Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Collection Recommendation #8: Batman '66 Meets John Steed and Mrs. Peel--the Avengers

In November '16, I reviewed the hardback compilation of "Batman '66 Meets the Man From U.N.C.L.E." (see "Collection Recommendation #6). Now, DC/BOOM! Studios has released another compiled, '60s crossover: "Batman '66 Meets John Steed and Mrs. Peel--the Avengers"!!!

The British Avengers were wildly popular in the day (and if the truth be known, still are), with Patrick MacNee as the suave John Steed and Diana Rigg as the lovely Emma Peel: his second, sensational, female companion in the series, after Honor Blackman's Cathy Gale. Whether in black-and-white or color, the Avengers' adventures were quirky, smart and always thrilling. A team-up with Adam West's Batman and Burt Ward's Robin would have been a historic sight to see, arguably even more so than one with U.N.C.L.E.'s Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin. Well, our hopes and dreams have at long last come true...well, at least in comic-book form. 

In the crossover, penned by the witty Ian Edginton with remarkable renderings by Matthew Dow Smith, we're offered an intriguing scenario with Bruce Wayne and a pretty, British business associate being held up at a Gotham gemstone exhibition by Julie Newmar's Catwoman. It seems the feline fiend intends to steal the coveted White Star Diamond, but she's not the only one out to stir trouble, for an attack on Gotham is soon underway by none other than the Dynamic Duo's sophisticated, Londinium foe, Lord Marmaduke Ffogg (played by Rudy Vallee on the Batman series, and in this case, conjured with a nifty resemblance to the famed crooner). And guess what?! Ffog's invasion is enforced by none other than the Avengers' ol' robotic adversaries, the Cybernauts!!! Holy mechanical hi jinks!!!

To see how all the pieces fit, you'll have to read the story, but I'll say this much: It leads to a super-duper finale, with plenty of clever banter throughout, thanks to our adoring Avengers and charming Caped Crusaders. Also, Ffogg and the Cybernauts click with impressive precision: a teaming that feels ever-so-fated. There's also a cool guest shot by George Sanders' Mr. Freeze, and it's so neat to see Catwoman and Peel mingling in the early phases: the ideal, adolescent fantasy made real. (Gosh, if only Batgirl had kicked her way into the action, but alas...)

This exciting hardback edition is a bargain at $20 and contains 144 pages (i.e., all six issues) of raucous, swingin' fun.  

Next up: "Batman '66 Meets Wonder Woman '77", which has already surfaced via separate issues, but will inevitably converge in a hardback volume of its own. Oh, yeah!!! Keep those dreams come true a-comin'!!!

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