Continuing where we left off with Batman unknowing handing Jason off to a supposedly sweet teacher who's really a dastardly deadly damsel. How will Jason get out of this situation? Will Batman manage to be a bigger idiot than last issue? For those answers stayed tuned at the same bat page at the same bat time.
OLD SPOILERS AHEAD
Jason takes out three older (and bigger) boys Gunn sics on him only to be outnumbered by the next wave. He tells her that he doesn't work for Batman and is only there to avoid the cops. Gunn likes his spunk so she decides another henchman in training works for her. Naturally Jason isn't fond of the crazy old bats' lesson plan and leaves. Since he left a memorable impression Bruce has been doing some detective work to find out some information on Jason's parents. He learns that Catherine Todd died from a drug overdose in Febuary while Willis double crossed (ahem) Twoface leading to his death.
The level of gullibility Batman has is incredible as he's completely clueless for most of this and buys into Ma Gunns' act. He just takes her word and all the second hand praise he hears. Never questioning why people are worried about her secretive nature. I found this more amusing than anything else, like a parody of costumed crime fighting. Ma Gunn is camp but so much fun. Not only does she teach her students to be criminals, she corrects their English, and has a gun session to discuss preferences. Plus she's anti-pot and promotes booze as a better alternitive. No seriously.
Somehow Batman is able to figure out that Jason took some guys' tires. Perhaps realizing Jason is the only one in Crime Alley with the intelligence to avoid alerting everyone when he steals. Batman finds him at his run down apartment mad that Jason backed out of their deal. Jason reveals the truth about Gunn which Batman doesn't believe. Saying that he only steals what he needs to Jason points out that not all adults are honest. He disappears as soon as Batman turns around to speak with the cars' owner. Batman shows up to see if the jewel theft Jason told him about was true. It happens to be connected to last issue as Gunn is doing this for the Joker. (More awkward unintentional forshading.) Jason shows up to beat up the last guy admitting he came because he didn't think Batman believed him. Batman offers him a ride and Jason tells him it's pointless to send him to social workers. He thinks the odds aren't good for him being adopted. Batman thinks otherwise calling him Robin to Jason's confusion then joy.
Overall: While this is admittedly goofy with Ma Gunn and Bruce's own stupidity I liked this. A lot. If the whole section with Dick getting fired wasn't in this two parter this would be great. As it is Dicks' exit really marred this origin and gave people ammo for hating Jason for something that really wasn't his fault. For replacing Dick Grayson as Robin, having Batman go back on his no Robin rule one issue later and for Jason Todd daring to be someone else. While some of it is set up as Jason impressed Batman and he realized he was used to working with a partner it still feels at odds with the speech in 408. As a result he comes across as a idiot that fired a experienced partner that was at least a legal adult for a new kid. Those two bits don't mesh, not in the same arc.
This is my favorite version of Jason's origin for a reason. You can take away the Gunn stuff, the Grayson firing and just focus on the basics. The tire theft, Jason expressing his moral code (I ain't no crook), and proving it by showing up. Taking Batmans' tires shows spunk which was the first thing that impressed him. Jason wasn't afraid of him--his lack of fear is something that some writers forget. It was a mixed blessing as Batman would later worry Jason was never scared enough to worry about his own safety. By seeing his future partner prove he has strong moral beliefs and can fight the decision to make him Robin makes sense. Out of all of the Robins' Jason Todd always felt right in the role because he was the sort of person Batman should want as a partner. Not only because he was smart, spunky, brave, resourceful, etc. Because as Batman and Bruce Wayne he should want to better the life of a kid from Crime Alley. Someone that saw crime on a daily basis and understood the mission in a way other Robins didn't.
Questions Raised?: Why didn't Bruce check in on Jason when he visited the school? He just shows up for a couple of seconds and thinks everything is fine? I'm not sure if the dark haired boy in the middle of the class is supposed to be him or not.
So Bruce only patrolled Crime Alley on the night of his parents death? Why hasn't anyone--everyone--figured out his ID? Also that completely misses the point on how to fight crime and make a difference if you avoid the area except for one night out of the year.
Did You Notice?: How Batman causally sits at Jim's sofa like he's at a party. Arms thrown over the back and legs crossed. That panel is golden for the pose alone. Every meeting with Gordon should be so causal.
Jason pulled a disappearing act on Batman. Ha!