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 villainous Red Hood has taken the Joker right from under the noses of the Dynamic Duo. As our heroes give chase in the catacombs of a graveyard, it’s the Joker that is the most surprised by his captor. Crafting this clownish caper is once again the creative talents of Jeff Parker and Joe Quinones.
Parker is able to balance and transition the tone of this book in an effective manner that feels natural. While the darker, somewhat serious nature of the previous issue carries over to this week, there is a tonal shift towards lightheartedness and camp that is done in a smooth and natural manner. This is a task that can cause some writers to stumble, but Parker walks that fine line like an expert tight-rope artist.
As good as Quinones’ art was last week, it is markedly improved in this issue. Similar to his fill-in work on Marvel’s FF, Quinones is able to nail the tone of this title while throwing in his own unique flourishes. He certainly draws a good-looking Batmobile. Also, this might be the best that Cesar Romero ever looked as the Clown Prince of Crime. I was never a big fan of the Joker’s design on the original TV show, but it pencil and ink work, as well as Maris Wicks’ colors, are a joy to look at.
Being eight issues in, there is a clearer picture of how Parker is interpreting the Batman & Robin dynamic which is quite distinct from other incarnations. Batman is not necessarily the most capable in terms of physicality, but his intellect is superior to all others – not unlike a certain Inspector Holmes. He is able to deduce the cause of this story’s caper and ensure the correct person makes their way behind bars. And if Batman is Sherlock, Robin is his Watson. I applaud Parker’s decision to make Robin a more capable crime fighter than he had been portrayed in the Silver Age. In a refreshing reversal of expectations, Robin is the one to save Batman in this issue thanks to some spectacularly rendered acrobatics and slick improvisational skills. Their dynamic is one of the quirky elements to this title that makes it stand toe-to-toe with the best of DC’s offerings.
I understand that, due to the type of story being told, there are going to be some serious leaps in what I call “logical logic.” However, Batman’s deduction and subsequent explanation for the Red Hood saga was cause for a single raised eyebrow. Without giving much away, the revelation at issue’s end really pushes the absurdity past my tolerable limit.
Batman and Robin’s battle with the Red Hood gang is a welcome addition to the world of Batman ’66. Despite a major head-scratching plot element, Parker delivers another script that would make Bill Dozier proud. Combine that with some great art and you’ve got another great title to add to your Wednesday pull list.