Now for the second story arc: Revenge of the Red Hood. This being a Grant Morrison work, the amount of symbolism that you are about to read will blow your mind. Also the artist for this arc is Philip Tan (Final Crisis: Revelations.)
We begin with a criminal named Lightning Bug mugging someone on a roof, because this is Gotham, where everything happens on a roof. The Batmobile floats up behind him and he cheeses it. He falls down a gap in the buildings and ends up in an alley. He is caught by what he thinks is Batman & Robin, but are actually Red Hood and Sasha, now calling herself Scarlet. They kill Lightning Bug and escape, leaving behind a red calling card, which Batman notes is the third time this week. We see the next night, where Dick is attending a social gathering. There he briefly meets Oberon Sexton, an English detective, known as the “Gravedigger.” Later, we see Batman & Robin watching in on a meeting of criminals, including the Penguin.
One of the criminals mention bringing in someone named Flamingo to deal with Red Hood. The meeting is interrupted when the aforementioned Hood interrupts and kills most of the attendants. Before he can kill Penguin, the Duo show up and they immediately recognize Jason Todd as the Red Hood. They fight for a little, until Jason decides to retreat, leaving Batman to arrest Penguin. We see that Scarlet was taking pictures of the fight, and that Jason is trying to be the competition to Batman’s “Brand” as he puts it. Commissioner Gordon interrogates the one surviving member, besides the Penguin, of Hood’s attack at the hospital. Later, Hood is trying to get info from the same guy, when the Duo rush in to save him. Batman & Robin are beaten, and are taken back to Hood’s hideout, where they are tied up and stripped.
Hood walks outside and is shot in the head by Flamingo, which only breaks his stupid helmet. Flamingo is revealed to be this Prince looking guy, but he is a brainless killer with a whip. He beats up Scarlet and Jason, until Robin interrupts him with a rocket launcher, and Batman kicks him in the face. He’s winning the fight until he gets knocked into a convenient cliff in the area. Batman manages to grapple back up, but not before Flamingo shoots Robin five times, paralyzing him. Jason picks up Flamingo with an industrial vehicle and drops him off the cliff, killing him. Things wrap up quick with Jason being arrested, Scarlet escaping while the doll mask falls off, and Jason ranting and raving that Damian will be healed by a Lazarus Pit, but that Dick won’t allow Bruce to come back because he’s afraid of being in his shadow. We end the book with Dick going into a hidden room in the Batcave with Bruce’s body preserved in it.
Yeah, if you read Final Crisis or anything surrounding it you know that’s not Batman’s body. Anyway, ratings time.
Plot: It’s definitely a Batman detective story, but with the slant of having a new Batman. The second arc is more the classic revenge story, but the interactions are smart.
Characters: Everyone fills the role you’d expect, Dick is unsure about being Batman, Damian is the bratty sidekick, and Alfred is their father figure. Sasha is a tragic character, and her finding happiness at the end is nice. Jason however, is just complex. He goes from father figure of Scarlet to social media savvy teenager with his own daddy issues.
Action: The action is pretty great, especially in the first arc. The comic boxes shift to slanted boxes that follow the battle, making it flow better.
Art: The art is solid, but in the first arc the characters have too many lines on them and look kind of puffy for it. It’s just odd to me.
Ending: The ending doesn’t work for me because I know that’s not Batman. I do kind of want to know who’s body is that, though.
Final Thoughts; And now it’s time for the symbolism. There’s a lot of references to Alan Moore’s previous works here, like the Joker’s carnival from The Killing Joke and Jason Todd’s resemblance to Rorschach from Watchmen. Another Killing Joke reference is Damian being crippled, and that Jason Todd refuses to turn himself in, like the Joker did. Anyway, the book was very good, and this symbolism is just fun stuff that Grant Morrison slips in. The downside would have to be Jason Todd’s character, but the new villains, Pyg and Flamingo, are great additions and I’d like to see more of Pyg.
Rating: Full Price