Catwoman slinking out of a window after a heist is an artistic highlight. Seeing Batman, Alfred and Robin in the Batcave discussing the books, leading up to the transition to flashbacks, felt like film cells from the show had been animated and pasted right onto the comic book page. I love the artist teasing iconic locations from the series in a pre-Batman setting. Specifically, the retracting library bookshelf. Before it became an entrance to the Batcave, it was a tunnel exit to the garden. Speaking of the garden, there’s a great overhead shot of it and it’s shaped like a maze. I wonder how Aunt Harriet managed her way around it without ever getting lost. My favourite images are the two pages that comprise the Wonder Woman twirl and costume change. It looked epic and in terms of color scheme matched the show’s opening credits to perfection. The look of astonishment on Bruce and Talia as they saw this transformation hiding behind the bookshelf, was wonderfully appropriate!
I’m extremely happy with where DC Entertainment is headed in comic books, on film and on television. Though, it is important to revisit and respect the past from time to time. There’s no better way to do this, then by reading this issue. I’ll be back with another issue review from this series after the Wonder Woman film. In the meantime, buy this book, it’s great.