In 2005 writer Judd Winick brought back the deceased Jason Todd, the second Robin, from the grave to become a dangerous antihero in the Batman story arc Under the Hood. This drastically changed the Batman world in so many ways because now there was someone with the training of Batman who didn’t mind putting a bullet or two into bad guys. Since his return in Winick’s story, Jason Todd has been in multiple DC story arcs including: Countdown to Final Crisis, Battle for the Cowl, and most recently Batman and Robin. Now Winick has returned to write one of the last arcs of the Batman and Robin series, due to the September reboot, and yes it has the return of Jason Todd, better known as The Red Hood.
In the latest arc of Batman and Robin, we find Jason where we last left him, in Arkham Asylum due to him killing a few drug lords before getting targeted by a hit man and being saved by Batman and Robin. However Todd clearly states that he’s not crazy, just homicidal and requests for a transfer to a prison. After his transfer many of the inmates at the prison start dying and Jason is transferred yet again. However during this process someone wants to break him out but Batman and Robin have other ideas. In the end the people wanting to break Jason out give him an ultimatum which forces him to team up with Batman and Robin and bring about a shaky conclusion to the arc.
For the most part, the arc wasn’t bad, but it did leave a strange taste in my mouth. Meaning that it wasn’t what I was expecting from Judd Winick. The original way he wrote Jason Todd was brilliant and his actions caused all kinds of chaos in Gotham that came together for a fantastic finale. However, this arc just felt lacking in…well, everything. I was hoping that Winick would build off of the badassery of Jason that we had seen in Tony Daniel’s Battle for the Cowl and in Grant Morrison‘s Batman and Robin arc where he was a tweeting vigilante that had the backing of the people, but no, it went back to the lonely, betrayed Jason who acted like a giant tool. While the banter was funny and at times Jason was badass, the whole arc was too quick, confusing, and strange. I mean there were animal-human hybrid assassin things…and I don’t even know where to go from there. Perhaps it was that Winick was only given three issues to do something or he had to edit some things, I don’t know, but for this reviewer the story arc was a just a little disappointing.
As for the art for the arc went through several artists (Guillem March and Andrei Bresson on issue #23, Greg Tocchini on #24, Greg Tocchini and Andy Smith on #25) but this did not affect how the story feels. I say this because sometimes art can distract the reader from the story and the whole thing will feel confusing (example: Batman and Robin issues #10-16.) Issue #23 had very good art that was detailed, understandable, and not too showy. While at times it did look a little cartoony it still gave a clear feel for what was happening in the story. However when we get into issue #24 and #25 the art takes a turn into this strange mix of Gabriael Ba and Frazer Irving. It has a serious detail to it in the background but the characters are sometimes artistic blobs personified that make it seem a little ridiculous, and it’s already difficult to look at animal hit men in a non-ridiculous fashion. While the art wasn’t as bad as some comics I have read, its just not this reviewers style.
Overall this latest Batman and Robin arc was a little disappointing in terms of story and art. After going through the arcs done by Grant Morrison and the new villain arcs such as the White Knight, written by Peter J. Tomasi, I was hoping for a newer twist on for the Red Hood instead of the return of the old Jason Todd. Perhaps you’ll agree with me and perhaps you won’t. I guess we wont’ know unless you buy the last three issues of Batman and Robin to see for yourself.