After two weeks, Batman: The Adventures Continue returns with issue #12, Part Four of Red Son Rising. Alan Burnett and Paul Dini continue their adaptation of A Death in the Family (in retrospect) with the issue everyone has been waiting to see. How will they handle the murder of Jason Todd?
This week’s issue is pretty much all centered around “the scene”. If you’ve been following the series to this date, you know the one I’m talking about. If you haven’t, it’s the infamous scene of the Joker murdering the second Robin, Jason Todd. The question in everyone’s mind is: How are they going to adapt this macabre storyline?
One of the flaws of this story is the heavy use of flashback, it cuts out organic moments and turns the story into just highlights as Alfred relays the story to Tim Drake. But, I think Burnett and Dini did the best they could with bringing this story to the Animated Universe. There are some changes from the original, like no mother of Jason Todd, the bomb is an incidental thing, and no heroic final moment for Jason.
In the original, Jason Todd uses his last bout of strength and his final seconds to protect his mother. Here, he uses his final moments to make Batman vow to kill the Joker. Batman not only won’t do that, he’ll go save the Joker to boot. This drives Jason crazy and he gets up to stop Batman, but an explosion takes him out. In a normal world, Jason is vaporized. But, this is comic books. And we all know Jason survived that.
The ending is the best part, we’re finally out of flashback land and get a really cool stinger on the end. I thought issue #11 was an in-between issue that was a bridge from the awesome end to #10 to the necessary story in #12. Now, we are getting back to the action.
Ty Templeton continues the good work that he does with Monica Kubina providing accurate colors. Continuing his style from The Batman Adventures and onward, Ty mimics the art style from Batman: The Animated Series very well. It was unique seeing blood spatter all over Joker there. I know the story calls for it, but the art felt a bit too gruesome for something we’d see from the Animated Series.
That restriction by television network for kids though, causes the artists to have to come up with something more artistic. I can imagine the show only giving us shadows or silhouettes to show us what the Joker did. Here, it is in your face and gruesome, not really the style of the show. But, that’s on the writers as well. It’s hard to tell who has pull and how much rope Ty Templeton has to say something like “It’ll be more visually striking if we do it like such and such”.
This story is tough. It’s caught in an awkward position of having to tell the story through flashbacks, purely exposition. It sucks a lot of the drama out of the moment, especially because Alfred and Tim are just standing around. But, the excitement of seeing how the Animated Series crew would pull off A Death in the Family is high.
I don’t know, for some reason, it didn’t really work for me. I wanted it to, but I just wasn’t feeling this scene. One thing I did like though, was how the writers figured out the complaint that Jason Todd and this version of Tim Drake were too similar. The idea that Batman sees Tim Drake as a do-over on where he messed up with Jason is cool. Unfortunately, the handling of the infamous scene feels simplistic, and without much love. It feels quick and dirty, something they had to get through but didn’t exactly figure out the best way to show us that scene.
I know I said this last issue but, the NEXT issue is the one I’m really looking forward to. Current day Jason Todd has been the draw of the story for me and the crew has been finding every way to dodge it, but they can’t now. I’m looking forward to seeing a more malicious Red Hood that we’ve been denied in the DCU proper.