Batman ’66 Meets the Green Hornet: “The Heroes Fight Back”
Written by Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman
Illustrated by Ty Templeton
Colors by Tony Aviña
Letters by Wes Abbott
Cover by Alex Ross
Did you guys see We’re living in exciting times, my friends.
Anyway, on to the topic at hand. If you were to buy a comic based solely on the cover, you could do a lot worse than this one. That piece is a thing of beauty, one of the best paintings by Alex Ross I’ve seen in years. Everything is wonderful, from the dramatic poses, wonderful depth, and gorgeous colors. If I had money to burn, I’d buy a print of it and hang it in my living room next to, I don’t know, a “Kramer” or something.
Luckily, the quality of the issue goes deeper than the surface as we’re given another thrilling installment of the “team-up” between Batman, the Green Hornet, and their respective partners in crime fighting.
When we last left our heroes, they were stuck on top of a speeding train, glued in place by the nefarious Colonel Gumm.
Will our heroes be able to free themselves?
Can they escape certain doom?
Will Batman and Robin dodge the dangerous grasp of death with their boots intact?
Of course (except that part about their boots), but the manner of their escape is part of the fun. As with last issue, Smith and Garman have a great handle on the dialogue, with Batman and Robin throwing out nonchalant comments about algorithms and doing algebra while they’re escaping their doom. Green Hornet and Kato make a slightly rougher go of it, but at least the get to keep their shoes… and then some.
There’s more great bickering between the heroes here, and a little more development for Team Hornet (I won’t call them that again, I promise). Batman and Robin obviously think they’re villains, and Hornet reveals they were on the train because “someone was going to make a move on those fossils without cutting me in on the caper,” supporting their desire to be seen as criminals.
This is certainly helpful, especially for anyone like me with little history with the character. My previous exposure to Green Hornet has been the two “Batman” episodes and the 2011 movie (don’t hold that against me) that I… actually kind of liked (that you can hold against me), so any sort of motivation and insight is helpful. Either way, it’s a nice mini-primer for the character that doesn’t feel shoe-horned in, and the second half of the book has a few scenes that give even more depth to the guest stars.
On the true villain’s front, Gumm’s plan, which I won’t spoil, is actually pretty clever. It fits with his gimmick and finally makes sense as to why he wants some fossils. It remains to be seen how exactly his mystery accomplice fits into the proceedings (no points if you can guess who it is), but come on. It’s the Joker. Why wouldn’t he be here?
A quick aside: there’s a nice bit of continuity when the Joker makes a reference to working with the Penguin, the Riddler, and Catwoman. It’s almost a throwaway line, but it’s nice to see a sense of history even in this universe.
Like the previous issue, the script is pitch perfect, with each pun, barb, and aside landing perfectly. There’s a sense of history between Batman and Hornet that shines through in their bickering, which actually takes up the majority of the first part of the book.
It’s a good thing the script is so good, too, because after the opening action, Templeton doesn’t get quite as much to do until later. His artwork is still incredibly solid throughout, though. The body language and expressive faces are top-notch, with some really good “acting” as it were by the characters, but once things ramp up again in the second half there is some truly stunning work.
My only real complaint with the art is that Gumm and his henchmen are all decked out in these bright pink costumes, and the pages they’re featured in, with backgrounds of more neutral, earthy tones, kind of run together. That’s hardly the fault of the artist or Aviña’s otherwise vibrant colors, as they’re just following pre-existing models, but it would have been nice to see a little more variation.
I will say, though, that Templeton’s Cesar Romero Joker is spot on. Like, I stared at a few of his panels for quite awhile because the likeness was so eerily good.
This mini-series has been even more enjoyable than the ongoing “Batman ’66” comic, which on most weeks is no mean feat. Somehow, this issue ends up being even more exciting than the first and is a book every Batfan should pick up, and I look forward to everything Kevin Smith and his team have to offer in the coming months.
Overall: Engaging and fast-paced, this issue is a perfect balance of great writing and fantastic action. It’s a great example of dialogue being just as compelling as a well-staged escape scene, both of which are represented here in spades.
- You like the ’66 Batman.
- A mix of great dialogue and action is something you look for in your comics.
- You want to see some of the underrated Ty Templeton’s best penciling work.
- You’ve ever wondered if Batman and Robin wear socks under their boots.