Batman ’66: The Lost Episode

Today, marks another historic moment for Harlan Ellison, as – finally, his ‘lost’ episode released to sold-out comic shops. Luckily, I pre-ordered The Two-Way Crimes of Two-face, and it was sitting in my hold at The Dragon’s Keep when I got off from work. From what I’m hearing, a lot of stores sold out, leaving Batman fans frustrated. I was frustrated, but for other reasons…

First-off, I bought the Alex Ross cover. This 80-page one-shot was a pricey $9.99, but Ross brought his usual brilliance to the table. It was great seeing the Duke of Duplicity and our Dynamic Duo teamed-up for the first time (at-least, so-far-as the beloved TV series is concerned). I love what Ross has done to the place: So you, and – yet… So YOU! (Sorry. I couldn’t resist…) Anyway, I plan to purchase García-López’s variant cover, at a later time; because, hey – it’s a must-have, as well. Do I have a gripe about the cover? Yes. For ten bucks, we should have gotten a better-quality wrap. This cover is flimsy and easily-bent. Let’s just say, I’m glad I got the bag-n-board for this keepsake…

So, apparently, Harlan Ellison approached William Dozier, back-in-the-day, with a story which would have introduced Two-Face to the kiddies. The story was approved, but it never got made. Too bad, because this would’ve made for good Batman TV; plus – it may’ve rivaled The Joker, Riddler, and Catwoman in popularity. It’s a really-good story! Not-to-mention, it would have played-well with both kids and adults, as Two-Face hasn’t gone into murdering-mayhem, as-of this time. There’s been a lot of speculation as to who would’ve starred; I’ve seen people suggesting James Garner, Paul Lynde, Rich Little, Gregory Peck, Danny Thomas, Dick Van Dyke, Bill Bixby, Robert Culp, even – Raymond Burr. I like Clint Eastwood; as I’ve heard rumors that that is who was in mind. Could you imagine? I can… Well, in this issue, you get the lost episode; but – you’re treated to Harlan Ellison’s original treatment, including editing notes from the manuscript. I have a gripe, here, as well: DC couldn’t find one picture of Harlan Ellison anywhere, to include in this section? I mean, come on… Really?

The art on these pages is beautiful. Jose Luis García-López has done some of his best work on these pages and I’m extremely pleased by the final results. Indeed, DC is proud of these pages, also, as they give him unprecedented coverage, by presenting his entire sketch-book, following the main story. He had his hands full, too, as this story goes by land, by sea, by air, by pirate ship… There is some amazing work and phenomenal detail; the Batmobile, the Batcopter, the Batcycle, the Batcave, and some great underwater scenes, too. It’s all brought to life by Joe Prado on inks, Alex Sinclair on colors and lettered by Wes Abbott. With a sound script from Len Wein, The Two-Way Crimes of Two-Face is sure to please even the ficklest-foes. And, the timing couldn’t be better; what – with the release of the DVD/Blu-Ray sets, last week. Holy crowd-pleasers, Batman! Batman ’66 is back, and – this issue is tops! I couldn’t be happier! My question is: Will this be the end of Two-Face? Stay tuned…

Yes, I was initially disappointed by what I picked up, this afternoon – (mainly, by that subpar cover), but giving it a thorough reading (and, re-reading), I can say it’s well-worth the $9.99 price tag. It’s pure fun, and – it’s Harlan Ellison, man! Oh, and – let’s not forget Two-Face, eh… He is the special guest-star, after-all.

‘Til, next-time, see ya ‘out there…’

Lt. Eric Cone

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