The Joker’s long-awaited return has kicked into high gear. In a recent issue of BATMAN, the Joker claimed to know the civilian identities of all who Batman holds dear and promised to kill them all. In this “Death of the Family” tie-in issue, Jason Todd finds himself in one of Joker’s diabolical death traps. While Snyder’s BATMAN is a smash-hit, is this title worth your time? It’s time for another MAJOR SPOILERS review…
Previously in RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS: Jason Todd has been in the center of the spotlight as of late. In the recent Zero issue, the Joker boasts that he is responsible for manipulating all of the events in Todd’s life, from childhood to present. Meanwhile, Roy Harper and Starfire were last seen canoodling on an island…
A MUDDY PAST FOR JASON TODD
This much can be said for RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #15…there’s never a dull moment. From the start of the book, Todd is thrust into action. Escaping from a shootout, he is captured quickly by the Joker, which is where the real story lies in this issue. Todd is psychologically tortured for most of the issue, as the Joker taunts him with knowledge that he shouldn’t have. There were some questions spinning out of the Zero issue as to whether Joker really knew that much about Todd, or whether he was just being his crazy self. Well, this trip down memory lane seems to indicate the former. Some brief interludes are thrown in here and there to check in on Starfire and Roy as well as the GCPD, advancing the series’ ongoing plot threads.
Structurally, this book is sound. The Joker is menacing and Todd makes for interesting character. However, this is my first real exposure to the title since DC rebooted, and I feel like I’ve missed a lot. Jason talks a lot about his return from the dead, while the Joker plays up the familial ties between him and Todd. This is the type of book which will reward those who are following all of the Bat-titles (or at least this book and BATMAN) as there is a lot of history referenced. If you’re picking it up solely for the “Death of the Family” tie-in, I imagine you will feel lost from time to time, as I did.
Green’s pencils in this book work nicely, especially considering that there isn’t a lot of room for the artist to flex his muscles creatively…most of the book takes place in dark concrete rooms underground. The characters look polished and detailed, especially the Joker, who looks appropriately menacing and evil with his new “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” look. Whether you think this change to the Joker was a good move for not, it is depicted well in this book.
BOTTOM LINE: FOR THE RED HOOD FANS ONLY
There’s nothing that strikes me as wrong with this book, but there’s nothing that makes me feel it’s a “must-read” either. Joker’s connection to Todd is not resolved in this issue, and Starfire and Roy aren’t necessary to this issue’s plot. If you’ve been a fan of Red Hood since the New 52 began, then this book will doubtlessly be more entertaining to you than the casual fan. Without that background knowledge of the characters, it is difficult to become emotionally invested in this issue.
DID YOU READ THIS ISSUE? RATE IT!