BATMAN UNDER THE RED HOOD
Writer: Judd Winick
Pencillers: Doug Mahnke w/ Paul Lee, Shane Davis & Eric Battle
Inkers: Tom Nguyen, Cam Smith, Rodney Ramos, Wayne Faucher, Lary Stucker & Mark Morales
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Letterers: Pat Brosseau, Rob Leigh, Phil Balsman, Ken Lopez, Nick, J. Napolitano, Jared K. Fletcher & Tracvis Lanham
Hey everyone!! I'm back again with another Robin related review in honor of the 80th Anniversary. This time I'm talking about Jason Todd, the second Robin who, when he was first introduced, wasnt really liked by the fans. In fact he was even killed off in the comics, due to a vote taken by fans. He was beaten nearly to death before dying in an explosion. His death would go on to haunt Batman for years and was regarded as one of his biggest failures. Bringing Jason back to the land of the living seemed like an impossible task, but Judd Winick did it to perfection.
In this story Jason, has come back from the dead and taken on the mantle of Red Hood. He's no longer fighting with Batman but against him, handing out his own brand of justice. We got the first glimpse of Jason's returning the popular "Hush" storyline, but "Under the Red Hood" was where he truly reentered Bruce's life. He comes to Gotham to take down organized crime and immediately goes after Black Mask and his organization. Unlike Batman though, Jason has no problem killing those he deems evil. Red Hood is a man that has all the fighting skills of Batman without the moral code.
The opening arc in this book sees Batman and Nightwing team up, which is always a joy to see. Their chemistry is unmatched and is why they work so well together. Each of them in awe of how amazing they are in their own ways. While coming across a wherehouse full of unique weaponry, they end up facing off against Amazo, which was such a blast to see. It's here that they get their first glimpse of Red Hood.
Some of the best scenes took place between Batman and those he sought out for advice about death. Obviously he was aware that red Hood might be Jason and had to learn how it might be possible. He went to Zatanna, Green Arrow and of course, Superman. Never getting the answer he was looking for, the mystery deepened. Credit to Winick for keeping the mystery alive until the very end of this volume.
Throughout this volume we see the change that Jason has undertaken since coming back to life. He wastes no time going after the man he deems responsible for his death, Joker. Exacting revenge on the Clown Prince of Crime, seemed so fitting that you almost can't help but cheer him on. But it's the arc where he fights with Black Mask that is the highlight of this book. He systematically takes out this criminal organization piece by piece. His entire war on crime made for a very compelling read as you never really learn what his true motivations are.
As we near the end, we see the final confrontation between Batman and Red Hood, with a ties up Joker there for good measure. Jason has obviously been resentful towards Bruce for allowing Joker to live after what he did to him. But as Bruce tells him, there isn't a day that he doesnt think about killing Joker, but he knows that if he crosses that line, there's no going back. This was a brilliant execution on Winick's part and cemented this story as one of the best Batman stories of this generation.
Throughout this volume we are treated to some amazing art from Shane Davis, Eric Battle, Paul Lee, and most importantly Doug Mahnke. Mahnke does the majority of the art in this book and draws a Dark Knoght like no one else. I love his depiction of Batman and how bulky he makes him, not to mention his terrifying Balck Mask and creepy Joker. He breathes life not only into the characters but the city of Gotham itself.
While this story focuses on Jason past his time as Robin, I feel this was one of the beat depictions of the character. It was no easy feat taking an otherwise despised character that was killed off and turning him into a fan favorite. So many layers were added to Jason that you can't help but be enamored with him. If you haven't read this book yet, or are a fan of Red Hood, this is the perfect time to check ot out.
Plus stay tuned for the next Robin review. Click the hashtag below to follow along with continued Robin coverage.