“Starting or Ending”
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist: Dexter Soy, Trevor Hairsine, Ryan Winn, Phil Hester, Ande Parks, Veronica Gandini, Rain Beredo, Madpencil Studio
“Starting or Ending” is a very good title, as this issue deals with commencement as it’s main theme. It’s nice to see that some things don’t change. If you talk smack at Batman, he will kick you in the face. Or, if you go against a strict deal he sets you, and kill someone in a very public way, he’ll kick you harder than anyone else. I agree that a kick hard enough to shatter the Red Hood must be harder than any kick he’s given the Joker – like Jason said in this issue. That’s how angered and disappointed Batman must be. That, and he must have trained Jason to be able to take a kick like that too.
It’s a great choice, and change of tone Lobdell uses right at the beginning of the issue. The scene with Jason Todd as Robin could slot in to his personal timeline anywhere before A Death in the Family. Even with the return to Red Hood operating out of Gotham, Batman is enraged. It’s a great art choice by Soy to include small call backs in the negative spaces to Bruce Wayne and Jason eating and negotiating by the Batmobile, and another little callback to last issue when Batman saw Jason do the unthinkable. This is a terrific story showing us how quickly a close relationship can end.
While all of this is going on, the flying overhead base of the Outlaws is still falling. Bizarro and Artemis are doing what they can to stop it levelling the city, but it all seems like too much.
Jason Todd is beaten and broken, successful from getting his revenge, and on the run. His allies are indisposed, and Batman is coming. All seems dire for DC’s morally dubious hero and anything could happen in their annual edition in three weeks time!
Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment