Hey, a dollar is a pretty good price for a comic these days, even a digital one. It brings the price back around to disposable, impulse-buy entertainment, which appeals to me, considering my formative years as a fan were spent spinning the racks at Stop-N-Go for interesting art. It was right around this time as well that I got into the charm of live-action Batman reruns as part of an afternoon block that included The Monkees and Green Acres on a Houston UHF station.
Through some odd back-room licensing red tape, the Batman TV series hasn't really been exploited in the way that other beloved superhero television shows have (there's still no DVD release of the show). Some change was made last year when Warner Consumer Products reached an agreement with Fox (the show's rights-holder) to license the show for toys, books, and more - including a digital-first comic available through Comixology. Sometimes, when a property is trading so heavily on nostalgia, there's a lazy delivery of only what's to be expected. It's rote. The name is often enough to sell, so there's little interest in actually doing something interesting with the property.
Batman '66 #1 is nostalgia done right. It's a candy-colored book that had way, way more kinetic action than I expected, and way less cornball nods to what a modern writer might imagine as "campy." God bless Jeff Parker. This is a two-fisted, action-packed Batman book sprung from the spirit of the 1960's show, but revitalized with a real buzzing sense of caffeinated energy to every one of Jonathan Case's pop-art inspired panels. This is a dollar well-spent.
The '66 adventures are shorter by page count than a regular comic, but it still feels meaty due to the interaction with DC's new DC2 digital technology. DC2 enhances the reading experience (similar to Thrillbent's line) with panel swipes that affect the overall pacing of the story. Instead of viewing a page and all of its elements all at once, a gesture can bring dialogue to a dialogue-free panel. Another gesture across the same panel, and a new character might show up or objects in the panel might explode. Instead of Batman '66 feeling like a quick read, the tech makes it feel like a slick read.
It's light on plot (Riddler interrupts an award ceremony to loot its wealthy patrons), but so perfectly executed, from price-point to function to the use of its license, that it's a shame we haven't been reading Batman comics just like this since 1966. It's also a perfect all-ages Batman book without an ounce of kiddie condescension. It's the Caped Crusader and the Boy Wonder at their most idealized, most colorful, and most lovingly super-heroic, reflecting the elasticity of the character and a time when the "Batman voice" sounded less like a growl and more like Adam West.