Thursday, December 24, 2015

Red Hood/Arsenal #7

I made it to the editors' note before I stopped to read Robin War #1. We already have continuity problems with this event and criminally bad characterization. This is just a tie in although it's the last connection to Robin War I have before I get the WAR and RSOB issues in a week or so. Depending on the delay since they haven't shipped yet.


Last issue had Jason and Roy coming across Jokers' Daughter who attacked the duo then aided them. Feeling sympathy for JD after recalling how lost he used to feel Jason offered her a job and said they'd quit killing to set a good example. JD agreed as long as Jason promised to kill her when she fails. Roy wasn't pleased with the idea of recruiting someone so unstable. Before they can debate it further Jason gets a text that he's needed. Since she is something of an information broker JD figures out it has to do with the Robins from We Are Robin.

In Robin War #1 we see Jason randomly hanging in a bar because that's all other writers seems to do with him in his down time for whatever uncreative reason. No mention of the text. Tim seems to contact Jason later, Dick wasn't aware until they tell him and Damian doesn't like anyone besides Dick. The only other person it could be seems to be Alfred who I don't think would do so with his recent characterization. In fact we have yet to see Alfred despite him starting the WAR movement. I kind of doubt this will be explained anywhere. Also it looks like Jason changed uniforms for the hell of it between issues. This is supposed to take place during Robin War #1 and I thought reading this would spoil what he was up to. Nope. If I had to guess maybe this is between his motorcycle ride and meeting with Tim before they see Damian? Granted Jasons' more in character here since he's more invested in this.

Jason does not want Roy to get involved, he's more blunt about it than he had intended. I do wonder what would happen if Roy did show up and how pissed he'd be at Dick. JD comments that she doesn't care if the WAR Robins die or not. It dawns on Roy that Jason is worried about JD being there which is a valid concern. The connection cuts off and Roy takes the responsibility to watch JD because Jason cares. Jason and Tim met and unlike that crappy characterzations in Detective Comics they actually get along. Much like I assumed Tim is the only one of the family Jason doesn't have a problem seeing. I don't think he hates Damian though I can see him getting annoyed with the kid. Everyone except Tim stresses him out.

Having them recap the only important parts of the event and sum up how asinine the plot is has been a highlight that makes me glad I'm reading this after the first three parts of RW. The talk of them being outsiders makes sense although I'd argue Tim is more of an insider than Jason. Meanwhile Roy and JD accept a job to do something in town. Roy figures that he'll find out if JD can keep her word. Things get rough and Roy ends up having to taser JD before she kills anyone. She says she wants to be different and Roy struggles with feeling bad for her. Then some sewer lava monsters take them before Jason can get back--meaning this takes place over the course of RW? I do wonder about the new readers that enjoyed this book then reading Robin War and wonder WTF is up with Jason and Tim.

Overall: I enjoyed this more than last issue although the villains Roy and JD fought along with the lava men were the weakest parts. It just came out of no where, we never saw it resolved then they get kidnapped? I would have been fine with them just stopping some rich guy from getting his place looted then mysteriously vanish before Jason shows up.

Jokers' Daughter is a character that's basically been written into a corner. No one knew what to do with her pre-Flashpoint when she was basically a hero. They decided to go the other direction to make her a flat out villain. If she's redeemed they have to be careful that she doesn't end up being too similar to Harley Quinn. That's without getting into her obsession with Joker and how it will affect Jason which hasn't really been touched upon. Lobdell does make her more sympathetic than other writers have since the reboot of the character but at this stage I still can't tell if it's sincere. That's not a slight I actually prefer the uncertainty as it makes the situation more suspenseful.

I like seeing Roy being more responsible after witnessing his previous reckless abandon behavior. It reminds me of the old Roy that acted as a mentor in old canon only this one feels in over his head. Yes he feels sorry for JD but he doesn't trust her at all. The reason he's willing to try is because Jason cares. The panel with him frustrated while JD is hugging him really sells me on how much he hates this predicament.

Jason and Tim do some exposition here but unlike Robin War #1, Grayson #15 and Detective Comics #47 it actually works. Those books had the most awkward way of phrasing things that didn't make sense. Why would Damian taunt Jason for dying and Tim have to remind him that he died too? Or Jason state that Tim was never an official Robin in this canon? None of it made sense, added anything to the story and seem to come out of no where. In this book Jason is obviously trying to reason where they should stand since Tim and him come from similar backgrounds as these new kids. Their not being petty for random reasons they actually care and act as a team. It's also them ready to address their issues with each other.

They discuss the difference between them and the newbies in a mature fashion. Understanding why their doing what their doing while also pointing out how they differ. I like that their actually at a point where Jason could be honest with Tim and admit how much it hurt to see him being replaced. He's being extremely vulnerable here admitting feeling rejected, not measuring up to Dick or being as good as Tim. These are things he usually tries to cover up or avoiding talking about. This is not the same person Fawkes wrote that snaps out of no where at Tim and decides to call him a chicken for no real reason.

This talk does feel overdue given the old timeline yet it's still a pleasant surprise to see it all the same. Tim says he never wanted to replace him which Jason finally understands, then admit how hard it was to measure up to Jason. Remember Tim actually worshipped Jasons' memory and constantly lived in his shadow? No one else seems to since RW had him causally talking about dead Robins. Jason also wouldn't joke about Tim not being a real Robin since he knows how much it means to him. Now he finally realizes it was to honor him. That's the pay off I was hoping for with the Red Robin change. This scene of them understanding each other, the burden of being Robin/Batmans' sidekick and their respect for each other honestly got me misty eyed.

This is what I wanted from Robin War. A celebration of what it means to be Robin and the "brothers" to understand each other better. A reminder why we love these characters. No just to glorify Dick Grayson as the one true Robin that knows best or reduces everyone else to cliched roles. Is the fist bump cheesy, a bit but them teasing each other is brotherly. It's affectionate not childish, they know the other one isn't being serious or mean.

Both are pursuing other paths outside the family and don't really seem to have a place in Gotham. That's one of the reasons they fit so well together recently. Unfortunately the Robin War books have been writing this relationship horrendously as no one knows how to write Jason and won't bother learning. An ongoing problem from bat writers that don't give a damn despite Jason Todd being described as an important character. Clean up your act DC and enforce better characterizations. Make sure the writers aren't using personal bias and clich├ęd bad boy archetypes because you want people to like this character. There's profit to be made and their ruining it when a likable in character version exists in this very book.

Say What?: Circus, orphan boys tying into the Robin thing? I see what you did there.

Jason's not wrong about having trouble getting out of Gotham. When ever these events happen he ends up getting stuck for awhile. This time has been the longest though.

Again with the age thing. I know Jason went through some crap that makes him emotionally older but he's not that much older than he seems to assume JD is. I also don't remember Jason not giving a crap about innocent people like his comment about JD seem to imply. Even RHLD when Winick had him claim he didn't care it was after spending a bulk of the mini series risking his life for strangers. This was when ignoring them would have been the smarter choice for laying low. He might not have cared about killing bad guy but that's not the same thing as JD is saying.

I had to do a doubletake when I saw Jasons' nickname for Tim is "Timbers." Because I posted that as something Jason calls Tim when I was talking to someone about nicknames the bat boys would call each other. I don't know if anyone else used it and it can't be as well known as Jaybird was. It seems unlikely Lobdell would see that but it was a very surreal moment.

JD says she was hired by gunpoint but didn't she claim to do everything last issue to be hired by them?

When JD says she can't believe people pay them but has anyone besides Battleworth paid them?

This is the first time I think anyone mentioned that Jason didn't graduate high school (because he died.) Is Tim even in school? When I last read TT he was traveling and on the run.

Questions Raised?: Jason was 17 as Robin?! No way. That's too old. Even Tynion had Jason younger than that. He's between Dick and Tim's ages and spent a year or so training before taking on Batman. It doesn't even needed to be stated.


  1. As I mentioned before, this is by far one of the best issues involved on the Robin War, precisely because is barely connected to it and actually follows the events of the previous issue (while at the same time being friendly enough to get to speed any reader that picked this for the crossover)

    I wouldn't bother trying to fit all of this in a sequence because King obviously didn't gave a damn about it (There's no way Grayson 15 can be a follow up to Grayson 14 for example)

    It is really jarring to have the boys on their RHATO costumes with no explanation but well, that is how the cookie crumbles. A shame really since I'd loved to see Fernandez' take on Medri's designs.

    At this point I'm diregarding everything from WAR because it only perpetuates the asinine take of Jason being the "reckless bad boy" with none of the nuace or depth Lobdell has worked for five years.

    In just two pages Lobdell manages to give Jason and Tim more characterization than the RW writers have given them through the event, and yet a lot of people says the opposite is true, somehow.

    Having Jason acknowledge his anxieties to Tim is a powerful moment that really highlights how close they are, having them discuss the crossover events without taking sides and pointing out the flaws on both sides is a refreshing take absent on the crossover itself and Lobdell even acknowledges that without Batman around, they can't be true Robins.

    On Roy side, is was fantastic to have him taking the lead and showing his responsible side.Something we haven't seen since he briefly led the Titans back during DOTF. JD is still an element I'm not entirely convinced of her value but I've enjoyed the way Lobdell has handled her.

    The thing with the Lava zombies is just a setup for the next arc although yeah, the last panels are hard to follow but they essentially dragged JD and Roy into the subsoil.

    What you mean about Jason disregarding innocent lives? The way I read the dialogue, Jason was simply equaling JD's attitude with his own back during UTRH's timeframe. Oh and the guys trying attacking the circus were some villians introduced by Morrison during Batman Reborn, a neat touch on Lobdell's part.

  2. Not only that but the fact Tim and Jason (especially Jason) are in character. I know I mentioned it this just needs to be repeated, the exposition makes sense here. Their actually talking about the issue and each other without bringing up random facts that serve no purpose.

    I figured but when I can I try to place things in canon. I gave up on when the precisely the Wingman stuff happens. I'm going to try to pretend nothing really happened with Robin War but meeting the WAR kids when this is over.

    I would have liked for their costumes to have been damaged and the old looks were the only ones they had on hand/copies of. It's sad to see them go but at least their not getting ugly uniforms to replace them.

    I hate this stupid bad boy crap their pushing on Jason just because they can't be bothered to do research. I haven't seen how people are reacting to this but they probably love it despite it being bad. Nevertheless I'm planning on writing DC just to vent.

    It's amazing how blind people can be because of personal bias. Jason and Tim do nothing in RW except their pointless training in Grayson. Jason makes out of character comments and they both bicker rather than do anything in Detective Comics. Here their maturely airing their past problems with each other and seem to be closer.

    Exactly. They say in a couple of pages what King couldn't in two issues while progressing as characters. Jason admitting something so personal is HUGE. It means Tim is someone he's willing to open up to like Roy. Plus he finally gets to hear Tims' side of the story and learn the reason for Red Robin name. He learns that someone worried about living up to him and that his memory was honored. That's powerful.

    I know it just reads weird to have the lava people show up after the circus gang. I thought it would read better as a mystery.

    The wording just sounded the other way to me. I try to forget Morrisons' stuff. Some works for me some doesn't.