Batman ’66 Meets the Green Hornet: “An Unlikely Pair”
Written by Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman
Illustrated by Ty Templeton
Colors by Tony Aviña
Letters by Wes Abbott
Cover by Alex Ross
Every story needs a middle. You can do a lot worse than the third chapter of Batman ’66 Meets the Green Hornet, but the trappings of a standard middle chapter are in full effect: not much that’s of consequence happens, and what does happen occurs to get the characters where they need to be for the next half of the story.
As I said, though, this is by no means a bad issue. The writing is still as sharp and tight as ever and the artwork actually seems cleaner than in months past, but where this issue really shines is in the humor. There were more times I laughed out loud in this issue than in any book in quite some time.
Looking at where we are in the plot, you might not think this issue would be big on the laughs: Robin and Kato are taken captive by Gumm and the Joker and forced to battle to the death, lest the Joker’s pet shark eat them both. It’s… actually kind of brutal for this Joker, but not out of character.
It’s the bickering between Batman and the Green Hornet, Robin and Kato, and even the Joker and Gumm that reminds you that this is just pure fun.
Sick burn, Bats.
See what I mean? That is joining “I’ll give you the Bat-business!” in my day to day conversations. I’ll let you know how that goes.
Where the humor really shines, though, is in the sight gags: Batman giving Green Hornet just a bit more knockout gas than he probably needs to before they go to the Batcave, the toothy grin of the Joker’s shark, and especially signs posted throughout the issue. Whether it was Smith, Garman, Templeton, or a combination of the three who decided what the text posted around Gotham should read, it doesn’t matter, because I was rolling with some of the gags. A warehouse is labeled as “Recently Defunct” on the chain link fence surrounding it, and if that isn’t standard operating procedure, it sure should be. There are other objects, like a collection of Roman coins and a lever the Joker pulls, that have that same kind of dry, incredibly specific description that the TV series excelled at, which further adds to Smith and Garman’s credibility as the writers of the book.
Month to month, this book is near the top of my pull list, and even with an issue like this that isn’t quite as dense and exciting as the previous two that won’t change. The main criticism I have for the series as a whole is that the caper that’s driving the action, whatever the villains have planned and why they’re working together, isn’t all that interesting at this point at least. We’re only halfway through the series at this point, so I’m sure things will come together in the end, but even with a fairly thin plot the excitement of the central team-up and the (I’m not kidding) career best work the creative team is putting into it more than make up for any shortcomings.
Overall: Less involving than previous issues, but still a solid installment in one of the best Batman comics on the racks.
- You love Batman ’66, and why wouldn’t you? Coincidentally, if you haven’t heard about this yet, mark your calendars accordingly. Pretty exciting stuff from one of the all-time great artists to come from DC, and adaptations from unpublished scripts and the like are always interesting.
- You’ve been reading so far.
- You like sharp, smart dialogue and great character interaction.