The cover would lead one to believe that Batgirl is the star of this issue; the solicitations would point you toward Catwoman being the driving force behind it; but guess who should really be picking up this issue?…fans of the Red Hood!  That’s right! Jason Todd steals the show in this tale brought to us by Tim Seeley and Meghan Hetrick.  I don’t mean to imply that the ladies don’t have some great moments in this issue (they definitely do), but for me Jason is the one who really stood out.

If you are a regular reader here and frequent the comment section, then you may remember that we had a large discussion about the Robins in the review for Batman Eternal #25.  I’m don’t mean to imply that the writers frequent our comment sections, but it is an interesting coincidence that some of the problems I was having were addressed in this issue.  Perhaps this was always the direction they were headed and I was just being overly cynical and should have put more faith in the writers’ abilities to deliver a story with appropriate character work, but I am happy to say that some of the concerns I was having, about where certain characters may or may not be headed in the future and how they are portrayed, were swept under the rug by the events of this issue.

This issue may end up pulling on some people’s heart string as a character dies. The scene is meant to be highly impactful, but the character biting the big one isn’t a character that we have spent a lot of time with; we have not gotten to know them, to be invested in them, and therefore I found it difficult to be moved by their death.  There death isn’t what moved me in the scene, but the way the other characters reacted to the loss that got me.  I was sad because they were, not because I cared that the character was gone.  Actually, I’d say a dozen or so people got killed, but the rest were just a bunch of nobodies that your not supposed to care about anyway.

Meghan Hetrick handles art on this outing, and I have to say, I really like her style.  Enough so, that I actually put forth some effort to find out more info about her.  There isn’t much out there though.  From what I can gather, she is relatively new to the comic industry.  Looks like this and two other comics is all that she has worked on, along with a couple of covers and some prints/trading cards.  (If I missed something feel free to point it out.)  Sometimes, when we jump to a new artist, the visuals can be a little jarring, but I felt that her work melded well with Garron’s art from the last issue.  Both of their styles include very animated and expressive faces with a hint of a cartoon like quality about them.  When I say that they were cartoony, I don’t mean that in a negative way either.  Some artist tend to go hyper realistic with there stuff, but here, while still realistic in proportions, it has an animated style to it that I found appealing.  Here is a panel from the issue that not only shows her work off more easily than I could describe it, but also shows Batman being Batman.

Batman

My favorite panel from the comic is this one of Catwoman.  As we all know from last issue, Catwoman has been captured by Bone, and in this scene, she is about to be beaten to death and they are forcing Jade McKillen to watch.  The drawing really captures a sadness and a complete acceptance of defeat that I found quite moving.  The fact that Selina’s last thoughts are of another person and not herself also help to add to the gravitas of the scene.

Catwoman

Spoiler

  • Leap in logic #1:  How exactly did Red Hood find Batgirl?  Going to her apartment and finding that BeeGee has targeted Jason Bard doesn’t really provide RH with any info on where BeeGee might be with him.  If RH found her by following some Bat-Family homing signal then the apartment visit ended up being unnecessary, as he should have just started with that approach.  Regardless of which way you chose to look at it, it definitely leaves the viewer asking a few questions.  If you have any logical explanation for this feel free to share.
  •  Leap in logic #2:  Batman states that he is following Eduardo Flamingo in order to locate Hush.  Why exactly does Batman think that following him will accomplish this?  All Batman knows about Flamingo is that he was trying to kill Spoiler.  As the audience, we are aware that Flamingo was trying to collect the bounty that Cluemaster put on Spoiler, and that Cluemaster works for Hush.  Therefore, it does make sense that following Flamingo might eventually lead Batman to Hush, but Batman doesn’t know any of that at all!  Once again, if I missed something here just let me know.
  • The piece of this issue I found most interesting was when Bard thinks he is being dropped to his death and says, “Gotham.  I’m so sorry…”  He was too far away from BeeGee and RH for this to have been something he was just saying for their benefit, so it leads me to believe that there is something more behind Bard than him just being a straight up villain.  Maybe I am over thinking things, but it did seem a very deliberate/peculiar thing to include if it was meaningless.
  • I love how nonchalantly Red Hood was about to kill Bard.  He stands there with a smile as he is about to end someone’s life.
  • About Jade’s death.  It is unwarranted to assume that just because she is a child that I would have any kind of intrinsic protective feelings for her that would result in me being more moved by her death.  As I stated above, we never really got to know her.  I didn’t feel sad at here death alone, because I don’t care about her, but my sadness came from the empathy I have toward Croc, because I like him.
  • Thank God Jason dismissed Barbara’s insinuations!
  • I appreciate the fact that Jason said he will never be Dick Grayson.  One of the things that we discussed in the comments of #25 was how the writers are sometimes portraying Jason as a Grayson wannabe.  Essentially filling his shoes with all the stuff Dick used to do.  Being pals with Tim, Starfire, and Roy.  Liking Batgirl.  Being the funny guy that all the girls are into.  I’m hoping that this is a sign that they are going to make him be his own man again and come out from under the shadow of Dick Grayson.

Interesting Facts:

  • When The Cat (Catwoman) first appeared back in Batman #1 (1940), she didn’t appear in costume.  She just had on a sultry green gown with a slit down the front.  Later on, as the character became a recurring figure in the comics, she was given a super villain outfit.  It may surprise some of you who are unfamiliar with her appearances from the 1940’s, but this is what she used to look like.

CatwomanMask

  • I find it interesting that one of Catwoman’s original suit colors ended up being the same as that of Catman, who didn’t appear in the comics for another 20 years.
  • *****Batman-News team to start doing retro reviews.  Be on the lookout for your favorite reviewers to start tackling some golden oldies, stories that never got enough attention, our personal favorites, or stuff that is just plain interesting.********

Recommended if…

  • You are a fan of the Red Hood and all his quippy greatness.
  • You are a fan of Croc and want to see him go on a rampage!  Lots of action abounds!
  • You want to see the moment that defines Catwoman’s career change.
  • You’re a fan of Meghan Hetrick’s work, or you should be after this issue.

Overall:

Aside from a few leaps in logic, this story was very solid.  Action, romance, revenge, death, and “rebirth”, it really has it all, along with some highly enjoyable art from a recently new talent.

SCORE: 8.5/10