Batman and Red Hood #20

Posted by k4tzm4n (34940 posts) - - Show Bio

The Good

Peter J. Tomasi once again does a brilliant job driving home the emotion. Batman screaming about how he wants to watch his son grow up felt like a punch right to the gut. After all he's been through in these past issues, seeing him lash out and be in such a vulnerable state really pulled at my heartstrings. Not nearly as much as the silent issue, of course, but it still delivered some pretty heavy feels with that dialogue. As a Jason Todd fan, I'm happy to say I think both characters were given proper credit.

It's important to note this issue does indeed take place before RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #19, so it's a critical read when it comes to Jason Todd's major decision. Does Tomasi properly justify such a drastic move? It's certainly a topic that's up for debate, but I think he succeeds for the most the part. After such a strong bonding experience in RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #18 and rather touching remarks from Bruce about family in this one, I can understand why Todd feels betrayed. After enduring such a rocky history, he finally feels like a part of the family again and to take on the bad guys by Bruce's side (without the rest of the members, of course) must have been a truly touching moment for Todd. But then to have that entire moment shattered by realizing it was all a ploy to see if he can get Damian back? Talk about feeling stabbed in the back and heartbroken. Is it selfish for Todd not to reflect on those memories to help the man who has given him everything? Absolutely. But given the circumstances and who he is, I can understand his negative reaction. The New 52 has quite literally tainted every bit of Jason Todd's history and after an incident like this, I can somewhat comprehend why Todd was willing to make such a rash decision.

I adore Patrick Gleason's work. It has without question become the signature feel of the title, so when we cut to another artist (Cliff Richards), it is absolutely a noticeable transition. Thankfully, his style isn't drastically different and it's only for two action sequences. The first has some hit or miss panels, but the clash between Bruce and Todd looks great and really drives home the raw emotion behind the moment.

The Bad

I'm really mixed on Carrie Kelley's role. I know she's being used as a device to further discuss Damian and a part of him we never saw, but at the same rate, I feel like it somewhat takes away from the book's pacing. When it comes to the aftermath of Damian's demise, I'm far more interested to see how it's impacting the immediate members of the Bat-family and how they're interacting with Bruce. I don't hate the character or anything, but I'd much rather see the time being dedicated to these "team-ups." It is what it is, though, and she's clearly here to stay. I just pray she won't become Robin any time soon. After such a devastating loss, there should be no rush to fill Robin's shoes. None whatsoever.

When Batman and Red Hood bust out of a vehicle and take on a group of mercenaries, it should be a panel that oozes badassery. Instead, I'm left gazing at a mark on Red Hood's mask that makes it look like he's frowning. Could this be a spot a colorist missed? Is it supposed to be an item in front of his face? I honestly can't tell and it really took away from what could have been a super cool segment. Additionally, the detail fluctuates a bit during their fight with the snipers. Close ups look good, but once we pan away a bit a fair amount of detail is sacrificed.

While I do appreciate Gleason's work, it made the final scene a bit confusing. Is that Jason with Two-Face, and if so, would this fight really make him want to die? I understand he's down in the dumps, but that seems a bit drastic. Or, is it Bruce and what just happened with Todd took too much of a toll on him? Is the weight of two Robins dying too much and he wanted to end it all? We know he almost accepted death before he became Batman (Year One), but that was ages ago and at this point, it would be too tough to stomach Wayne considering the option. Or, is this an entirely different person and they're bringing Two-Face in for a new plot? I honestly can't tell because I simply cannot recognize who's face it is. Or is it just the other side of Two-Face?

The Verdict

Tomasi and Gleason continue to prove why I love this title. Filled with emotion and a unique look, this series is handling the tragic events over in BATMAN, INCORPORATED exceptionally well. Despite me being mostly uninterested in Kelley, it's obvious she's going to be a factor in this book for at least the near future. I just hope this opportunity is used to illustrate more memories of Damian and a part of his life we never knew about instead of citing famous quotes and having her fill the void he's left. Regardless, I'm optimistic about Tomasi's plans for this title and this is yet another excellent chapter.

#1 Edited by Jakkoaks (117 posts) - - Show Bio

Thought this issue was really well done i agree its not as strong as the silent issue but ones like this really make me want this to become a Batman and "Alternating Robin " book especially if we could see issues with flashbacks of the other robins when they were younger ect.

#2 Edited by dondave (38901 posts) - - Show Bio

Very Good issue

#3 Edited by daredevil21134 (12705 posts) - - Show Bio

Serves Jason right for going back into Batman's club house.

#4 Posted by Saranth (73 posts) - - Show Bio

Gleason's art is incredible. In fact, it's so good that I am double-dipping on the series, and buying both the weekly books and the hardcover trades. As a consequence, it's always a little disappointing when another artist takes over, even if it is only for a couple of pages.

As a fan of Damian, I'm really appreciating this in-depth, extended look at the impact of his loss on Bruce. I hope we begin to delve into the status of the Lazarus pits in the New 52 and the morality of utilizing them. The last issue, with the Frankenstein conflict, was perhaps more visceral, but where that issue was demonstrative of Bruce's desperation, this one felt tinged with resignation. I don't think Bruce ever really thought Jason would offer a quick fix.

Also, this version of Carrie Kelly is not the Carrie Kelly I know. She also feels shoe-horned in, as though it was an editorial decision rather than Tomasi's. That's pure speculation, mind you.

#5 Edited by BatWatch (3087 posts) - - Show Bio

So, I feel I need to make this perfectly clear. I haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate Carrie Kelley. The way she acted in the last issue did not exactly impress me, and she was a total (censored, but you can use your imagination) in this issue. If you really think about how she acted towards Bruce, it is way, way, way out of line as far as I am concerned. She seems to be trying to come off as some holier than thou chick, but she's the one who seems entitled. Grrrr.

That being said, I loved the issue. Bruce and Jason's interactions were perfect, and like you, I was pretty well convinced of the justification for Jason's choice in RHATO #19. The scenario painted here shows everyone's flaws yet does not make anyone look like a true villain...except of course for the villains. Great stuff.

Oh, and I didn't notice any of the art stuff you talked about, but art is not my strong suit.

The BatWatch Review is up where I pick apart the Carrie scene along with the rest of the issue.

@jakkoaks said:

Thought this issue was really well done i agree its not as strong as the silent issue but ones like this really make me want this to become a Batman and "Alternating Robin " book especially if we could see issues with flashbacks of the other robins when they were younger ect.

Personally, I'd love to see this team make Batman and... a rotating team up book with all sorts of different heroes and villains guest starring. Tomasi definitely has the writing chops for it.

#6 Edited by cabram74 (1 posts) - - Show Bio

I really liked the issue b/c I LOVE Red Hood and this issue took me back to the Pre 52 Red Hood when he would kill 1st and ask questions, never. Eventhough he was the "TV Edit" of his former self "Hood" to me stole the show. I loved the exchange between him and Alfred at the beginning and he and Bruce at the end. The best part of the book is the end with the exchange between Alfred & Bruce. It was very much reminiscent of the emotion from Batman & Robin 18, aka "The Silent Issue."...... Tomasi, 9/10.

#7 Posted by Bionder (282 posts) - - Show Bio

Bruce Wayne is really losing it...

#8 Posted by captain_oblivious (102 posts) - - Show Bio

A little off topic- last week's sneak peak showed Kelly commenting about Hobson looking young forever. This wasn't a reference to Hob Gadling from Sandman was it? Seems a lot of Vertigo is being return to the DC universe (House of Mystery, Constantine, Swamp Thing) so was wondering if a Sandman character was also coming over. Not a big DC reader so I don't know if Hobson is already some character.

#9 Posted by noj (1091 posts) - - Show Bio

@batwatch: To be fair I think Carrie is supposed to be a bit annoying and holier than thou. Shes a drama student in college after all. Plus she has absolutley no idea what actually happened to Damian. Given Bruce's playboy public image its actually real easy to assume that he had his son sent away to boarding school to avoid having to deal with him. It happens often enough in real life.

#10 Posted by detective38 (183 posts) - - Show Bio

@BatWatch I totally agree about Carrie Kelly this is an awful use of a somewhat interesting elseworlds character. Using her makes about as much sense as making red rain batman an earth one character. Overall though the issue was pretty good and bruces zappy gloves were awesome

#11 Posted by batarang614 (132 posts) - - Show Bio

pretty sure its two faces two faces and not another person

#12 Posted by k4tzm4n (34940 posts) - - Show Bio

pretty sure its two faces two faces and not another person

I was thinking about that last night but never got around to updating the review. Thanks for the reminder!

#13 Edited by akbogert (3227 posts) - - Show Bio

What on earth was DC thinking releasing the latest RHatO BEFORE this issue? This is so crucial to understanding that issue, it's not even funny. Wow.

#14 Edited by Baberaham_Lincoln (944 posts) - - Show Bio

Tynion is on a roll

#15 Posted by Teerack (7456 posts) - - Show Bio

I hated this issue. It just completely obliterated all of the progress Jason and Bruce have made. :(

#16 Edited by KnightRise (4762 posts) - - Show Bio

I liked how they explained how Batman covers up his dead Batseeds.

#17 Edited by megadeth1111 (1 posts) - - Show Bio

What series is this from.....?

#18 Posted by mickeymayhew (229 posts) - - Show Bio

@noj said:

@batwatch: To be fair I think Carrie is supposed to be a bit annoying and holier than thou. Shes a drama student in college after all. Plus she has absolutley no idea what actually happened to Damian. Given Bruce's playboy public image its actually real easy to assume that he had his son sent away to boarding school to avoid having to deal with him. It happens often enough in real life.

if there's going to be a new Robin I hope it's Carrie and not dull as dishwater Harper Row

#19 Edited by batarang614 (132 posts) - - Show Bio

@k4tzm4n: thanks for the correction and the reply. Enjoyed the review

#20 Posted by k4tzm4n (34940 posts) - - Show Bio
#21 Posted by akbogert (3227 posts) - - Show Bio

What series is this from.....?

In case you had not gathered, this is just the continuation of Batman & Robin. Since Damian's death, various other characters have been swapped in (one of the new issues will be Batman & Batgirl, for example).

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