This chapter opens with Robin as the keynote speaker for the tri-weekly meeting of Gotham’s Chamber of Currency. Robin attempts to persuade the committee to donate funds to the Literacy Charity in Gotham City. After nearly giving away a connection between Bruce Wayne and Robin by speaking on a first name basis, Bruce presents Robin with a giant check for $4,999.99. A photographer comes up to snap a picture but a cloud of gas emanates from the camera and reveals the Bookworm.
Springing into action Robin snatches the Bookworm’s hat away from him. Bookworm sends in his thugs to take on the boy wonder. With a little encouragement and advice from a sidelined Bruce Wayne, Robin manages to take out the henchmen. Quickly snatching back his hat, Bookworm and his gang steal the Chamber of Currency’s giant chequebook and with another dash of gas the crooks make their escape. With a quick call to the banks, a hold is put on all giant check deposits.
Meanwhile at the Bookworm’s hideout, the thugs are watching TV as they see the news about the hold on giant checks. Bookworm becomes enraged that his henchmen were watching TV rather than reading books and smashes the set. The henchmen reveal what Batman has done, but Bookworm is not worried…he is only further delighted that the dynamic duo will be looking for them. Bookworm then reveals his magnum opus: a giant book based on Batman. He tells his gang that the book contains every scrap of information on the Dark Knight and through this he will be able to understand him better. The dynamic duo hears all of this of course, thanks to Robin swapping the Bookworm’s hat with one planted with a radio. They listen in on the entire conversation regarding Bookworm’s bat-book, and they learn of a plot taking place the next day. However they are quickly found out when Bookworm discovers the hidden radio in his hat.
Cut off from their source of information, Robin states that they found out a lot of details before they were discovered. However Batman is more worried that if Bookworm uncovers all information on Batman…he may find a connection to Bruce Wayne as well!
This book was really funny, made me laugh out loud on several occasions and was generally well done. After a bit of a boring storyline involving the Sandman, this chapter was truly a breath of fresh air for this book. After last week’s debut of Batgirl and this week’s Bookworm I feel this series is back on track. The storyline itself was completely absurd and harkens back completely to the old TV series. Some of the simple gags of Bookworm (a hilarious “villain” in his own right) stealing a giant checkbook were truly funny, and the fact that they mentioned several times throughout on how the banks were putting a hold on all giant cheque deposits. Completely absurd.
I also really enjoyed not having Batman in this book, I have felt that since the start of this particular series Robin has only been there simply for the reason that he was on the show, but Batman has been the true star in almost every story thus far. Seeing Robin being able to swing into action (albeit with a bit of help) was nice to see.
I also applaud the use of Bookworm in the story. I remember him being on the show, not quite a memorable performance such as Joker or Riddler but he stood out in my mind as being one of those crazy ‘60s villains like King Tut or Egghead.
Overall a funny issue with same interesting cliff-hangers on what may be in store…will Bookworm uncover Batman’s secret identity? Tune in next week, same bat-time, same bat-channel!
Batman '66 Chapter #16:
Reviewed by Ryan Blair