Finally after eight chapters of having the character stalk them from the shadows we finally started to learn the truth about Batman’s secret second Robin in the DC Animated Universe, Jason Todd. After finding out that Jason is the one stalking the Batman Family Bruce Wayne left Alfred Pennyworth to tell Tim Drake the truth about Jason’s past as the second Robin. Chapter 9 started going into that backstory, altering details of Jason’s history since the DCAU version of Tim Drake technically used part of Jason’s comic book history as his own. Now that we are getting into who the DCAU Jason Todd is how many similarities will there be to his regular DC Universe counterpart? Let’s find out with Batman: The Adventures Continue Chapter 10.
Writers: Alan Burnett and Paul Dini
Artist: Ty Templeton
Colorist: Monica Kubina
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: In the Batcave, after Jason Todd appears as Robin to help Batman take on Firefly, Bruce Wayne reprimands Jason for what he did. Jason asks for a chance to be Robin and promises to work hard to earn Bruce’s trust. Bruce agrees and takes Jason on as his new protégé.
As time goes on while Jason does what Batman orders when fighting common thugs he becomes much more aggressive and reckless as Robin when fighting Batman’s villains.
One night Scarecrow takes over a new station as his Skeleton Crew gang are stealing from all over Gotham City. Batman, Batgirl, and Robin are quick to show up and start fighting Scarecrow and the Skeleton gang.
During the fight Robin faces off against Scarecrow one-on-one. Robin ends up defeating Scarecrow but does not stop beating on Scarecrow until he punches him out of the building. Batman saves Scarecrow before he dies.
Batman reprimands Robin, reminding his sidekick that they do not kill. Robin says that guys like Scarecrow deserve it.
The fight with Scarecrow and the Batman Family is broadcast across Gotham City so everyone saw what happened, including Joker and Harley Quinn.
Later, Alfred tries to convince Bruce that Jason is not ready to be Robin. Bruce says that Jason was just under the influence of Scarecrow’s toxin and leaves the conversation at that.
Two hours later Alfred approaches Bruce again, after analyzing the Robin costume, and finds that there were no traces of Scarecrow’s toxin anywhere on Jason. Bruce admits he already found that out in his own analysis of the Robin costume.
Jason overhears this conversation and yells about how Bruce doesn’t trust him. As Jason leaves Bruce tries to stop him. Jason kicks Bruce in the face and says that they don’t have to worry about him anymore. Jason then takes off on one of the motorcycles.
In the present Tim asks Alfred if Jason was ever seen again. Alfred says he did not but Bruce did and it led to what he considers a bittersweet tragedy in Batman’s career.
At the The Den bar Batman finds Jason there in his Red Hood costume. Batman says he searched for Jason everywhere. Jason says he decided to take some years off to figure out who he is after recovering from the massive blood loss and physical trauma he went through. Batman asks Jason to come home so he can make things right.
Jason turns the offer down as he rants about how Bruce belief in others clouds his judgement as a true master detective since Batman never picked up on his flaws from the start. Jason tells Bruce that he is still playing a fool since he didn’t even question why there are so many whiskey bottles in a building that smells like gasoline.
Jason then shoots several whisky bottles and leaves the building. The building then explodes. Batman barely jumps out of the building only to see Jason waving him goodbye. End of issue.
The Good: Not long after finding out how Jason Todd became the second Robin Alan Burnett and Paul Dini showed us how that all fell apart. The quickness in how the DC Animated Universe’s Jason Todd backstory unfolded worked to both benefit and hinder this “Red Son Rising” arc.
One thing I will give Burnett and Dini full credit on with Batman: The Adventures Continue is how they’ve been able to find a good groove in telling stories within this digital chapter format. They’ve nailed how to tell a normal comic book story with a beginning and end that is expected from a normal comic book. That has been easier said than done in this format but it has worked to benefit the storytelling that Burnett and Dini have found a way to hook the reader in with the endings for each Batman: The Adventures Continue chapter.
And the definite star of Batman: The Adventures Continue Chapter 10 was Alfred Pennyworth. Burnett and Dini do a great job painting Jason Todd’s backstory from Alfred’s eyes. They don’t mask the fact that Alfred is giving his own thoughts of how Jason’s rise and fall as the second Robin turned out. This gave a greater sense of honesty with how Alfred was retelling Jason’s story to Tim Drake.
It also worked as a reminder of how even though Alfred is Bruce’s closest confidant that he is viewing Batman’s adventures from an outsiders perspective. Unlike Dick Grayson or Barbara Gordon, Alfred is not out in the middle of the action. He can only judge things based on footage he sees and how the rest of the Batman Family interact with each other. It is through that Alfred’s perspective is so important because he does see the full picture of what is going on and not just things from Bruce or Jason’s perspective.
That played in well with the narrative that Burnett and Dini established in the last few pages of how Bruce did want to help Jason as Robin that he overlooked all of the kid’s faults. Especially after how things broke down with Dick Grayson, Bruce was likely blinded with the similarities Jason had to Dick when he was young that he overlooked Jason’s faults. But by overlooking those faults in how Jason was nowhere near ready to take on being Robin was what really caused the fallout they had to be inevitable.
Jason being partially fueled by that fact was an interesting direction to take the character. It gives more weight to how Jason did take the years away from Batman’s eyes to not only train but see the problems he has. Given how things went down with Joker in the previous issue Jason hasn’t fully grown past those problems. But at the very least he is using the character faults he is well aware of himself to play mind games with Batman and get one over on him.
Ty Templeton and Monica Kubina continue to do a good job in bringing the DC Animated Universe art style and adapting it for comic book form. It very much felt like Batman: The Adventures Continue Chapter 10 was an episode from the animated series. The subtle adjustments to Jason’s hairstyle being more brown worked to help make him look different from both Dick and Tim’s version of Robin. It’s little story telling adjustments such as those that help get into the story. The same goes for how they drew and colored Batman when he was talking with Red Hood. The emotion on Batman’s face told the story of how he was blind to the fact that the bar did smell like gasoline, something he would normally pick up on immediately.
The Bad: As I’ve said in previous reviews of this series, the problem that Batman: The Adventures Continue Chapter 10 runs into is the fact that there Jason Todd is underdeveloped. Burnett and Dini continue to rely on us knowing who Jason is from the regular DC Universe to get behind his character arc. But this isn’t the DC Universe, this is the DC Animated Universe and Jason is a brand new character with no prior history in the animated series fans are well-versed in.
Because of that Burnett and Dini failing to put any sort of positives for why Jason became Robin was a massive failure on their part. The excuse could be that the Jason’s backstory was from Alfred’s perspective but that is just an excuse and not a valid reason. There should’ve at least been some flashback to how Jason as Robin helped save people with Batman and Batgirl. But we got none of that. Instead all we got was how aggressively reckless Jason was from the moment he has been introduced.
Even as Red Hood, all we’ve seen is how Jason is reckless with how he ended up losing to Joker in the previous chapter. If Burnett and Dini want us to get behind this version of Jason Todd than there needs to be hints of how the character does have a good heart. Otherwise all Burnett and Dini will succeed in doing is reminding readers why Jason has always been the worst Robin and why it took years of being Red Hood for fans to actually accept the character.
Overall: Batman: The Adventures Continue Chapter 10 is a frustrating comic book. On one hand, Alan Burnett and Paul Dini do a good job telling Jason Todd’s backstory from Alfred Pennyworth’s perspective and how Bruce Wayne was affected by that period in his Batman career. On the other hand, Burnett and Dini continue to do a poor job in actually getting readers invested in this version of Jason Todd. For the sake of this entire Jason Todd Saga the series needs to do better in telling the story of the character’s past and present. If not “Red Son Rising” will just end up falling on its face rather than being an intriguing addition to the DC Animated Universe.
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