Gotham War has been nothing but a disappointment thus far. It isn’t the tone setter that Batman fans could hope for coming out of the Knight Terrors hiatus. More than anything, Gotham War is just proving why it was the wrong decision by DC Comics to pause their entire publishing line for Knight Terrors. Because of the hiatus it caused Batman, Catwoman, and other Batman comic books to not properly set the stage for what Gotham War has become. The lack of set-up time has hurt this crossover. It is still early in this crossover event so things could improve. With that in mind let’s see if Batman/Catwoman: Gotham War – Red Hood #1 can start the process of improvement.
Writer: Matthew Rosenberg
Artist: Nikola Cizmesija
Colorist: Rex Lokus
Letterer: Troy Peteri
“The Gotham War has fractured the Bat-Family in dramatic ways—none more intensely than with Jason Todd. This stunning event will forever alter the destiny of the man who wears the Red Hood!” – DC Comics
The immediate word that comes to mind after finishing reading Batman/Catwoman: Gotham War – Red Hood #1 is “Rough.” There is no other way to put what this issue is other than being as messy as the entire Gotham War crossover has been up to this point. More than anything, what Matthew Rosenberg proved was that Gotham War as whole is a concept that was rushed to be printed without properly planning it out.
The biggest problem that this entire issue faces is that no character comes across as how they are portrayed in the Batman or Catwoman series. Given the nature of Gotham War, more time should’ve been given to Chip Zdarsky and Tini Howard to be the sole creative force behind the event. Especially since there are no other tie-in comic books outside of Gotham War: Red Hood having a tighter creative control would’ve ben for the best. But with Rosenberg being thrown in as the third creator working on Gotham War all the weakness with this crossover event are more easily shown.
It doesn’t help that Rosenberg writes Gotham War: Red Hood as though he only had a brief outline of what the Batman and Catwoman crossover would be about. There is a massive lack of consistency in how Red Hood and Catwoman are written here compared to Zdarsky and Howard’s portrayal of the characters. Rosenberg seems to only have a top level grasp of who Jason Todd and Selina Kyle are.
Selina Kyle’s portrayal in particular is egregious. Rosenberg tries to write her as though she is the same version from the Batman: The Animated Series. There is nothing taken into account about her character development from the last few years. In particular, with Gotham War Selina has taken a much more mature approach in how she conducts herself. There is none of that here as Rosenberg tries to manufacture chemistry between Selina and Jason that is borderline gross. It does Selina no favors as someone who is trying to change the whole criminal system.
Jason is no better as Rosenberg throws all sense off growth since returning from the dead to be back to square one as Red Hood. Jason is just a rough dude who is quickly set off. This inner rage causes violent outburst that feel like the old pre-Outlaws Jason Todd replaced the one that’s been around for years.
It doesn’t help that this Red Hood tie-in does not fit anywhere into the timeline of Gotham War. In its own way, this tie-in appears to be happening in its own alternate universe. Which goes back to how it didn’t seem as though Rosenberg worked to make sure his Red Hood story complimented what is going on over in the Batman and Catwoman series. He was simply given a Red Hood mini-series to write with a brief outline of the setting for Gotham War.
This results in Gotham War: Red Hood to be nothing more than a throw away mini-series. It would’ve been a much better decision if Zdarsky and Howard fought to have this mini-series be a Batman Family anthology tie-in. With Gotham War impacting the entire Batman Family spending more time developing Robin, Batgirls, Signal, and others role in the story would’ve been much better use of this comic book.
Because of how poor the writing is the rough edge nature of Nikola Cizmesija art style is even more apparent. The artwork just appears rushed throughout. There was just nothing visually appealing to the art. Though I’m not sure even great art could’ve helped the story that was written improve.
Batman/Catwoman: The Gotham War – Red Hood #1 is nothing but a pure disappointment. This is by far the worst chapter in the Gotham War crossover event thus far. Which is saying a lot given that Gotham War hasn’t gotten off to a good start. If you are reading Batman and Catwoman’s Gotham War crossover save yourself the trouble by skipping this Red Hood tie-in mini-series.
Story Rating: 2 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 2.5 Night Girls out of 10