‘Batman ’66 Meets Steed & Mrs. Peel’ Brings The 60s’ Grooviest Crimefighters Together [Review]
When it came to 1960s action television, two campy crimefighting series captured the attention of audiences the world over. The first was Batman, the legendary Adam West/Burt Ward series that brought the Day-Glo hijinks of the comics to TV. The other is The Avengers, a long-running spy/science fiction --- or "spy-fi" if you will --- series from Doctor Who co-creator Sydney Newman.
The best known seasons of The Avengers paired Patrick McNee's "top professional " John Steed with Diana Rigg as the stylish "talented amateur" Mrs. Emma Peel. Although they've starred in their own comics before under the title Steed & Mrs Peel (to avoid confusion with those other Avengers) --- including comics written by Mark Waid and Grant Morrison --- now the pair cross paths with the Dynamic Duo in Batman '66 Meets Steed & Mrs. Peel, by Ian Edginton, Matthew Dow Smith and Jordie Bellaire. Judging by this first chapter, readers are in for a treat.
"The Bowler and The Bat," as this first chapter is called, opens with Bruce Wayne escorting British socialite and United Automation head Michaela Gough (a likely nod to former Alfred actor Michael Gough by writer Ian Edginton) at a museum exhibit containing the White Star Diamond, which Bruce says is "the largest gemstone ever discovered."
As this is a day in Gotham City ending in -y, a crook shows up to steal the jewel. In this case, it's Catwoman (the Julie Newmar version) who has her henchmen bust out the jewels. But at the last second, they're thwarted by Steed and Peel --- who beats up the henchmen while listing cricket positions and is, as tradition, wearing a leather catsuit.
At only ten pages, this first chapter is unavoidably slight, but it's exciting all the same. Edginton gets everyone's voice down --- not surprising since he's written Steed & Mrs. Peel for Boom in the past --- while artist Smith nails the likenesses without being too indebted to original appearances. Combine that with the eye-popping brightness that a project like this demands, coutesy of Bellaire, and you have a great start to a charming retro story.
Hopefully, Batman '66 Meets Steed & Peel maintains the energy of this opening chapter, and fills the Ben-Day dotted void in our hearts left by the ending of the Batman '66 digital comic.
Batman '66 Meets Steed & Mrs. Peel #1 is available digitally from Comixology and DC Comics on Wednesday 8 June 2016. A copy of this book was provided for review by the publisher.