Warning: this review contains spoilers.
Fans of camp rejoice! It’s been two weeks, which means another digital installment of Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman’s Batman ‘66 Meets The Green Hornet, drawn by the legend that is Ty Templeton. After an installment that saw Batman and Robin gassed by their masked acquaintances, the action truly begins to ramp up in Chapter #4.
Though billed as a co-writers, it is clear with each passing issue that Ralph Garman is the creative voice behind this series. His attention to detail and love for this incarnation of Batman shine through each meticulously chosen syllable. In one this chapter’s stand-out moments, Batman takes the time to educate Robin on the root of the word “philatelist” before reminding him to brush up on his foreign languages. Shortly thereafter, the Dynamic Duo manage to locate General Gumm using the Mobile Batcopter Spectrographic Bat-Analyzer, a deliciously named gadget which could only exist in the world of Batman ‘66. The sequence ends with Batman and Robin running to their new destination, which is certain cause readers to hum “Na na na na na Batman!”
As Team Batman and Team Green Hornet converge on General Gumm’s location, garish villain is discussing the plan’s next steps with the Joker, who was revealed to be his partner-in-crime at the conclusion of the previous digital issue. Again, the creative team captures the essence of this version of the character – a vaudevillian prankster rather than a murderous psychopath.
The chemistry between the “stern” General Gumm and the silly Joker is one of the book’s highlights. As solid as the writing is, it would not be nearly as effective without the art of Ty Templeton. His rendering of character models, particularly the Joker’s facial expressions, are spot on. Actor Cesar Romero was infamous for refusing to shave his moustache, instead requiring make-up teams to apply the white facepaint directly on it. The result was that viewers could see Romero’s moustache on screen beneath the make-up, a detail which Templeton does not overlook in the slightest. Seeing Romero’s Joker fully realized in comicbook form is more than enough to compensate for the few rough panels that sneak their way into the story.
Colorist Tony Avina is the unsung hero of this issue. The world of Batman ‘66 lends itself to a combination of garish primary colors with softer, natural tones. Avina is able to thread the needle and bring the colorful world of the television series to life. Though the Joker’s hair may be too green compared to Romero’s actual look, this is nothing more than a nitpick. This is a beautiful issue largely due to Avina’s palette.
Batman ‘66 Meets The Green Hornet continues to be a shining beacon in the market. The fantastic writing and exemplary art have made this series a must-buy. Furthermore, combine this with Jeff Parker’s outstanding digital-first series Batman ‘66, and the world of the much beloved television show is stronger than ever before.
*Note: this review was originally published at DC Infinite