Friday, June 20, 2014


DC COMICS/DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT – @DCComics and @dynamitecomics

WRITERS: Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman
ARTIST: Ty Templeton
COLORS: Tony Avina
LETTERS: Wes Abbott
COVER: Alex Ross
VARIANT COVER: Michael Allred and Laura Allred
28pp, Color, $2.99 U.S. (August 2014)

Rated E (Everyone)

Starring Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin, the television series, “Batman,” debuted on the ABC television network in January 1966 and was an immediate success.  That apparently encouraged Greenway Productions and 20th Century Fox Television, the company’s behind “Batman,” to bring another costumed superhero to network television.

Later that same year, ABC debuted “The Green Hornet,” a television series based on The Green Hornet, a character that first appeared on radio.  Van Williams starred as the Green Hornet and his civilian identity, Britt Reid, and the legendary Bruce Lee played the Hornet’s martial-artist partner, Kato.  The series ran for one season from 1966 to 1967.

Van Williams and Bruce Lee made cameo appearances as the Green Hornet and Kato on the Batman TV series, during the second season.  Later that same season, the Green Hornet and Kato appeared in the two-part episode, “A Piece of the Action” and “Batman's Satisfaction” (first aired on March 1–2, 1967).  The episodes feature the Green Hornet and Kato in Batman’s Gotham City, trying to foil a counterfeit stamp ring run by Colonel Gumm.

Debuting in 2013, Batman ’66 is a comic book series that is inspired by the classic 1960s “Batman” TV series.  Now, DC Comics is publishing a Batman ’66 miniseries that teams Batman and Robin of that show with the Green Hornet and Kato of the 1966-67 television program.  Entitled Batman ’66 Meets The Green Hornet, the six-issue comic book miniseries is written by Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman, drawn by Ty Templeton, colored by Tony Aviña, and lettered by Wes Abbot.

Batman ’66 Meets The Green Hornet #1 (“On the Wrong Track’) finds millionaire Bruce Wayne, who is Batman, and his young ward, Dick Grayson, who is Robin, at home in stately Wayne Manor.  Bruce and Dick are discussing Dick’s date with a young woman for later in the evening, but this domestic scene is about to be interrupted.

A call from Commissioner Gordon of the Gotham City Police Department alerts Bruce to potential trouble.  Soon, Bruce is aboard the Gotham Express, accompanying a priceless fossil collection as it is being transported to another city.

Once aboard, Bruce discovers that he is acquainted with two other passengers:  playboy and media mogul Britt Reid, the owner and publisher of the big city newspaper, The Daily Sentinel, and Kato, Reid’s valet.  It seems that they are also concerned about the safety of the fossil collection.  They are about to discover, however, that a villain, familiar to Batman and the Green Hornet, wants the fossils, and it will take the combined effort of Batman and Robin and The Green Hornet and Kato to stop him.

As a child, I was a huge fan of the 1960’s ABC Batman program; as an adult, I like the series, but not as much as I once did.  I like ABC’s similar series, “The Green Hornet,” but I doubt that I have seen even half the episodes that aired during the series’ single season, which numbers at 26, I think.

I don’t know how to describe what I think or even how I feel about Batman ’66 Meets The Green Hornet.  Perhaps, I am mildly entertained.  It is like an homage to the original television series that is not sure if it should send up the originals or pen a love letter.  I can see the heavy-hand of Kevin Smith, the movie director who has been writing comic books since the 1990s.  I think Smith wants this comic book to seem like the old TV shows, but also seems as if he is not sure if the politically correct thing to do is mock the television shows or to slavishly imitate them.

I have been an admirer of artist Ty Templeton, but his work on Batman ’66 Meets The Green Hornet is mechanical.  Even the coloring is unimaginative.  Will I read more of this?  If I am overcome by nostalgic love for the old TV shows, I might.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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