So this is the second trade from Winick and crew dealing with Jason Todd’s return. So you get an issue giving a flashback showing you who Jason Todd was. Batman understands now that it is Jason Todd he’s dealing with. He’s investigating his coffin and he determines that no one has ever been in it.
Red Hood is still haunting Black Mask. He even shoots a rocket at his office. Deathsroke says that he and his society can get rid of Red Hood for him.
So, when Red Hood next tries to screw with Black Mask’s men, Hyena, Captain Nazi, and Count Vertigo show up to kill him (Wow! The society sent their A-list!). Batman shows up and we get Red Hood and Batman teaming up to fight the bad ass villains, ok maybe not. They beat the baddies but Red Hood kills Captain Nazi getting Batman to scream “NOOO!”. I didn’t know that Batman and Captain Nazi were such good pals.
Black Mask kills his own men to get on the good side of Red Hood. What?! Oh it was just a trick. Black Mask and Red Hood get in a fight. Black Mask stabs Red Hood with his own dagger. Batman arrives just in time to see Red Hood die. Wow! They brought a character back from the dead after 17 years just to have Black Mask kill him?!
Oh good, it’s not Jason Todd under the mask. The real Jason is over at Joker’s pad. We see Jason Todd dealing with a very oddly written Joker. Batman deals with Black Mask in a very peaceful manner. Isn’t this the guy that tortured and ended up killing Stephanie Brown? I thought Batman would be a bit madder at him but oh well. The issue ends with Batman and Jason Todd watching as Chemo drops on Bludhaven. Oh no is Nightwing dead? “One son returns from the grave as another enters it”.
So they fight back to where Jason is keeping the Joker. Hey has anyone else noticed that Joker has been a whipping boy lately? He gets severely beaten in this a few times. He gets shot in the face in Grant Morrison’s run. Then he gets beaten and I think shot again later in Morrison’s run. What’s up with that? Anyway, so Jason Todd gives Batman the whole why didn’t you kill him thing. Batman of course brings up that it would be too easy. He even goes into this whole thing about how he thinks constantly about torturing Joker and slowly killing him and stuff. That is a bit too sadistic for a hero that the kids love isn’t it? The arc ends with little resolution. The place blows up with Batman, Joker, and Jason Todd in it and all we see is Batman yelling Jason. Hmm, that is kind of weak.
Also included with this issue is the annual that talks more about Jason. We get a few more flashbacks about Jason’s life. We then learn that the whole reason why Jason is back is because of Superboy-Prime. When he broke out of that place he was in it changed history. You then see Jason waking up in his coffin. Didn’t Batman say earlier that no one had been in the coffin? So Jason breaks out of the coffin that he was never in and wanders around for a while. He then gets picked up by Talia and later gets tossed in the Lazarus pit to jog his memory. So Jason figures out that Joker still hasn’t been killed and gets pissed. We then learn that it was really him in Hush but he switched with Clayface mid fight. So then the issue ends with the narrative saying make no mistake it is Jason Todd.
So first, I’m going to talk about characters returning from the dead. I’m not a big fan of it. It detracts from the story that they got killed in, there are already plenty of DC characters why do we need Jason Todd back, and also if characters keep coming back from the dead what’s the point of killing them? I personally liked A Death in the Family. I thought it was too bad fans voted Jason dead but at least we got a good story out of it and it also gave Batman something to haunt him. What was the point of bringing him back?
Now, if this story was written well, it may have answered my question. I’m not a big fan of Bucky coming back from the dead, but at least his return was written extremely well. Brubaker wrote that story so well that it started to actually make sense how he was back and why he was back. I read a quote from Judd Winick somewhere and he said that he didn’t care how the character came back, just what affect it would have on Batman. That’s fine for you Judd, but what about the rest of us? Personally I felt the reason for Jason coming back was extremely weak, who cares about the whole Superboy-Prime thing anyway?
The concept of why doesn’t Batman kill the Joker is an interesting one, but it could have been done much better and has been. Even if you forget about all the resurrection stuff, which is hard to do, I still don’t think this was a very good story. I’m not a big Judd Winick fan anyway and this again just seems like a lot of lazy writing. It seems like one day he just thought, hey I’ll bring Jason Todd back! And the next day he just through something together and handed it to DC. I wish Jason would have stayed dead and if he had to come back I wish he would have been brought back in a much better way.
1 and a half star