A New Robin
Ahhhh Jason Todd. How we barely knew thee.
Jason Todd is arguably the second most famous Robin, a character fraught with controversy. It’s difficult to truly analyse the character’s origins without his eventual death (spoilers) and resurrection (more spoilers) lingering over your mind.
I never really liked the kid.
Yeah..you caught me…it was me ringing that number 20,000 times a day to get him killed.
YEAH I DID IT AND I’M GLAD I DID!!!
With that being said though let’s dive into the book and view the first meeting of the Dark Knight and that little dickhead, Jason Todd.
I’m ‘tyred’ of Robin….what….terrible I know
Whilst I know that this wasn’t the character’s original inception, he was pretty much just a carbon copy of Dick Grayson, even down to being an acrobat (did someone say Gritty Reboot?). This telling of the duo’s first meeting is a mixed one. From the off I can feel a certain tone to the book that I don’t believe has held up over time. The dialogue is quite clunky and upon the discovery of Todd attempting to steal the Batmobile’s tyres (playing back to that ‘witty pun in the title), Batman seems a bit off. He bursts out laughing and basically seems like he is on drugs for most of the panels.
I don’t know what it is, Batman laughing just gets to me. I want to see him wallowing in self pity the entire book, on the verge of a nervous breakdown because everytime he closes his eyes he watches his parents die. I don’t want him to completely drop the act like an Ali G sketch where we see the character crack a smile when he realises how far the joke is going. I want depression. People LOVE depression. It’s a fact!
The world would be a better place if everyone was depressed.
That’s what I want from Batman.
I wish I had Dick
Whilst we have the gift of hindsight the book still hints at Todd’s downfall. He is brash and arrogant. Often only participating in hurting criminals for the sake of hurting them, as opposed to stopping the crime. He’s a bit of a sadist (he’s basically that paragraph I just wrote about depression brought to life) and it’s tough to like him or feel like he is a good fit for the role of Robin. Jason is prototype Damien, without the charm (or the tutting). It’s unfortunate that the first encounter with such a famous character is well, annoying.
Whilst at this point I would normally discuss the book’s positives, it’s kinda hard to. Batman’s nemesis, his arch enemy, the villain, the dastardly swine of this book is….a gangster grandmother. Draped in stereotypical Grandmother clothes she makes an imposing figure. This is definitely one of the Dark Knight’s most difficult encounters thus far. She truly is a dark reflection of what the character could become…
Of course, I am being sarcastic and this element is a huge part of the book’s downfall. I just don’t care that Jason has been left in the care of a gangster grandparent. Batman should not be facing off against this level of villainy, especially when the rogue’s gallery at this point in the canon is stacked with an A list of memorable characters.
It’s not all bad, there is a brilliant moment when Dick Grayson, recently fired from the role of Batman’s wars, confronts the caped crusader and this touching exchange between father and son shows what the book could have been. The art is also very fit for the time and you do get a nostalgic feel when reading it.
If this book was the way you remember it: Batman catches Jason stealing the tyres, he enrols him to train so that the boy is saved from a darker fate, then it could have been stellar. However, there are just too many hokey moments that really age the story and add a campiness to the run that we didn’t really need. It hasn’t aged well. You are better off just remembering the way YOU think of Jason Todd rather than reliving it. It was a chore to get through. This is my lowest score yet.
Leave a comment whether you agree with my ranking or not.