Batman ’66 Meets the Green Hornet #4: “The Treacherous Snare”
Written by Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman
Illustrated by Ty Templeton
Colored by Tony Aviña
Lettered by Wes Abbott
Cover by Alex Ross
This one will read better in the trade, methinks.
We’ve reached the halfway point of the series, and after the high-octane first two chapters, things are starting to drag a bit.
Weirdly enough, though, the content and execution of the issue isn’t the problem. The writing is as sharp and witty as ever, with perfect characterization and interactions along with spot-on trademark Westian Asides™ (which is what I call the trademark non-sequitirs as of now, I guess). As always, the rivalry between Batman and the Green Hornet, Robin and Kato, is loaded with pithy witticisms and dry takedowns.
That, however, is the problem: as fun as it has been to read this series, and as entertaining as it’s been seeing these heroes trying to one-up each other to try and catch the bad guys, it’s running long.
Everything that happens in this issue, and probably even the previous one, could have easily been trimmed down to fit one issue rather than two. I don’t know if this was the way Smith and Garman plotted it, or if it was an editorial mandate to have a six issue mini (perhaps to better fill out the forthcoming trade paperback, but I’ve seen trades that have collected fewer, shorter issues). Either way, there’s a lot of fat that needed to be trimmed. Seeing Batman and the Green Hornet fighting the first time? Fun. Seeing them trade barbs and strutting their judicial superiority? Hilarious. The fifth or sixth or however many times it’s been at this point that they’ve done that? It’s… getting old, and I hate to say that.
Plus, this is the second typo in a Batman digital-first issue this month (and in dialogue for the same character each time, no less), so editorial control needs to be a little tighter in the proofreading.
I’m not going to knock anyone at DC, because I don’t know the motives behind any of this. I’m sure the writers and artist wanted to tell a fun story, much like I wanted to read it, and the powers that be wanted a high profile team-up to draw attention to their digital-first line. For the most part, it’s been successful, and I’m still enjoying the ride, but it would have been nice to have it be a bit tighter.
Moving on from that to the book itself: if the caliber of the writing and art were in a standalone issue you just picked up off the stands, it would have been a phenomenal book. Not just the witty script, but Templeton’s art here is some of the best, most polished work he’s done on this series so far. I loved this panel in particular, with its great use of angles and perspective:
His line work is clean, and Aviña’s colors are sharp and pop. If nothing else, it’s a great looking issue with some fun set-pieces and a few laugh out loud sight gags.
Even if General Gumm’s henchmen look exactly like the Challengers of the Unknown.
More like Challengers of the Gummknown, right guys? …guys?
With just two issues left, hopefully the plot will finally get somewhere and reach a satisfying conclusion. I know a lot of stories are more about the journey than the destination, and while this journey has been fun, it’s about time to see where we’re supposed to be going.
- You’ve ever wondered if the war on crime ends in a draw. SpoilerIt does not.
- You’ve read thus far, and while this hasn’t been a glowing review, it’s still well worth it.
Overall: The weakest issue so far, but still a fun romp even if the meandering is wearing thin.