Graphic Novel Reviews: Batman and Red Hood 020

The Story

Carrie Kelley confronts Bruce about Damian’s disappearance. He tells her that Damian is studying overseas. Later, Batman takes Red Hood to Africa to attack a compound of international assassins, some of whose members answered Talia’s hit on Damian’s head. When he takes Red Hood to the where the Joker beat Jason to death, Red Hood flips and the two fight. Jason leaves, his trust in Bruce shattered again. Elsewhere, Two Face, gun in hand, flips a coin, but seems discontent with the result it gives him. 
The Review
I really enjoyed seeing Bruce and Jason make up in Red Hood and the Outlaws. Out of the whole disaster of Death of the Family this was the one relationship that was salvaged. Too bad it didn’t last very long. I hope that it doesn’t take several years again to patch it all back up, but this certainly does explain why Jason decided to have his memories erased in last month’s issue of his own book.

I’m not exactly sure I buy Bruce’s reasoning either. I can’t recall if he really ever discovered how Jason came back to life, but I’m pretty sure he was aware that Jason was revived inside one of the Lazarus Pits. So why is Batman trying to figure out how Jason came back to life? The answer is obvious, find a Lazarus Pit.

Unless of course Bruce’s knowledge of the existence of Lazarus Pits was one of the things that was lost in the reboot. Which is impossible, considering he knew Talia enough to know her biblically and conceive a son with her. So why then is he acting like he doesn’t know what the easiest answer to bringing back Damian is? I thought that last month’s issue was suggesting that the Lazarus Pits aren’t an option anymore, but this month is suggesting that Bruce doesn’t even know they exist.

Then again, it is possible he’s actually trying to get Jason to remember where the Lazarus Pit was. But that isn’t specifically said, so if that was the intention then I can’t exactly be expected to infer that without being given the proper information. I suppose it is possible that Jason’s return to life wasn’t brought about by a Lazarus Pit. I’m pretty sure it was pre-New 52, but it is possible that post-New 52 Jason’s return is meant to be a mystery. I could have sworn Red Hood and the Outlaws said otherwise though.

Overall I really enjoyed this issue, Carrie Kelley’s involvement in the story made sense, and the fact that she apparently will continue to be involved in the story suggests that she wasn’t intended to be a one issue homage like I initially assumed. Now I can’t get the image of Carrie Kelley and Harper Row competing to become the next Robin out of my head.

Everything up until the very end of the issue was enjoyable. Seeing Batman and Red Hood working together was a lot of fun, and even the fight between the two was well written. But in the end the book leaves a bitter taste in my mouth as it undoes one of my favorite moments from recent comic history. I suppose it adds to the state of Batman being all alone, but I like Batman best when his relationship with his family is good. He needs the levity that most of them provide as balance against his more grim nature.

Honestly that’s the biggest problem I have with the current Batman universe. All the characters are just too grim. Nightwing still retains some of his prior good nature, but he is spending far too much time moping. Though, to be fair, he has been hit pretty heavy in the past few months. But I can’t help but think that he’s taken a beating before in his history, and he generally manages to bounce back. Batgirl has very much the same problem. I always considered her and Dick as the original lighthearted foils for Batman. But everything she’s been put through is even grimmer than what Jason Todd has had to put up with.

Still, Batman and Red Hood is a much better book than a good chunk of the Bat Books I’ve been reading. I recommend it to any Batman fans, just keep in mind that if you enjoyed the reconciliation between Batman and Red Hood be prepared to be a bit disappointed. And if you’re like me, and want the proper Bat Family experience, I highly recommend L’il Gotham. It may not be as dark as your average Batman fan likes their stories, but it’s also the only portrayal of the Bat Family that actually has them all getting along. And I mean ALL of them. 

The Grade
3/5

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