Saturday, October 11, 2014

Batman #413

What type of student is Jason Todd and what does it say about his character? What is going on in a Japanese exhibit? For these answers read on.


A Japanese man with a criminal record runs into Batman and after seeing he's outmatched tells him about a crime. Batman gives him back his knife and tells him to behave himself. Bruce used to be such a trusting soul. The museum the criminal mentioned happens to be having an exhibit on Japanese pieces from a clan, one of which had an avenging son that was known as a hero of the people. The reporter tries to seduce Bruce but he's more interested seeing how his adopted son is adjusting.

It's nice to see Bruce actually giving a damn and Jason so eager to learn. I hate how later writers (Winick included with his Batman and Robin arc) tried to make it sound like he didn't care about school. Like he's just some street punk that only had anger issues and hated everyone. That's not who he is and forgets that Jason valued all his lessons. He loved learning which makes sense because he wants to better himself. Dropping out of school to take care of his mom then trying to survive made him think he'd never get the chance. While he scoffed at the first mention of school when he met Bruce it's mostly to do with his trust issues but he's fine with the idea when he believes the school is a good one.

Anyway Jason explains that he's there for school work and is enjoying the trip. He's taking notes and smiling people, so yes he genuinely like it. Remember this is the kid that wanted to do homework on Two Face so he'd be able to help more. He's smart and works to be better. (This is actually shown much later in RHATO #6 as Jason gets overly excited to see all the cool alien stuff smiling the whole time and makes notes. ) Since he wants to improve his grade Jason's there for extra credit. Sadly Bruce seemed to zone out to think about his case. Jason takes missing a night of being Robin in stride as he wants to keep all his grade up since it's hard to be a student and Robin. It's nice to see he takes it as seriously as being the boy wonder. (*1) He's working on a report on all he saw at all of the exhibits which Alfred already looked over and approves of.

At the museum one of the guards thinks he sees a ghost as the armor comes alive. He wakes in the hospital but nothing is missing from the exhibit. Later on Batman and Robin go to investigate finding a gang outside. The armor attacks them and for some reason despite the gang thinking it's a ghost they attack it. Jason is stopped from pursuing to help the would be victim of the gang get his heart medicine. After taking care of everything outside Jason finds the weapon and realizes something is off about one of the exhibits' clothes. Batman goes to the owner of the collection to challenge him to a duel to learn his skill. He wins of course and figures out the man is the supposed ghost. His partner tries to shoot Batman before Jason stops him dressed as the hero of legend. Jason's knowledge of the displays made him realize that the theft wasn't the collection the "ghost" came from but the other exhibits.

Overall: There aren't any silly moments like the past issues. I think the Jason side of the stories has remained the strongest part of these issues but this was the first time that felt like the entire story was perfectly balanced. It was also the first time Bruce was using his head the entire time. Which is good as I was starting to wonder if Jason was carrying him. Jason remains a smart, resourceful and an excellent partner. He's a good Robin. I really believe that if you think otherwise you either haven't read these issues or have bought into that retconned crap everyone spews. Both Batman and Robin helped to bring this case to a close making the partnership feel pretty solid.

Did You Notice?: Batman has a #1 superhero mug. Dick or Jason had to have given him that.

*1 Nightwing Year one ticked me off by having Jason say all the schooling he needed was in the bat cave. Of course there was a lot of other problems with NYO.

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