- The Washington Times - Monday, July 8, 2013

“Holy retro-action Batman.” Comic book readers who own Apple tablets can revisit the days when the campy Caped Crusader ruled prime-time television in DC Comics’ new weekly sequential-art series Batman ‘66 (99 cents, all ages, reviewed with iPad 2).

I’ll bet older fans fondly remember the popular TV show that ran on the ABC network from 1966 to 1968 about our not-so-Dark Knight and starring Adam West as millionaire Bruce Wayne (the Bat), Burt Ward as his young ward Dick Grayson (the Boy Wonder) and a host of celebrity villains.

Well, DC taps into the nostalgia and today’s technology with colorful stories tied to that show’s hip legacy and the publisher’s DC2, digital-first, comic book initiative.

Readers pay a buck online through the DC Comics app and download the issue to their iPad offering the first part of the story “Mirth from Above” starring the Duke of Dilemmas, the Riddler.

Jeff Parker’s too-simple story presents the arch enemy robbing some of Gotham City’s elite during a ceremony to award the Lady Gotham statue.

One of the elite happens to be Mr. Wayne who quickly dons his cape with Robin and arrives in that vintage Batmobile to stop an airborne Riddler.

Mr. Parker injects plenty of memories with a cacophony of onomatopoeia on screen (Vroom! Clang! Poomf and Rap!) as well as with the dialogue. Older fans will recognize Police Chief O’Hara exclaiming “Begorah,” and Robin offering a “Holy tightrope.”

Now reading Batman react with “you dastardly fiend” at the Riddler is not quite as cool as hearing Mr. West deliver the line in a tone as dry as a desert, but still a nice flashback.

Additionally, artist Jonathan Case’s stunning artwork is an explosion of color mixing a Roy Lichtenstein approach to pop art within a hipness only Mike Allred (who actually drew the cover) usually pull offs.

The best part of the art is not only seeing Mr. West’s in the television show’s Batman costume but the facial likeness of master impressionist Frank Gorshin wearing that crazy green costume as the Riddler.

Now, I’m normally a big fan of reading sequential art on the iPad, but DC complicates with its initiative by leaving the reader in a limbo between reading a traditional comic and clicking on interactive art.

I’ve always loved looking at a full comic book page on the Apple tablet’s screen with the ability to double tap and zoom into panels for each page.

However, with Batman ‘66, tapping a finger on the iPad’ touch screen moves through the illustrations and often morphs the artwork, as color shades change on art panels, images pop into the screen and dialogue bubbles appear. It’s not quite a motion comic but not quite sequential art in the traditional sense either, and I never get to see the full-page layout.

Even with those less than earth-shattering complaints, I’m a bit giddy to interact with upcoming issues of Batman ‘66 promising the illustrated likenesses of actors such as Cesar Romero as The Joker, Otto Preminger as Mr. Freeze, Burgess Meredith as The Penguin and Julie Newmar as Catwoman.

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