- The Washington Times - Friday, July 25, 2014

Sequential-art fans looking for a lighter version of a Dark Knight flashback got their wish in 2013 with the launch of DC Comics’ ongoing series Batman ‘66.

Tied to the famous 1960s television show on ABC starring actors Adam West and Burt Ward as the Dynamic Duo, issues feature the cast and near all of the famous villains from the original show drawn in a cartoony style.

Well, the Caped Crusading camp has gotten even better over the last few months with one of the more memorable televised superhero team-ups being chronicled and expanded upon as a 12-issue, comic-book miniseries.

I am, of course, talking about the time when the Gotham’s finest heroes uneasily joined forces with an anti-hero and his kicking sidekick.

Oh yeah, ancient crime fighters, the nostalgia trip continues as DC Comics and Dynamite Entertainment present Batman ‘66 Meets the Green Hornet ($2.99 for hard copy each or $1.99 each in digital format).

Anyone who existed at the time when these characters met on the “Batman” television show (specifically, the two-part episodes “A Piece of the Action” and “Batman’s Satisfaction” from 1967) will fondly remember the tingling anticipation and satisfactory results of the event.

Well, now fans get a redux co-starring the illustrated versions of Van Williams as Britt Reid and Bruce Lee as Kato.

Written by the combined might of pop culture authority and film director Kevin Smith along with comedian and impressionist powerhouse Ralph Garman, it’s an alliterative retro homage to the meeting.

Readers will already find five of the 12 issues of the series ready to download on their favorite mobile device so they easily can admire the action.

The story finds the fiend Col. Gumm (now self-promoted to the rank of general) attempting to execute his greatest stamp-themed heist of all time, a rare collection of fossils.

He eventually enlists the help of the Clown Prince of Crime. Yes, it’s veteran thespian Cesar Romero immortalized in sequential art as the Joker with white makeup covering his legendary moustache just like his real-life hijinks back in the 1960s.

Throughout, the tasty linguistic linguini from the writers plays out in numerous sequences delivering an authentic “Batman” experience.

For example when Robin asks “Philatelist?” Batman responds, “Stamp collector, Robin, from the French word philatelie. You need to brush up on your foreign language studies, old chum.”

I almost thought I heard Adam West’s deadpan delivery reciting the tongue-in-cheek prose.

Mr. Smith and Mr. Garman also take full advantage of the original source material to blow the retro campiness needle off the meter.

The writers really tapped into the vintage shenanigans — be it using the Batcopter, the Bat spectrographic analyzer, Batsleep and Bat-Wake gas (to get the Green Hornet to the Batcave), the Batcomputer (spitting out IBM punched cards with the appropriate “ding” sound), Kato’s Hornet darts or a cliff-hanging conclusion to every issue.

Although, artist Ty Templeton excels with bringing the very colorful, nostalgic trip to illustrated life, he has his hands full trying to capture the likeness of all of the actors.

He does a solid job, especially with Adam West in costume. I’ll reference a scene with the Batman’s facial expression as he pulls back his fists to deliver “Pow!” and “Bam!” punches to a pair of goons. It looked ripped right from the television show.

Like earlier releases from Batman ‘66, I highly recommend reading the comics in a digital format. The presentation, especially eye-catching on an iPad, offers a bit of a motion-comic-type approach to each issue.

As a reader taps the lower right-hand corner of the screen, overlays reveal dialogue bubbles, new panels, onomatopoeia and characters changing positions to eventually complete the page. The overall execution and ability to really appreciate the art makes going back to reading an actual paper comic book an uninviting chore.

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