Story arc: Under the Red Hood
Volume: 1 & 2
Author(s): Judd Winick
Illustrator(s): Doug Mahnke, Paul Lee, Shane Davis, Eric Battle, Tom Nguyen, Cam Smith, Rodney Ramos, Wayne Faucher, Larry Stucker, Mark Morales
Publisher: DC Comics
Original Release Date: March 1st 2006
Genre(s): Comics, Science Fiction
Judd Winick masterfully introduces to the canon Batman stories one of the most iconic characters who has shaken the very foundation of the Dark Knight. Filled with intense and bloody action sequences, Judd Winick does an impeccable job in characterization and brings to life the Red Hood with pure finesse and grace. In Batman: Under the Red Hood, readers will be pleased to see the rise of a new player in the war on crime who doesn’t see justice through the same scope as most superheroes.
Batman: Under the Red Hood is unmistakably one of the greatest story arc to have graced the Gotham lore. It took me a while to finally get my hands on this splendid graphic novel containing both volume 1 and 2, but the wait was well worth it. Like anything that I know I’ll love, I’ve been keeping my distance to not lose that first impression that would surely capture my heart and coat it with a layer of complete praise for the character. Now that I’ve indulged myself in the very story that brought the Red Hood to life, I can humbly say that he is an unbelievable and unforgettable addition to Batman’s universe.
In this truly fantastic story arc, a mysterious new figure meddles with the top dog of Gotham and stirs the hornets’ nest like none other before. Now crime lord Black Mask seeks to rid himself of this pest by using all possible methods, from retaliation to compliance, in order to settle this business before his own plans fall into ruin. In the meantime, Batman attempts to figure out who’s under the red hood while a whole war dipped in dilemmas unravels at the heart of Gotham.
The Red Hood is one of the most beloved character by fans, and there are so many reasons why it is so. His personality is eccentric and completely cocky, and his methods are vicious and mysterious. You’d imagine that there’s no one out there that could actually go head to head with Batman, but this one finds ways to stun him and stay a couple steps ahead of him. While bloodshed comes with his approach, there’s a hint of his knowledge and way of doing that succeeds in impressing Batman, but also rattles his very disbelief of the impossible.
The best part of this storyarc is in understanding the motives behind this antihero. While he does appear out of the blue, the Red Hood rose out of the shows with a plan. The revelation that Spoiler, highlight to read: «he is the once dead Robin, Jason Todd—see A Death in the Family by Jim Stalin—» only makes things much more intriguing as it brings Batman to visit other superheroes Spoiler, highlight to read: « in order to understand what it was like to come back from the dead ». The interaction between those heroes and Batman highlights the uncomfortable nature of the subject and the complicated relationship he has with others. Cleverly integrated, this offers us more insight into Batman trying to make sense of everything before the big revelation and how he has dealt with Spoiler, highlight to read: « the loss of Jason Todd. It’s nice to see him trying to make sense of the return of the dead in this one too ».
The artwork also works very well with the story, even when it changes hands numerous times. It does have a couple of hiccups, but nothing detrimental to the whole experience. For example, Black Mask is sometimes drawn as a normal person with a skull mask on, and at other times, he is drawn as if the mask was literally his face. The colours are vivid and you can only imagine how visually beautiful it gets when it starts raining lead and blood gets spilled. It is definitely a good thing when the artwork remains pretty similar from one chapter to the other and makes the whole experience much more uniform.
The ending, also known as the infamous chapter on where the person under the Red Hood came from, was absolutely off. It’s sad that it went in that direction, but man… Everything else was way too much fun to let that ruin it. The chapter felt rushed and a lot that happened to explain things just makes you wince a little. There’s even an awkward scene between one of Batman’s past lover and the person under the Red Hood that just made me wonder what the hell was the purpose of it. Nonetheless, the Red Hood is one of the best antiheroes out there and this volume proves it. Batman: Under the Red Hood is a classic that should be read, re-read and re-read again. And also watched.
DC Comic’s have always been known to produce some of the best animated movies out there. Under the Red Hood is one of them.
I’d be the first one jumping out of my chair dancing if the live-action DC movies ever decide to adapt this storyarc with Ben Affleck’s Batman.
PLEASE MAKE IT HAPPEN!! ❤
You can order your copy now!
MY OVERALL RATING: ★★★★☆
Have you read it yet? Do you plan to? What do you think about Batman: Under the Red Hood? Have you seen the animated movie?
Share your thoughts with me!
Till next time,