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Batman ’66 Meets The Legion Of Super-Heroes

Lee Allred, writer
Michael Allred, artist
Laura Allred, colorist
Wes Abbott, letterist
DC $3.99

“Swingin’ ’60s Action With The Teens From Tomorrow!”

Long time Legion fans take hope their favorite stalwart superhero teens of the future will return to comics in time to mark the group’s sixtieth anniversary in 2018. Most of the characters have been absent at DC since both Legion titles failed during the Nu52 relaunch, making the last few years the worst in terms of appearances since the team was booted from its Adventure home and relegated to a backup in Action. Last month Legion fans got a one shot special teaming up the Legion and Bugs Bunny. This month we get Batman ’66 meeting the Legion in a time travel tale courtesy of the Allred family!

The plot is a simple one, reminiscent of the super compressed ones of the Silver Age that allowed one off stories to be told in as many as 14 pages or as few as 6 pages. Here the Legion’s foe super hypnotist Universo has traveled back in time to 1966 for unexplained reasons. A half dozen Legionnaires(Saturn Girl, Brainiac 5, Ferro Lad, Shadow Lass, Phantom Girl, and Chameleon Boy) use a pair of time travel bubbles to Gotham City where Brainiac 5 believes Universo can be found and arrive at Wayne Manor to enlist Robin and his detective skills to track down Universo. At the same time campy Bat villain Egghead is on the loose in Gotham and accidentally discovers the Legion’s time bubbles and finds himself in the 30th century after stealing one where he hatches a plan for domination. And cue the wacky hijinks!

Lee Allred uses the plot to great advantage to create jaunty character interactions and catchy dialog in the spirits of both the show and the early Legion to match it. Saturn Girl trying to teach Robin how to use a flight ring is hilarious! Shadow Lass and Ferro Lad’s reactions to Batman spouting the “Give a man a fish” cliche and Brainiac 5 translating another 20th century phrase to its 30th century equivalent are just two smile inducing examples. I don’t want to give too much away here and spoil part of the reading experience, but here’s a panel to tease you.

Mike and Laura are their top notch selves with their respective artistic contributions. Mike has captured the likenesses of Adam West, Burt Ward, and Alan Napier’s Alfred while I swear he married a little bit of early 60s Legion artist John Forte’s style with a lively and gestural animation. Mike mixes up the tried and true panel grid layout with various angles and circular and oval panels. Especially fun is the full page board game layout Mike and Lee devised. Similarly, Laura’s coloring evokes the bright and simple palettes achieved by the offset printing process and its quaint though tell tale screen dots. Kudos to Wes Abbott for his clean, precise lettering and his skillful word balloon placement of nearly a dozen characters.

If I have one complaint it’s that Batgirl is used only for a cameo appearance and a non speaking one at that. While it seems like a missed opportunity to me I realize the cast of 9 heroes and two villains sharing 20 pages is already crowded. I had the impression this was slated to be a six parter mini much like the Batman ’66 comics have been since the original Adam West inspired series ended. It isn’t. All we have is this single 20 page story that leaves me wanting more! So much more! Whatever DC may have planned for the Legion on its 60th anniversary, if anything, is a mystery. One that DC may address in the next few days during Comic Con. Regardless of what DC may or may not have planned for the missing Legion a follow up one shot by the Allred clan focusing on the teens (and maybe the Legion of Substitute Heroes) would make me very happy!

 

July 21, 2017
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