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When a Robin goes Bad
on 10 July 2012
Judd Winick returns with another book of his character, the Red Hood, aka Jason Todd (formerly the second Robin), this time addressing the years in between returning from the dead to when he shows up in Gotham - presumably for the events in "Under the Red Hood" (recommended by the by).
The "Lost Days" are what you'd expect. Nurtured from the grave by Talia Al'Ghul (who wouldn't you know it has an ulterior motive!), Jason goes from combat expert to combat expert learning the finer points of shooting, putting together bombs, lethal physical fighting, etc. to give him the edge over Batman.
What makes Jason a more interesting version of the good guy turned bad is that he still retains some of the goodness that Bruce gave him from his training as Robin. Throughout the book Jason's faced with the scum of the Earth, some of whom he punishes for various discretions and some he leaves alone - it's the choices he makes which are interesting to see, that despite distancing himself from Batman he still retains a moral code of sorts. Also, as he's learning and developing prior to going back to Gotham we see him make mistakes and falter in his missions making his character more human.
The only place where I felt Winick dropped the ball was at the end when Jason confronts Joker. He lets him live despite how everything about the character's personality is geared toward Joker's death, so Jason's action and reasoning felt a bit contrived. But then Joker can't die can he?
Anyway, it's still a good read with Winick proving once again how comfortably brilliant he is when it comes to writing Jason Todd/Red Hood. Jason's a complicated guy and a somewhat likeable protagonist despite his ruthlessness and here in "Lost Days" we see how he hones his world view before the climactic events of "Under the Red Hood" which is definitely the next book to pick up after this. Worth a read if you're a fan of this character.