BATMAN ’66 MEETS THE GREEN HORNET HC
Written by Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman
Art by Ty Templeton and Tony Avina
Published by DC Comics and Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: March 25, 2015
Jump into your wayback machine because Batman and the Green Hornet are coming at you like BAM! WOMP! POW! GLERG! Or something.
As the caped crusaders of Gotham City and the mighty miscreants in green and black face off, a greater set of foes are after a priceless set of archeological findings. Will Batman and the Green Hornet be able to see eye-to-eye before the Joker and General Gumm make off with the museum’s newest fossils? Stay tuned!
The most difficult thing about taking on a project predicated on nostalgic interest from its audience is the risk of missing the tone. The 1966 Batman series has a very specific attitude with which it carries itself, and nearly 50 years later, it’s easy to make light of and joke about. But the series itself never took itself as a parody. It was humorous. It was tongue-in-cheek to be certain. But it never self-mocked.
Thankfully, neither do Smith and Garman. The writers do a wonderful job of maintaining the quality of the original material in how it took itself seriously, but integrating fondness and a light case of side-eyes when necessary. Not every scene carries it off, as some of Batman’s insistence at the superiority of the Batman over his rival seems unnecessarily braggy. Adam West always played the character in a much more humble, or at the least hubric, tone, and here there are instances of a shrillness that just don’t fit. Overall, however, the characterizations stand up, and should delight fans of the show as much as the casual reader.
A throw-away (seriously, throw him away) villain from the original Green Hornet/Batman crossover, Colonel Gumm, gets a promotion to General Gumm, and actually becomes more interesting in the process. Sure, he’s still ensconced in a neon pink military uniform, but I actually don’t think he’s any more kooky than Mad Hatter or the Penguin, or any number of other villains we see frequently representing Batman’s rogues gallery. I’d go so far as to say I’d like to see Smith and Garman’s transformation of the villain work its way into some modern day Batman stories. That’s how fine a job this character rework is.
Ty Templeton’s pencils must be credited along these lines as well, as the artist not only produces a fine representation of the Joker not wholly enslaved to Cesar Romero’s image, but carries off the look of General Gumm perfectly. He balances the character between cartoonishness and just enough unease to make his transformation believable and poignant. It’s easy to see how the character as drawn by Templeton could be transformed into something much more sinister in another setting.
The book is surprisingly consistent in its look, given the vast number of inkers at play, and throughout, Templeton maintains this beautiful flatness and simplicity to his lines that works hand in hand with Tony Avina’s bright and primary color palette. For a book having a retro feel, this volume succeeds in both maintaining that idea of what we think the 60s were like in 2015, and keeping the work modern and fresh-feeling.
Overall, Batman ’66 Meets the Green Hornet succeeds as a full story and still manages to break itself down into those chapters we were so used to as kids (watching reruns, mind you). The characters feel true to the voices we still maintain in our heads, but are easy enough to hand over to the next generation of readers who may not be ready to see a Joker with his face peeled off. It’s a good thing to have this type of story too. The others will be waiting for them soon enough.
The Verdict: 8.5/10