Thursday, October 2, 2014

Batman #411

Part 2 of Jason Todd's first case as Robin Post-Crisis.


You have to love how causal the teller is to have Two Face at their window. Harvey is back to robbing with a set of twins and brags that he had everything planned out. What if the coin said he didn't rob the bank then? One of the twins asks why their doing it in the daylight as Two Face replies that bats don't come out during the day. Bruce overhears Gordon and arrives at his office as Batman to figure out what Two Face is up to. He returns home to discuss the matter with Jason who according to Alfred has been in his room all day. Bruce assumes he's overworked his new crime fighting partner when Jason's in fact furious over last issues' discovery. Even so he asks his sidekick to come with him to get Two Face

Alfred and Bruce notice Jason's not acting like himself and is in fact moody. That's right, Jason Todd wasn't always some broody kid later writes make him out to be. Behaving like that is a sign something is wrong. While their out Alfred goes to a ball game with Gordon. ...Kind of random but okay. It seems Bruce bought the tickets for Jason and him but had to cancel because of their costumed identities. Not wanting to waste the tickets Alfred went with Gordon instead. Two Face arrives to promptly get knocked to the ground. For some reason Batman thinks Robin should watch Two Face. While he might not know Jason is aware of Harvey killing his dad this is a bit silly. This is Robins' second time out & he thinks it's cool to have him look after one of his major rogues that he never bothered to tied up? Just so he can personally beat up his thugs?

Jason flips out but Two Face knocks him over. From there things get...campy. More puns based on the number two and baseball. More bad jokes before they discover he escaped. Back at the bat cave Jason puts on the tough street kid act which Bruce calls him on. Then we get something that present day Bruce does all the time. Critizing someone else while bemoaning the fact he trusted them despite withholding information from them. He blames everything on Jason, bemoans the fact he spend so much time training him and now his trust is broken. No, I have zero sympathy for Batman here.

A teary eyed Jason explodes at him for talking about trust after Bruce hid the truth about his father from him. For once Bruce realized that he screwed up--because he should understand that anger--admitting that he was trying to protect Jason. One of the most poignant replies between the two happens when the boy wonder points out that Batman takes him out to combat yet thinks to spare him of the truth. It's one of the hallmarks of their issues actually as this has been underlined in recent years. Bruce doesn't think his kids are prepared for the truth and hides things from them. Given the fact Jason has been abandoned it's especially hard for him. Yet Bruce never learns his lesson. Here he says he believes wanting revenge is worse than fighting villains. It doesn't occur to him that perhaps this whole thing could have been avoided by talking/counseling.

Instantly Jason worries that he'll be fired as Robin. Since Bruce basically told him that his time was wasted because he messed up before it's really no wonder. His fear of not being wanted is something he never really outgrows partly because he always seems to have those fears confirmed. Happily this isn't one of those times as Bruce reminds him that he couldn't stop Two Face either. They surprise Two Face by showing up at his next robbery which was done thanks to Jason's deducing abilities.

Batman unintentionally puts Two Face in danger by asking that the giant roulette wheel he ran to (just roll with it) be turned on. It is leading to the ball rushing over to kill him since no one apparently wanted hollow props. Jason kicks it out of the way proving he can look past his pain to follow Batmans' rules.

Overall: Jason continues to be thoughtful when he's discussing the case with Batman and what their looking for. I think he's a very good Robin even if he lost it with Two Face as the ending shows. Honestly any of the bats would have lost it. This part of the story is the best as it fleshes out Jason and creates conflict. The way Two Face is written however lessens the impact as his scenes come off like something from the 1966 tv show. Is this really the guy you want to build up Willis' killer? Making cheesy puns while sliding into second base? Having a huge roulette wheel that's apparently a death machine? The tone just isn't consistent. Batman was bit jerky and dumb as he almost gets Harvey killed. Still this is worth a read for the Jason parts.

Did You Know?: Willis Todd never gets any real development outside a few panel mentions which leaves quite a few questions during DITF that will never be answered. Despite that some fans have become furious over how unredeemable the character is post-Flashpoint. Many believing that Jason's anger here means that Willis had some better qualities. This wasn't a problem for me as we never got enough of him to say one thing or another. Also it should be noted that Jason was protective of his mom in DITF despite not knowing her and being sold out to the Joker. Just because he's loyal, loving or furious over someone doesn't mean they treated him well.

Questions Raised?: Why would anyone have roulette wheel that big?

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