Batman: Red Hood - The Lost Days by Judd Winick
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
I became acquainted with the "Under the Red Hood" storyline via the animated movie, and it is definitely a very dark part of the Batman history. I have recently embarked on exploring the Batman graphic novels, and decided to give this one a swing. This was very good.
This serves as a bit of a prequel to when the Red Hood enters the Gotham scene. It's not about Batman. It's about Jason Todd, who was found in the ruins of the warehouse that the Joker brought down on his head after beating and torturing him nearly to death. Initially, Jason is catatonic, but Talia Al'Ghul sees him as a pawn in destroying Batman and mentors him into the dangerous and murderous vigilante/assassin he becomes. He learns everything that Batman doesn't teach him about the darker Arts of War, with the goal of getting revenge on Joker (and peripherally Batman). In the process, he realizes that deep down, he still believes in fighting for good, but is willing to use extreme methods to deal with evil that Batman would never countenance.
This feels like a credible action/suspense story. Jason goes deep into the darkest pits of corruption and criminality, learns the skills he needs for his ultimate quest, and finds he can't turn a blind eye when innocents are harmed, or the tutors that Talia acquires for him turn out to be reprehensible in their habits. He also realizes that not all the means are justified for a desired end. Jason has a phenomenal brain and the incredible acrobatic and martial arts skills that demonstrate very clearly why he was Batman's Robin. Ultimately, I don't see that he has departed to far from the path that Batman sent him down. Maybe he is lost, but I think he will find his way. I need to read Batman: Under the Red Hood soon!
Definitely worthy of a 4.5/5.0 star rating.
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