“Never underestimate the potential for goodness in people’s hearts…”
This review contains spoilers
In this issue, Batman and Robin take on Ma Parker and her family after they cause two prison riots which result in the escape of Killer Croc, Killer Moth, Solomon Grundy and Catwoman. After Ma Parker and her family are placed into Arkham, the dynamic duo team up with Batgirl and Catwoman to take on the other three super villains.
The issue begins with a shoot out during a car chase; Ma Parker and her sons are firing on the Batmobile. The comic then jumps back to earlier that day. Batman and Robin are discovering that Ma Parker and her daughter were able to dig themselves out of prison. Ma Parker immediately goes to the prison in which her sons are being held and frees them along with Killer Croc, Killer Moth and Solomon Grundy. They start a riot that results in the car chase that started the issue. Ma Parker’s car goes off the road but the caped crusaders are able to save Ma Parker’s children with her help. After this incident, the family is placed into the Arkham Institute together as it is revealed that Catwoman also escaped. Later, Robin and Batgirl are ambushed by the three super villains. Meanwhile, Batman is trying to apprehend Catwoman after she stole a tiara. He forces her to return it before learning that Robin and Batgirl have been kidnapped. Catwoman volunteers to help rescue them. She is able to distract the villains while Batman unties Robin and Batgirl. Then, the four of them take out the three villains. However, Catwoman is able to sneak away in order to avoid going to jail.
I like that the two stories in this issue are actually connected. In terms of plot, the second happens directly because of Ma Parker’s actions in the first story. It’s a little more fun this way as opposed to two completely separate stories. It almost feels like this could be a two-part episode just like the original format of the show was. Additionally, the two stories thematically connect. Both sections deal with a female criminal who shows that maybe she does have some good in her. Ma Parker only seems to lash out in order to protect her family while Batman expresses the belief that Catwoman could be a good person despite Batgirl’s doubts. This issue is very well scripted and organized. It manages to feature several different super villains without feeling convoluted or over stuffed.
The humor is terrific in this one. There is a particular gag in the prison at the beginning that I won’t spoil other than to say that I found it to be hilarious.
It’s cool to see Batman and Catwoman team up and work together. They always teased it in the show but it never happened so my favorite part of the book is seeing them interact. Additionally, it is really cool to Yvonne Craig’s Batgirl interact with Julie Newmar’s Catwoman. They never met on the show since Eartha Kitt replaced Newmar the same season that Craig joined the cast. I’m sure it’s happened before in the series but this is the first time that I’ve seen it and I love it.
I’m not sure I completely buy that Catwoman would help Batman rescue Robin and Batgirl. In the show, she couldn’t care less about Robin. Any time Batman brought him up, Catwoman would suggest that he should be killed and I imagine she would feel the same about Batgirl. It’s possible that she was just looking for a way to escape going back to prison but I’m not sure. This isn’t a huge complaint; it’s just something I thought about. I would consider it somewhere between a positive and a negative.
I’ve expressed this opinion in other reviews but I hate when a story starts with some dramatic action and then flashes back. In this issue, it is so pointless to start on the car chase. The issue easily could have opened with Batman and Robin’s discovery of the escape instead of a random action scene that it is out of context so I don’t care about what is going on.
I still don’t like the style of this art. I just don’t think it matches the tone or style of this show. As I’ve said before, facial expressions are strange in this. I would love to know what the inspiration for the art style is because I don’t get it.
This comic is really good. There’s good humor, solid action and it is well plotted and thought out. The most important thing about it is that it is fun to read. I had a blast with this issue; it’s exciting and there are cool tidbits for fans of the show, which I am. While I still don’t appreciate the artwork, I highly recommend this issue.