Never one to stay away from Batman for too long, I thought I’d try a Batman book that doesn’t involve Joker cutting off his face or other terrifying behavior. From Stone Arch books, a Capstone imprint, this new collection of library-bound comics under the series title The Batman Strikes! is one that younger fans of Batman can look forward to. For my introduction to the series, I was happy to read In the Clutches of the Penguin. Based on the Kids’ WB Saturday morning cartoon, The Batman, this is a fun and fast-paced story of a younger and greener Bruce Wayne and Batman that fans young and old will appreciate.
The problem with the Penguin is that he’s just too cocky and predictable, so when Batman discovers a pattern on a map of all the Penguin’s latest robberies, he thinks he’s finally caught a break to bring the him down. However, this newly minted Batman just doesn’t hit the right notes, and he ends up on the receiving end of some Penguin revenge. Will he get a second chance at making a first impression…actually, will he get a second chance at apprehending the Penguin and all his flighty foul companions?
I’m always happy to see superhero comics for younger readers. I take for granted all the great Batman stories out there, but they’re really mature, and just not right for the young’uns. The illustrations and coloring here are vivid and bright, and really stay true to the look of the original show. Perfectly placed and easy-to-follow traditional paneling will make it simple for readers who are new to the comic format to follow the story in the correct order. Movement and action are presented well in the story, with fun onomatopoeic accompaniments. What a perfect addition to any superhero fan’s collection, and with the library binding, these books are perfect for many, many readings.
The Batman Strikes!, vol. 1: In the Clutches of the Penguin!
by Bill Matheny
Art by Christopher Jones, Terry Beatty
DC Comics, Stone Arch Books, 2014