Batman and Robin #23 Review

Taking over from Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason are Judd Winnick and Guillem March. Well, Winnick is writing all three issues of The Streets Run Red arc that starts with this ish, with artist Greg Tocchini joining him for the conclusion.  Here March is assisted by fellow artist Andrei Bressan. March takes the first 10 pages, with Bressan (who I’ve never heard of before) taking the final 10. I can only assume limited time was the reason why art duties are shared, but thankfully it’s not too jarring. March’s work is always attractive, with his fluid style, and Bressan fits right in.

Winnick has been the main writer in defining Jason Todd’s dark character in the last few years. After the second Robin was resurrected after his murder at the hands of Joker in the classic ’80s story, Death in the Family, he’s been ousted from the Bat family and taken up a new mantle as crim killer Red Hood. After a great flashback (look at the stunning opener below), Batman (Bruce Wayne) visits Jason at Arkham Asylum, who (in a rare appearance showing his natural red hair) tells Bats that he wants out of Arkham, or as he puts it, “I will not be housed in your kennel for freaks.”

Jason’s character is darkened even more here. He’s Punisher with a sly confidence. There’s a great scene in a shower (not like that) in which Jason torments the aptly named Martin “The Beaver” Littleman, and later in the yard makes a few vengeful crims look rather foolish. Soon, the bodies start piling up, Batman asks questions and the issue ends with Jason’s daring rescue en route, by four animal looking gunmen.

The dialogue here is the real star. With Jason and Bruce riffing on their recent resurrections, and the differing views they have on each other, plus Dick and Damian (the current Robin) also showing up, there’s a lot of frank discussion about Jason’s murdering and psychotic tendencies, and it really reveals how great the supporting cast is.

For long time readers of Batman and co. only, but a must grab if that’s you.

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