If Judd Winick is writing a Jason Todd story it’s an automatic purchase for me. Although he can’t be credited with the creation of Jason Todd (Gerry Conway and Don Newton in 1983) he gets most the credit for the character’s reassurance, or “rebirth,” into the DCU. And for good reason, Winick seems to have the magic touch with Jason Todd, the two make one heck of a team up.
That being said, this issue did not do it for me.
Batman and Robin #23
It wasn’t due to a lack of good Jason Todd writing though; in fact, the cocky attitude and witty banter/dialogue was just as enjoyable as I would expect. His scene with Batman particularly made for a fun read; the “How’s Damian’s Mom?” line being a perfect example. Winick again sports his ability to handle Todd about as perfectly as anyone could. And I enjoy Jason popping up once in awhile; a Batman and Robin titled book should reach out to past and present Batmen and Robins. My excitement to read this issue and anxiousness to watch Red Hood return, after Morrison’s excellent story earlier in the series, was sadly extinguished though.
The Thundercats break Jason out of prison. There. If you haven’t picked up the issue no need to, that’s all you’ll need to know going into issue #24.
At the risk of coming off cynical…one can do a lot with 20 pages, and not a lot happened here. I’m not suggesting that I need page after page of action and mind blowing reveals but outside of Jason escaping prison why does this this issue matter at all? Is Martin “The Beaver” from the steamy shower scene going to show up again? And I already knew that Jason was a cocky badass. The whole thing just felt disjointed. Bruce says at the beginning, “He’s planning something.” Yet at the end when he’s broken out of prison he was shocked, he didn’t know it was going to happen or even the people doing it (so…I guess he wasn’t planning anything). Jason stabs a guy in the eye with a knife and gets to eat lunch in the mess hall the next day and roam around the prison cutting and stabbing people? So, no stabbing rules in Gotham prisons? Then Batman yells at the warden for not noticing anything unusual (and Batman really lets this guy have it). The same warden who houses a prison with Martin “The Beaver” (who’s literally a human beaver); sounds like “unusual” is a part of the gig. Like I said, disjointed.
And even though I’m a fan of Guillem March’s art, this felt like a departure from his work in Batman #708. I did enjoy his new-looking Jason Todd; who has fully embraced the original red hair, even going as far as growing some beard. And March’s dedication to detail carries over, it just didn’t generate the same excitement as it did before. Also, and maybe it was just me, but what was going on with some of the poses? The spread eagle from younger Jason Todd in the opening is excusable I guess but I don’t know what Dick Grayson was doing when talking to Bruce (dancing with an imaginary bear?) and the black prisoner who walks in on a “suicide” strikes a pose I’ve never seen before. Andrei Bressan also takes over the art for pages 11-20 and despite his talent…the switch is distracting to say the least.
As for the ending; I’m not even vaguely interested in T-Rex-head or combat-Mufasa. I’m all for originality and this book hasn’t been without it’s wacky characters – go re-read issue #1 – but I’d almost prefer the chick with the hole in her head over these guys.
I don’t mean to be the back-seat driving comic book fan that the internet is full of; I was excited for this issue, anxious to read Winick back writing Jason Todd and eager to watch Red Hood battle it out with Batman and Robin, all of which we could very well get in the next issue, but I’m going to bag and board this and I honestly can’t imagine a moment where I would pull it out again.
Finally: was it just me or was there an Arresdeted Development quote (ala Tobias Funke) in there from Jason Todd when he said “…how are you?” Maybe it’s just me.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Guillem March’s art at moments and a fun Bruce Wayne scene||Outside of Jason breaking out of prison, which happens in the final page, this issue did nothing but further emphasized that Jason is hardcore. Which we knew. Several times over.|