I woke up one morning and had a dream... Could I own every single issue of Detective Comics, Batman and all of the other subtitles in the Gotham universe?
Insane? Stupid? Inspired?
This can only end in obsession and financial chaos.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Holy First Appearances!!!

Batman #635- The first appearance of one of my favourite villains in Batman, that has appeared in the last few years, The Red Hood.

Of course the term 'Red Hood' has a history in Batman. For example the most famous use of the identity, according to Alan Moore's 'Killing Joke', was that under the scarlet helmet was the man who became the Joker. I'm sure that there will be other 'Red Hood' identities throughout the Batman titles, it's just I haven't seem them yet. It's just that this Red Hood looked permanent.

It was the unveiling of this 'Red Hood' which was brilliantly done. After a lot of teasing, and tweening, the man under the mask turned out to be a re-incarnated Jason Todd! I was truly surprised when I read this bombshell in the collected Trade Paperback two years ago. Seems that you can be blown up and return from the Dead. Only in comics...

There are many reasons why I liked the presentation of the new Red Hood. And the main one was that this was a fully developed, well thought through characterisation of Jason Todd. Here is a character that has a highly skilled method behind his madness, as all good villains must have. Crucially, though, it is the foundations of Jason Todd's rebellious, careless (Jim Starlin's work on Todd in the 1980's was particularly strong) Robin that are fully built upon. There is a logical purpose, that Jason Todd, as The Red Hood, now lives by.

Here is a villain that Batman cannot like. The Red Hood is a crazed homicidal maniac in The Punisher mould (and The Red Hood is not even presented as a full-on villain, until later story arcs). However, because of the personal history between the characters there is a sense of responsibility that shines through their subsequent meetings, which adds a complexity to the straight-forward-Batman-gets-the-badguy story.

Welcome back Jason Todd, the Batman universe is a better place for you being back in it.