“Scarecrow Comes to Town” | “Hunt the Croc Down”
Art: Lukas Ketner | Dean Haspiel
Colors: Kelly Fitzpatrick | Alan Passalaqua
Letters: Wes Abbott
Cover: Michael & Laura Allred
Assistant Editor: David Pina
Group Editor: Jim Chadwick
Batman ’66 #28 continues the trend of introducing new characters to its universe. This time, author Jeff Parker adds Scarecrow and Killer Croc to his run on Batman ’66.
The issue is divided into two self-contained stories. First up is, “Scarecrow Comes to Town,” which features the origin tale of Jonathan Crane’s turn toward evil. This time, the Scarecrow origin takes the Caped Crusaders to a small Appalachian town, aptly named, Jitters Holler. We learn Crane was bullied by his adoptive brother Zeke. After heading off to college, Crane returns to exact revenge on the town.
Lukas Ketner’s art is impressive on this part of the issue. The lines seem less heavy than previous artists, allowing for more detail to shine through. The colors are bold and beautiful, with typical techni-color flare. The lettering is particularly well done, as the speech balloons convey Scarecrow’s menacing growl very well. In fact, had it not been a Batman ’66 comic, Scarecrow could have been quite, well…scary!
The second half of the issue features the introduction of Killer Croc in the Batman ’66 ethos. “Hunt the Croc Down,” follows the Caped Crusaders as they track down Waylon Jones, whom the heroes first encountered in Batman ’66, Chapter 23. Jones escaped as King Tut was apprehended; Batman and Robin have only now been able to rejoin the pursuit. Jones is now Killer Croc, completely transformed by the mysterious potion of the Nile. However powerful Croc is, he’s easily outwitted and apprehended by the Dynamic Duo.
Dean Haspiel’s art in the second part of the issue returns to the dramatic and dark lines seen in previous issues. However, it fits because Killer Croc is one who lurks in the shadows. The action is crisp, well drawn, and well paced. As mentioned, the shadowy nature of the villain makes colors more critical. This issue makes good use of color and draws the eye toward the action.
My favorite line from the issue comes from two panels in the Croc story. While tracking Croc’s movements in the sewers of Gotham, Batman tells Robin they must rely on the element of surprise to catch the crook. In true Batman ’66 form, Batman cups his hand to his mouth and yells, “Croc! We know you’re here…!” I could hear Adam West’s voice as I read the words and visualized the scene. Classic, campy Batman.
Much like the final season of the classic television series, this issue seems overly simplistic. No cliffhangers, few creative devices, and the villains fall far too quickly without placing our heroes in peril. The writing wains a bit due to its brevity. As Batman ’66 moves toward its final curtain, the series feel like it’s grasping – introducing new villains at the expense of telling great stories.
Still, I truly enjoy the sheer fun and lightheartedness of this series.