Batman: Man From Uncle #1 Reviews 

“Batman ’66 Meets The Man From UNCLE #1”, Hijinks Ensue [Review]

By | December 25th, 2015
Posted in Reviews | % Comments

Batman’s on the biggest mission of his life and he won’t be able to handle it solo. Or should I say, he won’t be able to handle Solo! Batman and Robin team up with The Man From UNCLE (actually two guys) in the print version of their digital crossover. Will they defeat THRUSH? Probably, yeah.

Written by Jeff Parker
Illustrated by David Hahn

Two 1960s television icons cross paths for a groovy, globe-spanning adventure in this one-of-a-kind miniseries. The deadly organization known as T.H.R.U.S.H. has a new twist in their plans for world conquest—they’re recruiting some of Gotham City’s most infamous villains! Agents Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin bring this information to the one man who knows everything about these new enemies: Batman. Before you can say “Open channel D,” the Dynamic Duo and the Men from U.N.C.L.E. are jetting off to Europe to thwart the schemes of this deadly criminal cartel.

I know we’re all a little sad that the always charming “Batman ’66” series wrapped up but, like a Christmas miracle, we have Jeff Parker returning to the series with David Hahn to team up with… The Man From UNCLE. Huh. Pop culture’s getting really niche, isn’t it?

“Batman ’66 Meets The Man From UNCLE” is more in line with the original Man From UNCLE TV show from the 60’s, about a US and Soviet spy teaming up to take on the threat of SPECTRE THRUSH, rather than the Guy Ritchie flick this summer. That movie, like most Guy Ritchie films, felt like it was pretty content to do its own thing and, in turn, was pretty darn good. That said, it missed some of the weight that made The Man From UNCLE so compelling, like that shootout in the movie theater in the first episode where all the agents have to kill each other without arousing the attention of the theater’s audience. “Batman ’66 Meets The Man From UNCLE” (or “B66MMFUNCLE” as I like to call it) doesn’t exactly hit that kind of tone, still living in the campy universe of Adam West’s Batman. But this comic, a print version of the digital series that’s been published for a couple months now, shows how well the two properties go together.

American UNCLE Agent Napoleon Solo teams up with life partner Illya Kuryakin to go after Olga, Queen of the Cossacks which is great on like twelve levels. First, a deposed European queen is the exact type of villain you would expect to find in UNCLE. Second, one of the greatest strengths for “Batman ’66” was its willingness to go all in on the nostalgia. It’s one thing to bring out Frank Gorshin as the Riddler, it’s another to bring out OLGA, QUEEN OF THE COSSACKS and expect anyone to remember the time Anne Baxter played two villains on Batman. Also vital to this comic is how well Parker writes the relationship between Kuryakin and Solo. It’s got all the fiery banter that made the original show worth watching, and helps distinguish the duo from being generic spies.

Over on the more Gotham side of things, Batman and Robin are trying to stop the Penguin who has escaped Arkham with the help of Olga. This angle is played a little more comedically, as you would expect from an Adam West Batman tribute. Still, there’s a lot of underplayed humor that digs up a lot of unexpected laughs, like the unassuming “Maximum Security” sign hanging over the one door in Arkham Batman’s villains broke out of. David Hahn’s art isn’t just reminiscent of the Adam West series, but it expertly handles the same campy style of humor.

Final Verdict: 7.6 – If you were a fan of the “Batman ’66” series, then it’s no surprise that Parker and Hahn bring the same level of fun to this team-up with the boys from UNCLE. It’s a goofy romp that captures the charm of both properties while featuring OLGA, QUEEN OF THE COSSACKS as its villain. What’s not to love?

James Johnston

James Johnston is a grizzled post-millenial. Follow him on Twitter to challenge him to a fight.