Here we are, Red Son Rising Part 5. It’s hard to believe that there have been 4 parts previous to this issue and there is still more to come. The familiar crew of creatives tackle the next step of Jason Todd’s DCAU debut, but how did Batman: The Adventures Continue #13 fare compared to the lackluster previous entries?
Once, in a writing class, a student wrote a script about a fantasy school (imagine Monster Hunter in high school). There was this hilarious scene where a tryhard character gives another a Communist Manifesto. I thought it was really funny, but it absolutely took me out of the moment and didn’t fit the world he had created.
That happens about three times in this issue.
I’m not sure what’s going on with Alan Burnett and Paul Dini, but they are blowing it. It feels like they’re turning their own big story into a joke? Joker and Penguin get into a bizarre power struggle that feels ill-fitting while Batman hunts for Red Hood, who is also hunting the Joker. While the Joker’s main goon battles Penguin’s main goon, Joker makes a FAMILY GUY reference!
What the fuck?
Not only that, Red Hood makes an ‘It’ reference on the last page as he looks through a storm drain at Batman. Finally, Red Hood throws a grenade that has a domino mask on it! He dresses up his grenades like dolls, I guess? It’s not that these aren’t funny but they don’t fit the world whatsoever and take me out of the moment. This isn’t the time for humor, I’m down for fun arcs and silly humor, but this is NOT the time. We’re in the home stretch of a dark story.
The series seems to be in a tailspin, honestly. The last couple of issues haven’t been able to get out of a rut, they have been miring in flashbacks with no tension and occasional cool scenes to keep everything buoyed, but I feel like we’re lost at sea at this point. The last couple of reviews I said I was excited to see how this ends, but honestly, I’m just ready for it to be over. They haven’t executed well on this storyline since the bar scene earlier in the arc.
There’s honestly not much to say. Templeton is continuing to do a good job. There’s a lack of detail or definition or something to the pages, but that’s been consistent throughout the entire run. He draws the fight scene between Straightman and Mr. Wing very well. The culmination in the Iceberg Lounge when Red Hood shows up is well done. If it wasn’t for the lackluster writing, this would be a really good scene.
I also like his character design. I didn’t notice how much I liked the lines on Red Hood’s helmet/mask thing but it adds some nice definition. I’m not sure if it makes him look more ‘bad guy’, that might be the writing, but I feel like it does add something a bit more sinister than his DCU look. The jacket is great, it still fits the brown leather jacket DC has tried pushing for Red Hood while fitting the era.
I’m not really sure what’s going on here, but Burnett and Dini are faltering. They’ve been treading water for a couple of issues and now that it’s time to execute again, they’ve fallen apart. This issue felt silly, unnecessary, and lacked the ample drama that the previous issues had done so well to set up. The beginning of Red Son Rising was really good. Then, the flashbacks were dull but a necessary evil. They had a killer cliffhanger at the end of the last issue but didn’t capitalize on it.
Add in some really bad humor that I can’t believe got past editorial and this issue feels like a disaster, honestly. Ty Templeton gives a solid effort though. Maybe they were assigned this task by editorial and their hearts aren’t in it? I know I had doubts about Burnett after Batman and Harley Quinn, which is probably the worst DC Animated movie I’ve ever seen. This reminds me of that, with ill-fitting humor at the absolute wrong moment and an inability to execute on the dramatic moments presented. I mean, you have ‘A Death in the Family’ and ‘Under the Red Hood’ comics to go off of, you have the amazing ‘Under the Hood’ animated film, and you can’t pull off a Red Hood story?
It’s puzzling since they have had such a stellar track record in the past and I really like Dini, but I’m seriously wary of next issue. If they don’t pull it together for the end, I’m considering dropping this title.