Welcome my comic collecting cohorts to another instalment of Comic Cover of The Week, and this week’s illustriously illustrated issue is brought to you by, superlative scribe Scott Lobdell, and kingly Kenneth Rocafort. The Red Hood and the Outlaws Rebirth series has, thus far, been fantastic, Lobdell’s intense interactions between the offbeat triumvirate of Red Hood, Artemis and Bizarro are definitely the highlight of the series.
Lobdell’s cracking characterisations are equally matched by Rocafort’s amazing artwork. We have been huge fans of Mr Rocafort’s peerless mastery of pen and pencil since we first discovered his work on the original 2011 Red Hood and the Outlaws series, it’s the little details he puts into each and every panel, in fact the art is so busy and complex, we do have to wonder how in Tartarus does he get the time to illustrate a complete issue, each… and every… month, the man is a machine!
This issue kicks off the “Who Is Artemis” storyline, as we catch up with our favourite band of justice seeking miscreants in a Gotham City bar, on the trail of ominous Bat-Villain, Cornelius Stirk. The majority of the comic takes place within said bar, and revolves around a conversation between Jason (Red Hood) and Artemis, as she regales her crime fighting colleague with her rather colourful history in Amazon lore.
The synergy between Jason and Artemis is ably captured by Lobdell this issue, especially Jason’s idiosyncratic personality. The quirky banter between our two leads makes for an exceptionally fun read as we explore Artemis background, and the reasons behind her (ongoing) search for the legendary Bow of Ra. And just when you think the issue couldn’t possibly get any better, we get a guest appearance from Artemis’ Amazon sister, Wonder Woman!
Red Hood and the Outlaws #8 is available at your local comic-book emporium right now.
Nightwing Movie Incoming!!
We love The Batman here in the Precinct, we really do, but let’s be honest he has hogged the limelight when it comes to big screen appearances over the decades. Now we can understand why DC Comics have utilised the Caped Crusader so much in films over the years, I mean he is quite possibly THE most popular comic book character ever created, but his intrinsic lore includes many other fantastic creations that haven’t honestly been given a fair shake of the escrima stick! And one of the most beloved of the bodacious Bat Family is Richard Grayson, aka Nightwing.
Warner Bros announced this week that Batman’s one time sidekick will be getting his very own movie, which will slot right into DC’s burgeoning extended cinematic universe. Dick Grayson is the character who first took on the mantle of Robin in 1940, after his family was murdered (the acrobatic team known as “The Flying Graysons”) he was adopted by Bruce Wayne and inducted into the dangerous world of costumed crimefighting.
Dick left his position as Robin in 1984, taking on the role of Nightwing. Strangely enough the original holder of this title was Superman! When the Kryptonian Superhero and his pal, Jimmy Olsen found themselves stranded in the Kryptonian City of Kandor (famously miniaturised and stolen by the villainous Braniac) they adopted the identities Nightwing and Flamebird, and became Kandor’s costumed saviours.
After the venerable 80’s “Crisis On Infinite Earths” reboot, the original character of Nightwing was re-imagined as a masked vigilante from Krypton, whose legendary background served as the inspiration for Dick’s choice of identity.
Now those of you who have seen the outstanding ultimate edition of Zack Snyder’s criminally underrated “Batman v Superman” will have noticed the glass tube containing the Robin outfit, with the words “Ha Ha, Joke’s On You Batman” scrawled on it, this is famously tied in to the death of Dick’s replacement as Robin, Jason Todd, who was bludgeoned to death with a crowbar by the Joker in the classic “Death In The Family” storyline from 1988. Which means if Jason Todd’s version of Robin existed in the DC Cinematic Universe, then Dick accordingly must have also.
No date has been set as of yet for the film, but we do know that scripting duties are being handled by Bill Dubuque, who wrote the Ben Affleck starring “The Accountant” and is to be directed by Chris McKay, who recently delivered the fantastic “Lego Batman Movie”. This really is exciting news for DC fans, as it opens up the possibility for more varying characters from DC’s huge roster of heroes and villains, my personal favourite Robin was the aforementioned Jason Todd, who re-emerged from death’s cold embrace after being submerged in Ra’s Al Ghul’s life giving Lazarus Pit and became the scourge of Gotham’s underbelly as the violent masked vigilante Red Hood. If Nightwing is successful we may just end up getting a visit from that particular sociopathic guardian of the night.
The myth of Batman being a lone crusader against crime and injustice, popularised in more recent cinematic excursions, is far from the reality of everyone’s favourite cowled crime-fighter, Batman has always had a cadre of partners and fellow costumed combatants to rely upon.
In fact, Gotham City is almost overrun with willing aides and allies in his ongoing mission, Batgirl, Batwoman, Huntress, and Ragman, are just a few of the other heroes working alongside the Dark Knight to keep the city safe from the assorted maniacs and criminal organisations who plot the city’s downfall on a daily basis. Of course the most famous and loyal of the Caped Crusader’s partners against crime has always been a young plucky teenager, dressed in a red and green outfit, and named after a small passerine bird that originates from Europe.
Robin was created by Bob Kane, Bill Finger and Jerry Robinson in 1940, making his first appearance in Detective Comics #38. Though various characters have donned the mantle of Robin over the years, the original, longest running (and still most popular) of these is Dick Grayson. Grayson was originally a member of The Flying Graysons, a family of famous circus acrobats. His life as a crime-fighter begins on the night of his parents’ death, after a young Dick Grayson overhears two criminals attempting to extort money from the circus owner, the owner refuses, and in retaliation the criminals sabotage the trapeze wires resulting in his parents plummeting to their deaths, in front of Dick’s eyes (a close parallel to Batman’s own tragic origin)
In 1984 Dick left the role of Robin, all grown up he decided to go his own way and took on the secret identity of Nightwing, naming himself after the famous hero of Krypton’s Kandor city. Taking over the role of Batman’s sidekick was Jason Todd, a wayward youth who Batman takes under his wing to help stop the vicious cycle of crime that he feels Jason is heading for, if left alone to fend for himself.
Jason made his first appearance in Batman lore in Batman #357 in March 1983. Initially not well received by the fans (though he has always been a personal favourite of mine), he was a very different character to the well loved Dick Grayson. Moody, angst ridden Jason was ultimately murdered by the Joker in 1988’s Death In The Family storyline, after DC Comics opened up phone lines for a fan vote on whether the character should live or die. The result was close, but the votes for his death won by a very slim margin.
15 years later Jason was resurrected through R’as Al Ghul’s Lazarus pit, angered by his death at the hands of the Joker and that Batman (in Jason’s opinion) had failed to avenge him, he came back to Gotham as the violent and deadly vigilante Red Hood. Clashing with not just the criminals of Gotham but also Batman himself on several occasions, Jason continues to bring his own form of brutal punishment to the Supervillains of DC’s universe, and is now an extremely popular character amongst bat-fans.
Robin #3 is Tim Drake, who took over the role in Batman #436, published in August 1989. Tim was a child prodigy, a highly intelligent young man, who by the age of just 9, had managed to deduce the secret identities of both Batman and Robin. He petitioned both Nightwing and Batman to give him a chance to fill the role of Robin after the death of Jason Todd. In the beginning Batman is wary about taking on another partner after the death of his former ward, but eventually accepts him into the role. After Batman’s apparent death at the hands of Darkseid, Tim takes on a new identity as Red Robin, and not believing that his mentor has died, heads off in search of evidence to support his theory.
The current holder of the title Robin, is Batman’s biological son Damian, mothered by Talia al Ghul (daughter of foe R’as al Ghul). Damian’s first ever appearance was as a baby in the 1987 story, Son Of The Demon. He didn’t appear again until 2006 in Batman #655, introduced as Batman’s son Damian Wayne, it wasn’t until 2009 that he fully took up the role as Robin.
Other characters have also occasionally taken on the role of Batman’s iconic partner, though usually only temporarily or in non-canon stories, Carrie Kelly from Frank Miller’s fantastic 80’s Dark Knight Returns mini-series is probably the most fondly remembered of the part-time Robins (and it is rumoured she may play a part in next years Batman v Superman film, portrayed by actress Jena Malone).
To celebrate 75 years of the world’s most famous sidekick, DC Comics are releasing a hardcover anthology that collects some his greatest ever stories, which also includes his adventures as leader of Super-team, The Teen Titans. This tremendous tome is brought to you by some of the greatest artists and writers in comic-book history including the likes of, Bob Kane, Jerry Robinson, Dick Sprang, Chuck Dixon and Bill Finger amongst many, many more.
Robin The Boy Wonder: A Celebration Of Seventy Five Years, will be available to purchase from the 13th of May, weighing in at a respectable 400 pages.
Is Damian Wayne returning from the dead?…Batman has been grieving his son and former Robin for over a year now, after he was killed by ‘the Heretic’ in issue #8 of Batman inc, the Heretic is an adult clone of Damian created by his mother Talia al Ghul. Tomorrow marks the first issue of ‘Robin rises:Omega’ and the story continues in this month’s Batman and Robin. Damian Wayne has been a fan favourite since he was introduced into Batman lore in 2006, it wouldn’t be the first time that a Robin has returned from the dead, former Robin: Jason Todd aka Red Hood was resurrected in Ra’s al Ghuls Lazarus pit after being brutally murdered by the Joker in the Death in the family mini-series in 1988.
Welcome once more…
NUMBER 8 is: Red Hood.
The Red Hood, real name Jason Todd was originally the second Robin after Dick Grayson left the role to become Nightwing, his first appearance was in Batman#357 in March of 1983. Batman’s first encounter with the young Jason was when he caught him boosting the tyres off the Batmobile, impressed by his ingenuity and spirit and realising that if he left Jason to his own devices he would eventually end up as a criminal, Batman adopted and started to train Jason to be the new Robin. In 1988 during the four issue mini-series ‘Death in the Family’, Jason was captured, tortured and then killed by Batman’s arch nemesis the Joker. There have been two different versions of the resurrection of Jason, in the first he was brought back from the dead when Earth prime’s Superboy caused temporal rifts throughout the universe causing Jason to return from the dead. When DC comics recently rebooted their comic universe, this was changed to Jason being brought back to life by Talia al Ghul, using her father..Ras al Ghul’s Lazarus pit.
Jason joined a secret society of assassins called the All Caste, who trained him in assassination techniques and long forgotten combat styles, Jason ultimately left the All Caste and joined up with Starfire and Arsenal to form the team Red Hood and the Outlaws. Jason is a master of martial arts having been taught by the Batman and the All Caste, he carries an assortment of weapons including hand guns, knives and explosives. Unlike his mentor Batman, Jason does not share the same moral code and will do anything he deems necessary to get the job done.