Monday, September 23, 2013

Ra's Al Ghul and the League of Assassins #1

I got this online and it's the 3D cover!  Woo!


I expected this to be good, much better than Tynion's work on Red Hood and the Outlaws has been. I was right it was and I think that's because he'd rather be writing about this. In one of his interviews Tynion said he was trying to propose a book when Lobdell stepped down from RHATO. He then went for it bringing up his LOA ideas. Which makes the title read like an attempt to write about those characters rather than bring any depth to Jason Todd, Koriand'r and at times overcompensating Roy Harper. He certainty understands Ra's history and character better than most of the trio.

This story is well told and feels rather rich. While it doesn't get into the league as much as I thought it would it did make Ra's a far more compelling figure than he's been in awhile. Yes, nothing new is covered here but it's an improvement on recent Al Ghul stories and Tynion's RHATO arc. It works since it focuses on the actual character, something Tynion hasn't really done with all the various plots he's juggling in RHATO. Ra's intentionally built himself up as a legend and that makes him see himself in Batman. It not only gives a look into his past but deals with him in the present giving his answer to the society's offer. Which is basically laughing at the whole thing after the usual Al Ghul duel and saying no.

The one spot that does hit a nerve is the mention of Talia, while Ra's doesn't get furious it's nice to see him acting somewhat emotional. Why? Because Morrison tended to write him like he was just using his family as a means to an end. That Talia was more or less a way to get a male heir that he could use for a new body. (Yeah I didn't like that change.) Jeremy Haun is a welcome sight as his art was featured in Red Hood Lost Days where he also drew the Al Ghuls. It would be AMAZING if he took over for Red Hood and the Outlaws. The title has suffered in the art department since Rocafort left and many Jason fans consider him one of the ultimate artists for the character. I do think his work looked better in RHLD but I'm not sure why. Maybe the inks? It's not bad I just prefer the art in RHLD more.

This issue shows what Tynion is capable of and really how far his run of RHATO falls short of that potential. I actually planned on getting Talon in trade before deciding against it as I got frustrated with his writing. I'm sure he does amazing work in the other title but I can't find it in myself to buy it when the title I'm currently reading needs improvement. I think he gets Ra's Al Ghul but I don't think he understands Jason Todd which makes me cringe at the thought of them meeting in the future. It wasn't shown what his connection to Jason was in this not even in the Batman Inc. panels. Does he blame Jason for Talia's death? How would he know about his trick? I did hear that Talia stuck a device in Jason's tooth but once again that over complicates things. Plus it's the second bat kid to have a villains device in their teeth. Ra's did tell Talia that she was missing one important detail. I thought that meant Jason (which doesn't make sense with the league telling him that she knew how important he was) as knowing that Kathy Kane would randomly show up is stretching it.

Of course the idea of legacy was also mention and how Ra's lost his to Batman. I'm not sure how this will play given the destiny plot threads Tynion is using. If the "mysterious woman" that Jason meets in Year Zero is Talia or anyone with connections to Ra's it doesn't work. That would mean they knew about Jason BEFORE he even met Batman. Sure it would be in line with certain plans involving the Untitled but in the revenge on Batman sense it just feels tacked on. Like a bonus, a happy chance. This was an excellent issue, the best I've read under Tynion's pen. But I'm still dreading upcoming issues. He built Ra's Al Ghul as a force to be feared while he writes Jason Todd as a bumbling naïve fool with or without his memories. As I expected this to be great I'm thinking the Year Zero issue will be the worst. We'll see.

Did You Notice?:

Talia shows Ra's her grandson in a panel were Damian's in a tube. It makes it look like he's about four. Which is the first time it's ever been implied (to my knowledge) on panel that he was aged in the tube.

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