In Case You Missed It, Batman ’66 Is Fighting Lord Death Man In Japan And It’s Amazing
Back when I was a kid, my single favorite episode of Batman '66, the one that I liked even more than the one where the Joker tried to conquer Gotham City by winning a surfing competition and becoming "King of the Surf and All The Surfers," was the one where Batman, Robin and Batgirl took a trip to Londinium in order to fight Lord Ffogg and his small army of mod pickpockets. Something about getting those characters out of that version of Gotham City is always interesting to me.
So you can imagine how excited I was when opened up this week's issue of Batman '66 and found out that Jeff Parker, Sandy Jarrell, and Jordie Bellaire had taken Batman and Batgirl on an international trip to Japan to battle it out with Lord Death Man. I'll admit that I'm predisposed to like this stuff, but trust me: It is basically perfect.
Even though he originally appeared in America in Robert Kanigher and Sheldon Moldoff's Batman #180, Lord Death Man was largely forgotten until Jiro Kuwata's adaptation of that story for Shonen Ace's Batman manga was unearthed by Chip Kidd a few years back, leading to a resurgence in popularity that saw him appearing in Batman Incorporated, on TV's Batman: The Brave and the Bold and, of course, in DC's current reprinting of Kuwata's stories. As a result, he's become more strongly identified with Japan than with his one-shot appearance in the U.S. comics. Hence the army of ninjas getting ready to descend on Batman and Batgirl in the image above.
Right now, we've only seen the first chapter of Parker, Jarrell and Bellaire's story, but I think my favorite thing about it by far is the Batmobile-J:
I'm not gonna lie, I would've probably preferred that Batman and Batgirl get a pair of Kamen Rider-style dirtbikes (and really, '71 isn't that far off from '66), but a banana yellow combination of the Mach 5 and the car from Shotaro Ishinomori's Robot Detective is a pretty excellent stand-in.
The first chapter, "The Garden of Death," is available now, with Chapter 2 coming this Wednesday!