I think I’ve said it before, but Red Hood is one of my favorite Bat-Mythos characters. Despite his somewhat uneven editing history, there is a raw energy in him and his story that really works for me. He’s that rough kid whose difficult childhood made him angry and unstable at times, but whose heart is no less kind and well-meaning. He’s sucked into this crazy life that allows him to truly be the hero, but it kills him. Literally. So when he comes back it’s like all bets are off, all the rules are suspended, he’s just going to do what he thinks is necessary because doing it the other way around hasn’t worked very well, is not it ?
You can quibble and debate whether the end of his early violence was the result of his exposure to the Lazarus Pit, but even if he did, it’s not like he regrets it, right? It’s not like he’s looking back and thinking, wow, I really shouldn’t have killed these drug dealers.
This makes him a unique presence in the bat family, which is otherwise made up of traditional heroes – the fact that some of them use fear and the threat of crossing the line as a weapon doesn’t change the point. that they are not going to do it. Batman will never let this guy he hangs over the city touch the ground. Jason will – at least sometimes – and that makes him creepy in a whole different way than Bruce.
But, all that being said, Jason Todd is still Batman’s son. And that brings me down the winding road of this problem where, in order to save his mentor and father, Jason must go back to basics and use his sleuthing skills to uncover connections and secrets that wish to remain hidden. It means thinking outside the box, trying angles he rarely tries in recent years,
This is also where I see his arc focus. Because at the start of this 6 games, Jason was angry and violent – impulsive. He murders a man in a justified fit of anger that only causes further problems for him and the little boy he has promised to protect. Then he tries to work with Bruce, but Bruce’s methodical, detail-oriented approach burns him – as always. He is unable to keep the covenant no matter how much he wants this reconciliation, this approval. And it’s the inability to control himself and approach a problem with a clear head that puts Jason in danger, and ultimately Batman pays for Jason’s missteps… so now, to fix it, he has to remember the skills. that Batman taught him. . That is, the skills that made him Robin.
Along with that journey we have the month’s flashbacks, masterfully illustrated by Marcus To, where a thematically similar situation that occurred at the start of Jason’s time as Robin pushes him to move beyond his insecurities to find the moment to clarity that leads to the truth.
This whole arc, Jason’s whole story, has been fantastic. While the art has varied (in the sense that there are several artists more than the quality of the art), it nevertheless visually hooked up quite well with the alternative artists such as Diogenes Neves from this issue fitting in. easily into the atmosphere established by primary arc artist Eddy Barrows and extraordinary color artist Adriano Lucas. I’ve talked about them a lot before – Barrows’ mastery of subtle facial expressions, To’s ability to blend classic superhero styles with a modern twist. Even the panel gutters tell of how the world has changed with To’s flashback sequences using, on average, much more traditional broken layouts mostly when Jason is able to exceed his own expectations, breaking free from those boundaries … so that modern footage is much more chaotic.
I have a vague concern about the end of this chapter… because it seems that this question (which I am not going to spoil) has been raised and discussed several times in the recent past. Still, for a writer as talented as Chip Zdarsky, I’m more than willing to take the tour and see where he wants to take it.
I don’t know what happens after this arc – whether we’ll see Jason reinstated in the Batfamily or not. The story itself seems designed to bring him into the fold, although given the cyclical nature of the comics, it’s hard to say if that could actually happen or stay even if it did. But if it stays, even for a little while, at least we can say it’s well deserved this time around.