We have already seen gangster “Pretty Boy” Floy employ his sister to pose as astrologer Madame Zodiac to control tycoon Tyrone Koom. Zodiac claims her star charts pinpoint Batman as Koom’s killer! Batman predicts this astrologer is not on the level! Zodiac slides Koom a gun! Will he kill Batman before Batman “kills” him? The worst is yet to come in the long awaited follow up to last year’s lavish Batman: The Silver Age Dailies and Sundays 1966 – 1967.
This latest volume is quite different from the first, largely because Batman was changing by the end of the sixties. The comic’s Pow! Zap! campiness dissipated over the course of IDW’s first collection, and it remains gone for the entirety of this second one (no guest appearances by Jack Benny this time, kids). The storylines are pretty dark, that extended Koom arc ending in a shockingly gruesome manner that would be unimaginable in a contemporary newspaper comic strip. We also see Batman’s transformation from his “new look” of the mid-sixties to the sleeker, more finely detailed appearance of his seventies incarnation. Perhaps because the TV show gave his comics a new boost, we do not see writer Whitney Ellsworth messing with the storylines of the essential Batman rogue’s gallery; our hero strictly faces off against obscure, comics-only villains in this series, though familiar friends Superman and Aquaman have significant guest spots (we also see the rare comic appearance of TV’s Chief O’Hara).
One negative that stood out to me reading this second volume was how the daily strips tend to waste the first panel of a lot of these three-panel strips by reiterating what happened the previous day. This creates a bit of a halting reading experience, although Ellsworth’s stories continue to be interesting and Al Plastino’s artwork is top notch. This collection also ends cleaner than the first volume with the complete resolution of a Face/Off style extended arc, so you won’t be left hanging on the cliff’s edge for another year before the arrival of the third volume of Batman: The Silver Age Dailies (there will be no Sundays in that final book).
Get Batman: The Silver Age Dailies and Sundays Complete 1968 – 1969 on Amazon.com here: