Remember how last issue left off on a cliff hanger with Batman vowing to find the dumpster murderer? Well too bad this is a Millennium tie in.
OLDER SPOILERS AHEAD
Much like the main story this won't make much sense if you read it by it's self. Mainly because it would seem to come out of no where if you knew nothing of Millennium. This takes off right where it's revealed that Jim Gordon is Batmans' Manhunter as he tosses the dark knight out of the window. As he goes back up it occurs to him that Gordon must be a Manhunter. NOoo! He overhears more tie in material about a member of the Chosen being in Arkham. Starlin gets his first try at Jason Todd in this title and you can already see the difference in Jason's voice as he narrates. Before Starlin came onboard it was shown via the Two Face arc that his tough street kid attitude was basically an act when he was hurt which Bruce called him on. That tone is here even though Jason's alone. This is the first time he's been on a solo mission in this title since becoming Robin which feels odd as he hasn't been around long. Batman told him to watch Scarecrow but do nothing.
Jason thinks Crane is more pathetic than dangerous admitting he almost feels sorry for the bad guys given their backstories. He would feel for them more if they didn't cause the damage they do. Scarecrow randomly decides to speak his thoughts out loud to monologue his evil plans for the city. Deciding he's heard enough Jason puts on a gas mask and tosses a bucket at the formula Crane was making. Now this version of Scarecrow might not be the scariest so perhaps we're supposed to feel sorry for him. It doesn't matter that his end goal was to rob places he was going to inflict literal terror on people. Horrors that would mess with their minds, cause chaos and likely get people killed. It makes it hard to feel sorry for him.
Batman locates Manhunter Gordon and guesses his plans. That the powerful being that often fights Green Lanterns gave up on killing Batman and now wants to keep him away from the Chosen in Arkham. Which doesn't make the motto of no man escaping seem accurate but it wasn't in the main title either. Returning to the bat cave he's shocked to see Jason. He tried to call him and was beginning to worry. Jason is upset and admits the Scarecrow got overdosed with the fear toxin. Okay let's go over this with what works and what doesn't. A Robin messing up by accidentally underestimating something like the fear toxin? That works and to his credit Jason does feel guilty about it. I don't blame him for jumping the gun as he had a chance and others have acted in a similar fashion. My problem is Bruce who acts like he's furious with Jason then proudly grinning with Alfred when they agree it's quite a feat to take down Scarecrow.
I know he doesn't want to encourage rebelliousness it's just communicating is a problem with him. One that does affect his relationship with Jason who has doubts on whether Batman really wants him as Robin. So far this has only been hinted at when Alfred tells Bruce not to compare him to Dick all the time. These uncertainties will be shown more once the boys meet. Here Bruce claims that he doesn't want Jason to take any unnecessary risks...well he didn't. He secured his gas mask and ensured Scarecrow was taken out by his own gas. The only thing he hadn't counted on was the strength of the dose. There is a nice exchange with Alfred suggesting Bruce is just worried Jason won't need him anymore. It reminds me of a scene where Bruce wonders if Jason surpassed him in UTH. Still having Scarecrow there gives Batman an idea.
Batman dresses as him to get into Arkham as Jason wears a fat suit to pretend to be a doctor (which pretty much happens in RHATO #1.) Much to Bruce's amusement Jason used the scientific name for Robin as his fake ID showing once again that he has brains. I did find this one line fascinating given Starlins' infamous life's a game line:
Jason Todd: Life's not worth living if you don't take a few chances.
The game line shows how depressed he was which later writers tried to use as proof that he didn't take being Robin seriously. He did but he also had fun as this line is given to why he chose the name for the doctor. Although I'm not sure if Starlin saw it that way as Batman believes taking on the guards should be enough of a thrill. The inmates are used to help keep them out and Batman gives them all a dose of fear toxin. For some reason this doesn't affect the heroes despite the fact their not wearing gas masks. They make the mistake of hitting fake Gordon who is, you know, metal. Jason proves that he's still a good partner that takes out a guard (who tried to kill him) and gets fake Gordon shot by ducking out of the way. More guards come and Jason holds them off by taking a shotgun and scaring the crap out of them.
Between Jason's shooting and Batmans' explosives they stop the Manhunter leaving Batman with a choice. Try to get the Chosen member out or locate the real Jim Gordon. He chooses the latter. After finding where Gordon is he guesses how to shut the Manhunter head down then tells Alfred to toss it in the trash. Even though he admitted he didn't really understand any of the Millennium stuff and it could still be a threat he could have taken with him.
Overall: This wasn't as bad as I feared. Jason's still a good Robin he just made a mistake. This was kind of fun despite being a tie in. This is a improvement over last issue which had Bruce mostly acting like a idiot.
Questions Raised?: Batman had his new Robin 25 miles outside of Gotham, alone? For how long?
How can Batman have faster reflexes than Manhunters?
Did You Notice?: Judging by Jason's comment he's an Aliens fan.