Tuesday, May 31, 2005

BATMAN #640

Ya know, it's getting to the point where I don't really care if it's really Jason Todd or not. (And, unlike what Brubaker is doing over in Captain America, we have no real reason to doubt here.) This was a lot of fun.

The Red Hood-and-Onyx interaction felt a lot like some of the better Nightwing-and-partner teamups, Red Hood's being so reckless and confident that it comes across as planned action and his enjoying himself so thoroughly is completely out of the Dick Grayson playbook. (Actually, considering where Dick has been for the last year or so, it is far superior.) Onyx's reaction played well, too -- she's completely at sea with regards to her position with Batman and not really a part of his cult of personality, so she might as well tag along.

Judd Winick does not have the strongest reputation when it comes to concocting villains -- or, in the case of Green Arrow, rescuing villains from a richly deserved obscurity. But Red Hood, thus far, is cheerfully, giddily morally ambiguous and is setting up to present a complicated network of problems for Batman. Is in fact already presenting problems both tactical and epistemological.

Is Red Hood a criminal looking to make his job easier by eliminating the competition? Or is he a Punisher-like vigilante who sees no DO NOT CROSS line on the way to wreaking justice?

Either answer is only part of the solution. If Red Hood is indeed Jason, how did he get undead? Why is he back now? And what will Bruce do if his personal martyr is not only not dead, but is also operating by a code of ethics Batman cannot accept?

Jason Todd was a selfish, annoying, arrogant, and troubled young man whose redemption and value came only after his death. Bruce doesn't remember him as the kid who tried to steal hubcaps off the Batmobile or who possibly killed a criminal -- he is the Good Soldier and the glass case with his costume is a reliquary as much as a reminder. The dissonance between who Jason really was (and who he looks to be now) and who Batman remembers him as is not a little one; it is a chasm that cannot be bridged easily.

If Winick pulls this off, I may forgive him a bit for Outsiders. (He's gonna have to trudge around in the snow at Canossa a lot longer for what he's done in GA.)

3 Comments:

Blogger Guy LeCharles Gonzalez said...

Because of Winnick's smarmy ends-justify-the-means excuse for this lazy resurrection in an interview a while back, even if he somehow pulls this off, he still won't in my mind. I'd have preferred they had Tim Drake go the no-holds-barred vigilante route instead. That would have been a "bold" move and one that, in a rare instance, would have fit perfectly into the whole Crisis editorial plan. Would have been a nice boost to his own suprisingly lame, post-War Games book, too.

Tue May 31, 09:05:00 PM EDT  
Blogger The Comics Shrew said...

I'd have preferred they had Tim Drake go the no-holds-barred vigilante route instead.

... Go read the Robin solicits and then repeat that. *wry*

I've given Winick endless grief (deservedly so) for his self-righteous work, I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt for this because the pre-Jason issues were strong.

Tue May 31, 09:20:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

Soooo strong.

Is this really the same writer?!?!

Compare this to his work on the SAME TITLE pre-War Games!!

It is no comparison.

It is sooo much better now.

Wed Jun 01, 01:24:00 AM EDT  

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