Holy digital comics, Batman! The adventures of the 1960’s television show continue in this week’s installment of Batman ’66. Check out the latest DCN review!
The Prince of Knaves makes his long anticipated Batman ’66 debut, courtesy of Jeff Parker and artist Joe Quinones, as the Dynamic Duo attempt to solve the mystery of the Red Hood. Also making her debut in the world of Batman ’66 is a certain Arkham psychiatrist named Dr. Quinn.
Parker establishes a much different tone in this installment as opposed to previous issues. While the first six issues of Batman ’66 kept with the light-hearted camp of the original series, this is a much darker interpretation of “Bat-West.” Granted, the tone is still lighter than 90% of DC’s current output, but that isn’t saying much when Superman killing other heroes by melting their faces. What we do have is an excellent opening chapter in a mystery that seduces its readers with the enigma of the man behind the Red Hood. The story is taken seriously, with moments of comic relief provided by Cesar Romero’s manic Joker.
The tone this issue strikes is largely due to the beautiful art of Joe Quinones. His artwork is very expressive and gothic in nature. A seasoned reader looking at it may see shades of the early Bob Kane / Bill Finger stories of the 1930s and 1940s, or more recently Irving Frazer’s art in Grant Morrison’s Batman & Robin run. And kudos to Mr. Quinones for including Cesar Romero’s mustache under the Joker make-up. That’s a classic touch from the show that would have certainly hurt my enjoyment of the issue. If you’re going to do 1960s Batman, Joker needs the Romero ‘stache, and Quinones delivers in spades. I looks both ridiculous and fitting.
While the mystery that Parker sets up in this chapter is certainly tantalizing, I worry that that he is leading the reader towards the path of predictability. Already I can imagine a couple different scenarios for how the mystery is wrapped up, and I hope to be wrong.
As wonderfully different Quinones art is, there are a couple instances where the characters just don’t look right. For example, there are several instances where Batman looks like Butthead (from MTV’s Beavis and Butthead) which really drew me out of the story.
A darker, gothic tone hits the world of Batman ’66. Parker and Quinones walk a fine line between serious and absurd in a surprisingly suspenseful installment of the “Bright Knight’s” adventures. Despite some quibbles about the art, the story is captivating and the art can be, at times, mesmerizing.