The curious case of Jason Todd

Right then. DC is making a full court press with its animated features. While I'm not obsessive over them they do look like quality work. The animation is all pretty and slick. The voice acting tends to be good. Still, if I'm not down with the story I'm going to skip it. I got WONDER WOMAN but I skipped GREEN LANTERN. I got JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRISIS ON TWO EARTHS but I skipped PUBLIC ENEMIES. So what will be next for DC's growing library of animated features?

Jason Todd.

No, I'm not joking.

Now I know there's one nut out in Joplin, Missouri who is beside himself giddy over this, but the sane among us are having serious Whiskey Tango Foxtrot moments here. Judd Winick pitched an animated adaption for his "Under the Hood" storyline and, sure enough, they went for it. Fine. Let's analyze this thing.

Let's start with Winick. MTV REAL WORLD: SAN FRANCISCO alum who worked his way up the indy comics ladder with his works FRUMPY THE CLOWN, PEDRO AND ME and the absolutely wonderful THE ADVENTURES OF BARRY WEEN: BOY GENIUS. He made his way into DC with the likes of Brad Meltzer, Greg Rucka and Geoff Johns. He followed Ron Marz on GREEN LANTERN and did some pretty cool stuff. He then was writing the ridiculously oversexed THE OUTSIDERS. Somewhere in there he was writing BATMAN and that when his "Under the Hood" story came out. He's a fairly solid writer, who has had points of sheer brilliance, however that has been balanced by his personal agendas leaking out into his work and questionable knowledge of fighting. frankly when it's announced that he'll be writing a comic the big question asked among fans is usually "who's gonna turn gay or get AIDS?"

I have read his "Under the Hood" storyline. It's currently out in trade. I can say its a good read. Its one of Winick's stronger outings into the super hero genre. But there's a serious problem with the work: it's in the center of a continuity typhoon bringing us to Jason Todd.

If there was ever a perfect storm of continuity, this would be it. This story links directly to "A Death in the Family" which came out well over a decade earlier. Also at the time of printing "Under the Hood" was marching along right alongside every other title in the DCU heading straight for INFINITE CRISIS, so things were going on the DCU which had a ripple effect on the story, and that's going to get painfully apparent quickly.

So what the hell is going on?

Jason Todd was the second Robin and murdered by the Joker. And by murdered I mean beaten savagely with a crowbar, blown up and then there's Batman finding the body. I mean dead. Not sorta dead. Not possibly dead. Not it could be a cunning ruse dead. Dead. There was actually a vote. Fans could call in and vote to this character to live or die and they voted dead, despite what that conspiracy nutter in Joplin will tell you.

So, how did he come back?

I could go on and on and on about this as it is easily the stupidest resurrection in the history of comics. Not just "I can't believe they were dumb enough to actually bring this guy back *Cough*BarryfuckingAllen*cough*" stupid. This is the brutal murder of suspension of disbelief stupid. What is boils down it is Superboy-Prime was sitting in another dimension, watching the Earth on his interdemensional television set, got pissed off, punched the TV and BANG Jason Todd was alive in the coffin.

So we have a character, that wasn't just voted off the island, he was voted off the planet by fans, being inadvertently resurrected by the in canon representation of fanboyism. Roll that through your head a bit.

For those of you yelling "Nuh-UNG! Jason Todd came back in "Hush"!" Yeah look, "Hush" is a lot of things. It's over-rated for one. It's also touted as proof that Batman can whup Superman and Jason Todd was back. While Jeph Loeb has written some good Batman stories, this was not one of them. Just look at the Jim Lee art and don't think about it too much. Jason Todd's appearance there was throwaway gimmick, much like everything else in that story. That book was all about "OK, let's see if we can get Jim lee to draw every last character in the Batman Universe except for Bat-mite and Aunt Harriet, and try to make a mystery out of it because people really like "The Long Halloween" but other than that just get all these characters together somehow."

So "Under the Hood" is the story that's next in line for an animated treatment? Really? Winick must have pitched my Nolan freakin' Ryan out there. I'll be passing on this one.

Maybe in a yin yang karmic thing SEVEN SOLDIERS OF VICTORY will get picked for animation treatment next? And while I'm dreaming I'd like a million dollars tax free.


Anonymous said...

Wow. I really enjoyed Hush.

I haven't read any of the Under the Hood stuff though.

My thing with Winnick (besides the two points you just mentioned) is how saturated the market is with his work right now. When is he writing all of this stuff? Tons of Green Arrow out there...seems like every one i pick up is by him!

Marty Nozz said...

There's nothing wrong with enjoying "Hush", but it is terribly overrated. I like plenty of bad movies. "Hush" is like "Bloodsport", really lame, but we kinda like it anyways.