I doubt that the Clock King or The Mad Hatter is anyone’s favorite villain from the 1966 Adam West TV series, but writer Jeff Parker and artists Jonathan Case and Sandy Jarrell dust these characters off and give them the best episodes they never had.
The Hatter Takes the Crown
Sick and tired of every Mad Hatter story being about a kidnapping and an inevitable tea party? Disgusted at how the only new characteristic given to the villain in recent years was to make him blood-thirsty? Well then you’re in for a real treat here! Not only is this Mad Hatter not obsessed with Alice, but he’s not even sticking around Gotham City. Batman and the Boy Wonder travel to London to combat a Jervis Tetch who has a more obvious obsession, hats. The man loves hats! Even I have a new appreciation for them after hearing his speech (which he gave while stealing the crown jewels) on how important this cranial accessory truly is not only to our everyday way of life but in the grander scheme of world history.
This issue is so delightfully campy it hurts. Batman and Robin enjoying apple juice on a commercial airliner? Check! The Detective Inspector of Scotland Yard’s name is Gordon and he has a 2nd in command named O’Hara as well? Check! A British Batmobile?! Check! We even see Batman and Robin upstaging the Beatles! And no, this isn’t the first time our heroes have shared a comic with the Fab Four.
This issue was hilarious, lighthearted fun from start to finish that was elevated all the more by the vibrant pop art of Jonathan Case, who drew, inked, and colored the entire story himself. These panels are gorgeous and I very much appreciate the subtle details such as a crazed fan who won’t let go of Robin who is fighting her off in the background and the spot-on portrayal of these TV characters right down to the gesture of Robin bringing his fist down into his palm as he makes as he comes to yet another passionate conclusion. Case is the perfect fit for this book not just because he draws such nostalgic and humorous imagery, but because his sequential storytelling, use of color, and eye for thrilling action scenes is just so good.
Mad Hatter (played by David Wayne, a character that appeared in 4 episodes) may be an often forgotten villain from the classic TV series, but his comic is one of the best this series has had to date.
The Clock King Strikes!
I can’t really go into too many details about the plot of this one without spoiling details about the Mad Hatter tale. You see, this actually serves as a nice back-up story which dives even deeper into Jervis Tetch’s sinister plot and it comes with a rather surprising twist as well. This chapter had a surprising amount of action for how short it was and, again, it made great use of one of the least well-known villains from the TV series (his episode was actually written by Batman creator, Bill Finger). Jonathan Case doesn’t illustrate this one but I thought that Sandy Jarrell and colorist Tony Avina did a terrific job capturing the look and feel of the show (complete with Dutch angled panels), however I did find some of the faces to vary from panel to panel and there was a bit too much emphasis on Batman’s eyebrows. Still, it was a goofy, good-time and a pleasant follow-up to the Mad Hatter adventure. I was concerned when this series first began that the novelty would wear off quite quickly, but Jeff Parker and the rotating artists have created something that pays homage to the TV series without falling into a repetitive formula. I have enjoyed every installment so far.
- You want a great one-and-done read
- You love the Adam West TV series that inspired this comic
- You’re looking for something funny
- You want a book that you and your kids can enjoy .This is a great all-ages read
- You enjoy pop art. This is a beautifully illustrated book
- Variety is the spice of life. This is comic features not one but two entertaining stories
Yet another fantastic issue in what’s quickly becoming one of my most anticipated bat-titles!