Writer: Jeff Parker
- Penciller: Jesse Hamm
- Inker: Jesse Hamm
- Colorist: Kelly Fitzpatrick
- Cover Artists: Laura Allred and Mike Allred
Batman ’66 #26 introduces another character outside classic TV canon to the Batman ’66 universe – Poison Ivy!
The issues starts with a shocking discovery – Louie the Lilac has been murdered! For fans of Batman ’66, this is quite a departure from the normal fare and served to draw readers’ close attention. Unfortunately, that’s about as good as it gets and the remainder of the issue goes downhill from there.
The best parts of the issue were the initial shock of a villain ‘murdered’ by another villain, and the portrayal of a young Bruce Wayne and Pamela Isley’s childhood moments together. I expected more from this early connection, thinking it would impact the story more, but it did not.
Batman ’66 fans get the vibrant colors and nods to 1960s pop culture we’re used to, but this issue missed the mark. The art was off in this issue, especially panels with appearances by Robin for some reason. Some panels were beautiful; others, fell short.
Poison Ivy is such a rich character, but her Batman ’66 debut here feels wasted. The introduction and backstory for Pamela Isley is laid out with little surprise. However, Poison Ivy’s character feels forced. Ivy is given a thick Southern accent matched with really bad dialogue (read: “Sugar Britches” and “HOO-WEE!”). That’s a terrible combination — and a missed opportunity.
Why not tap into the “flower power,” hippie culture of the late-1960s for her character? Too obvious? What about her ability to control men with a kiss? How about a tip-of-the-cap allusion to her first appearance in Batman #181, in which she causes Batman and Robin to fight over her? These would fit perfectly in the Batman ’66 camp and may have delivered a more solid story.
What we get instead is forced dialogue that tries way too hard, and Ivy’s ability to grow Jolly-Green-Giant-like plant men.
The beauty of Batman ’66 is its subtlety. Subtlety?! Yes. Of course, it’s campy and over-the-top, but much of what makes Batman ’66 enjoyable relies on having smart, witty, and often alliterative dialogue that moves reader’s effortlessly through the panels, but causes them to re-read to appreciate just how clever what they just read actually was. This issue simply doesn’t deliver.
Of course, Louie the Lilac isn’t dead – just intoxicated by Ivy’s sleep-inducing plant potion… sort of like Batman ’66 #26 is.
Overall, Batman ’66 #26 was surprisingly disappointing.