Batman ’66 Meets The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Artist: David Hahn
Writer: Jeff Parker
Publisher: DC Comics
Based on the 1966-68 TV series starring Adam West and Burt Ward as Batman and Robin, the Batman ’66 digital comic series was one of DC Comics’ more unconventional titles in recent years.
With adventures set in the same universe as that of the TV series, and a quirky, tongue-in-cheek style that mirrors the show, the book offers readers a different perspective of Batman that is far from the dark, brooding one in the mainstream continuity.
Since Batman ’66 is based on a 1960s TV show, it’s only natural that it would crossover with properties from that era. There has already been one team-up with the Green Hornet (the 1960s Van Williams and Bruce Lee version, not the recent Seth Rogen/Jay Chou one), and there will also be another one with The Avengers (no, not the Marvel one, the British one, featuring John Steed and Emma Peel) in the future.
The ongoing one, however, is this crossover with The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
For those too young to remember it, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is a series that ran from 1964 to 1968, and starred Robert Vaughn and David McCallum as Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin, secret agents working for an international spy agency called U.N.C.L.E. (United Network Command for Law and Enforcement).
It was actually one of the more popular spy shows in the 1960s, thanks to its charismatic leads and James Bond-esque scenarios. The show managed to carve out a cult following that was significant enough to warrant a recent feature film reboot by Guy Ritchie starring Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer.
In this six-issue crossover, the two TV icons have to work together to combat the deadly organisation known as THRUSH, which is recruiting some of Gotham City’s most infamous villains, such as Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, and, er, Egghead, into its fold. Agents Solo and Kuryakin will have to work together with Batman to combat this new threat.
The biggest gripe I have about this comic is that three issues in, Batman has still not met the men from U.N.C.L.E. Both sides have just been running around dealing with their own affairs, which can be a bit frustrating to a reader who just wants to see how Napoleon Solo reacts to meeting a man who dresses up as a bat.
Still, even though the two sides have not met by issue #3, they both have enough going on that you don’t really mind that much.
Funnily enough, in this crossover, Batman’s personality is almost the opposite of the one he shows in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossover. Where Batman is the more serious one in the Batman/TMNT team-up, here, he is the more lighthearted character compared with the professionalism of the agents from U.N.C.L.E.
The Batman ’66 comics have always been a hoot to read, and this is no exception. Although the main series comic was cancelled recently, its spirit lives on in this crossover.