BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD by Judd Winick & Doug Mahnke

I watched the movie Batman Under the Red Hood a year or two before I finally got my hands on the source material. The movie was gritty and violently satisfying. Then, at long last, I ordered a copy of the book…

BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD by Judd Winick & Doug Mahnke

I’d never read anything by Judd Winick but Doug Mahnke was a familiar name from his Justice League and Green Lantern work. These talented gentlemen make a great team because BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD was an enthralling read.

Fast and furious, the Red Hood comes into Gotham to efficiently transplant himself into the industrious crime that the city is so known for. Red Hood is essentially Batman, but with no boundaries whatsoever. He quickly reveals himself as Jason Todd – the fallen second Robin. This reveal shakes the Dark Knight to his core.

Jason Todd’s death is the shadow lurking over a man who exists in the shadows. Prior to this volume, old wounds left from Jason’s death at the hands of the Joker were reopened from a farce perpetrated by Hush. This story takes place after those wounds mostly healed once again. Fast and furious, the Red Hood comes into Gotham to efficiently transplant himself into the industrious crime that the city is so known for. Batman must deal with the threat while trying not to fail his former protege.

Batman, by nature, is a tortured soul. His tragic origin is accepted to a point where people expect him to be cold, calculated, and remorselessly driven by his vengeful mission. The Batman is so effective in this role that it’s easy to think of him as being incapable of experiencing anything else. However, underneath the cowl there is still Bruce Wayne – a man who should be able to experience the emotional shortcomings that define humanity. Throughout this superbly executed read you get a real sense of the Dark Knight’s tortured conscience.

I don’t want to say anything else about the story because I’d hate to take away from its gripping appeal. On a more trivial note – 384 pages is on the high end for your average graphic novel. Most stick between 150-200 pages so getting that much more for a comparable price was enough reason to bump this higher on my priority list. I’m pleased to say that it’ll go back in line for a re-read.

8 out of 10Half a star.png

My rating of BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD is a vengeful 8.5 out of 10.

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