Cover by Mike Allred
Written by Jeff Parker
Art & Colours by Jonathan Case
BEWARE OF BAT-SPOILERS!
Long live the team of Jeff Parker and Jonathan Case!
This week ‘The Hatter Takes the Crown’ introduces The Mad Hatter to the book, originally portrayed by David Wayne in the series. I don’t remember much about his appearances in the show but I do remember his crazy hat and the ‘special effects’ that went along with it.
This week Parker has taken a few cues from the reference laden opening chapter of The Joker arc and run with it to extremes. This time though the references aren’t to the wider Bat-universe but pop-culture in itself.
See if you can spot them all yourselves but definitely keep your eyes peeled for the TARDIS… okay so it’s a police phone box but still to me it is a TARDIS!
The references really drive home the decade in which the book is set and do a great job of opening up the world beyond Gotham. Up to now the stories have taken place in a small number of locales and although there aren’t many more on show here we’ve gone transatlantic and further pushed the boundaries of what to expect in this digital first series.
I love that the opening of the story follows a long running joke from the TV series that Bruce and Dick were going fishing. I wonder if one day they will finally actually get to go fishing. I think if they did then the series could happily come to an end – don’t do it Jeff!
This is yet another story that sits perfectly in the continuity of the TV series but shows how far the potential of the show can be stretched before it become a parody of itself.
Mad Hatter in the TV series is incredibly different to that of the comics but this issues shows that he doesn’t need to be altered to match his mainstream self in order to capitalise on the nature of his character.
What Parker continues to do in this issue is show how well he understands the characters of the series and how they have to be portrayed in order to keep this continuation of the series viable.
If you’ve read my reviews of previous issues then you know there’s something I’m going to have to discuss in regards to this issue: the return of DC². I had just gotten used to the fact that it was gone and now its back.
I hadn’t expected this new technology to show up again after the first arc but it is great to have it back. It perfectly accentuates the brilliant artwork in this issue and pushes the story to the max of its nostalgia trip. Keep your eyes peeled for the Union Jack Bat!
At this stage I actually feel a lot different about DC² than I did when it was first introduced. Certainly when it first disappeared during The Penguin arc it felt like the fortunes of this book were looking down but actually at this stage the stories and the art don’t need DC² in order to be successful. Now it feels much more like a fun gimmick which does enhance the book but isn’t required to provide a crutch for it.
It’s a testament to the hard work that Parker has put in to developing the series that what felt so important in the beginning is now no longer required.
This issue seems like the beginning of another great arc so if you haven’t already I suggest you check it out now!