Batman and Robin #20
WARNING THERE BE SPOILERS!!!
So instead of studying for my finals like a good little boy, I decided to review the issue that caught my eye a couple months back; Batman and Red Hood. Last issue, Tim Drake stopped by just to be overshadowed by the appearance of Carrie Kelly. A bit disappointing to many readers, it doesn't change the fact that Batman is going through the 5 stages of grief, and who better to help him than the Robin of Rage himself, Jason Todd. Will this issue rise above and deliver, or fall flat, read for yourself and see, but on to the review!!!
So last issue had a lot going for it: Tim Drake featured in a main Bat-title, Frankenstein making a cool appearance, and even Carrie Kelly had some people cheering. This time around, Bruce calls Jason for some assistance and the %^&# hits the fan. The crux of this issue has Jason being called upon by Bruce to help take care of the bounty hunters Talia sent after Damian. Although it seems strange at first, Bruce's true intentions are revealed when the two step foot at the site where Jason was killed. I loved everything about this scene. Tomasi captured Jason's reaction perfectly, and the conversation they had reaffirms my speculation that even after shedding much of his anger, Jason still has a grudge against Bruce. And a very justified grudge may I add. Jason makes several good points (Bruce being hung up on tragedies, putting Jason through a lot just so Bruce can feel better, as well as and here's the kicker, that Jason's life has been tainted by Bruce along with the Joker.) What Tomasi does great is keeping up with continuity, and trying to place his piece in a situation where it can referenced in other titles, I'm guessing he had talked with Tynion, because this issue presents itself perfectly for RHTO.
This week, Gleason was accompanied by Cliff Richards, which isn't too bad as they have a very similar style. Though I don't agree with Kelly being in the book, the opening pages are great and simple at the same time. We also have to inkers, and though it is really hard to distinguish the two, they had some very interesting input on this issue. A particular scene in the dead of night with the only light being stars, gives a remarkable shading to our heroes.
BEST STORY MOMENT: Jason confronting Bruce on his crap was great, and then after almost knocking Bruce out, he takes the car.
BEST ART MOMENT: The cover alone could have one me over, but that scene with Jason and Bruce reaching the spot in Ethiopia where Jason died was a spectacular job on everyone in the art department.
There is a reason why I don't pick up this book. Tomasi makes Bruce look like the biggest a$$hole. I understand he is grieving, but he is acting incredibly selfish and unreasonable (though I am glad that Tomasi realizes this and puts someone in to call him out). The opening scene with Kelly was pointless. Also, with Damian dead, why would Alfred ask Carrie to babysit Titus, while she still thinks that he is alive. It seems like she is going to discover Bruce's secret with her hanging around. Now I am definitely going to get some flak from this, but I didn't care for Miller's Dark Knight Returns or Dark Knight Strikes Back (which a lot of people didn't like either). I didn't mind Kelly, rather it was Miller's writing that peeved me. Tomasi reminds me of Miller, especially with Bruce's dialogue, which I can't stand. The similarities hit a reaching point when we saw Kelly last issue. Now, this character was never even in continuity, and while we have tons of characters that fans have been demanding to have returned, he brings back someone like Carrie. Which begs the ultimate question that everyone has asked; Is Carrie Kelly going to be the next Robin? The same could be asked for Harper Row. And we have had answers from both Tomasi and Snyder that they are not. So why bring in these two female characters, are they going to serve a larger role in months to come, and why bring them in at the same time? The Two-face ending was really out of place, but due to the cover of next month's issue, it does make sense. It really just deflates what is going on, especially since there was no dialogue besides the word "no". Oh and I just realized this. Jason picks up the helmet that Damian took when he went all ape s$%^ during the War of the Robins arc. Bruce tells him to leave everything the way it was, but hey Bruce, that belongs to Jason, Damian freaking stole it. Which means that you knew that Damian was acting out and did nothing about it. I hate how Tomasi makes Damian Bruce's favorite. He said it last issue, Damian is the only one who trusts me unconditionally. But Bruce, you gave everyone a reason not to trust you!!! What about Alfred, what about Dick, do those people matter to you? I know Damian was your son, but the kid didn't trust you, almost betrayed you, continued to kill people, and suddenly he was the perfect Robin? No, that is either a huge character flaw,( which I seriously hope but doubt that Tomasi is going for since Bruce has acted this way since issue 1) or his death has really impacted Bruce beyond simple comprehension.
With my huge rant aside, I know Damian progressed a lot as a character, and I loved that. What I don't like is how Tomasi writes Batman to make Damian the only person in the world he cares about. It's something I hate about this run, and why I don't read this series anymore. I do like how Tomasi is incorporating the stages of grief, and it makes sense the way he is writing, but this is nothing new. Tomasi has made Bruce act this way since his run started, and it is something that I don't like.
I was actually looking forward to Gleason's art, as he really did a good job last issue. But instead we have two artists, which is one of my biggest pet peeves. From what I could tell, Gleason did a pretty good job. The first time we see the hood that Damian took in the War of the Robins arc has really bugged out eyes that looks incredibly weird. It is the new guy who I really didn't like. This really could be done better if editorial put in who did what pages, that way the right guy gets credited for good work. At times the colors were all over the place, but it wasn't unbearable.
WORST STORY MOMENT: Still hate that Carrie Kelly is in this title. The choppy dialogue really stood out in a bad way.
WORST ART MOMENT: Who the hell gave Red Hood a freaking Robot chicken mouth?
Despite my huge rant, this was an enjoyable issue. There were a lot of things I didn't care for, but I still loved how Tomasi put these two guys together and reveal that there is still some tension. To see that tension come to ahead in this issue was great. I still concerned of Carrie Kelly's involvement within the Bat-verse but it is too late to stop anything now. I actually was only going to buy the past two issues, so I might skim through Babs's issue next week, and might pick up Nightwing's issue. I don't know if I would recommend this to any Damian or Batman and Robin fans, due to the lack of a Robin, but this wouldn't be bad for a hoodie to pick up. Til next time!!!