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Title: Batman: Under the Red Hood
Series: Batman/Robin #5
Author: Judd Winick
Artist: Doug Mahnke
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Format: Paper Edition
A vigilante, wearing a Red Hood, begins taking out various crime syndicates in Gotham. Unfortunately, he’s just as willing to kill as the badguys. This brings him to Batman’s attention but he’s able to outwit Batman. It is revealed, quite early on I might add, that the Red Hood is Jason Todd and he’s back for revenge against the Joker and to show Batman that his scruples against killing just won’t work anymore. That story ends with Batman, Red Hood and the Joker all facing off against each other and the Joker stabbing a huge block of c4 and blowing the building to kingdom come.
The book ends with a 2part storyline about how Todd came back to life. Apparantly some of the shenanigans pulled by DC with Superman allowed “time changes” and such baloney and so Todd was miraculously alive. He was then put in a Lazarus Pit by Talia Al’Ghul and sent on his way to revenge himself.
This book had some really deep moments, like where Todd’s philosophy of death is pitted against Batman’s and then some just plain stupid points, like the end story about how Todd came back to life.
This book explores why Batman is one of the good guys. It isn’t just that he doesn’t kill but the whole reasoning behind it. Batman still believes in the Justice System. He believes in the duly constituted authority of the police and the like. He apprehends the criminals because somebody needs to and provides evidence against them but he realizes that he is NOT judge, jury and executioner. He is not above the Law even while working outside the framework of the law. Ultimately, he serves the purposes of Law.
Todd, on the other hand, is just as much a piece of trash as he was back in “Death in the Family”. He’s an arrogant, pompous and now, truly dangerous psychopath. He doesn’t believe in the underpinnings of Law and Order and hence, has absolutely no regard for even trying to play by the rules. At times I found myself almost agreeing with his assessment of how Batman’s way doesn’t seem to work. His accusations against the Joker, about the thousands he has killed, the thousands that could have been saved if Batman had only killed the Joker, rang true in my ears. Until I stopped and thought. I do believe that the Joker should have been killed but not by Batman. He should have been executed by the Government for his crimes. And that is what is so seductive about these comics. They provide half truths as full truths. They purport to show that ANY killing is somehow bad. So only badguys do the killing and goodguys don’t kill, including the Government. Even though death is sometimes the only punishment that fits the crime.
However, that gets into the whole role of government and ethics and where you get your ideas from. That is a MUCH deeper and more complicated issue than can be adequately done justice to in a comic book. Plus, it doesn’t help that a lot of comic people are leftist commie pinkos who are as deluded as Hitler ever was so to ever expect something right and decent from them is like expecting me to start reading those bodice ripper books and think they’re great literature. It just isn’t going to happen.
The thing that really knocked this down for me was the whole explanation for how Todd came back. It had something to do with the Flashpoint storyline or the New52 or something. I got a 2page spread showing a Superman who looked like he was 18, breaking something or other and somehow that all mystically made it happen. I HATE SuperKid. The New52 Superkid needed his bottom paddled and told to grow up. He’s called phracking Super MAN for a reason so make him look like a man. And make him somebody kids want to emulate and look up to, not a teen displacement fantasy. There are enough superheroes who already do that * frowny face *
Also, there was zero mention of Tim Drake. Near the beginning there is a brief mention of some girl who also died who was close to being a fourth Robin, but nary hide nor hair of Tim Drake. I had to go to Wikipedia to see a history of Tim and found out he was branching out into the Red Robin character at this point. But Nightwing got facetime in this book and even had his city blown up, so why Drake wasn’t included is beyond me. Bunch of Jealous Haters is my guess.
Overall, I am pretty pleased with this Robinverse read. From the death of Jason Todd to his return, I think these 4 Robin related graphic novels are all worth owning. While they are a bit topsy turvy due to DC doing reboots every decade or less, you learn a lot about the Robin personna and get various takes on it. That being said, I will not be hunting down any of the Red Robin graphic novels or continuing any of the storylines left open in this book. I’ve got a Superman graphic novel still on tap but I think I’m going to wait a month or two before diving into it.
My rating of this book went all over the place from 2 stars to 4 star and even while writing this review I found myself going back and forth. So I settled on a 3star, as it means I was ok with the read but wasn’t wow’d.
- All Robinverse Posts
- A Death in the Family
- A Lonely Place of Dying
- Robin: A Hero Reborn
- Robin: Tragedy & Triumph