Three whole years before be became Robin the Boy Wonder, Jason Todd was a wheelbarrow dribbling along the streets of Gotham City. No. Wait a minute! That's can't be right! Yet for the life of me, I'm sure that's what I saw in this rip roaring adventure created by James Tynion IV, and Jeremy Haun, Published by DC Comics, in November, 2013.

Using GENERAL terms, answer the following 4 questions about this STORY entitled 'Beckoning Dark'.
  • WHAT'S THE MAIN THRUST OF THIS TALE: 'Oi! You. Boy' says a sultry female assassin to a despondent Jason Todd. 'Take me to the Red Hood gang now' she continues, 'Or else I will pose very provocatively for no apparent reason whatsoever'.
  • ARE THE MAIN OBJECTIVES ACHIEVED: Yeah. I suppose they are. More or less. Despite some bandaged lunatic throwing a spanner in the works when the aforementioned meeting takes place.  
  • ANYTHING ELSE HAPPEN: We get to find out that Jay had a pal called Chris when he was a teenager. Heaven knows why though. He doesn't help him with his drug addled mother at all.
  • HOW DOES THIS STORY END: With a father and a daughter talking shop about the Untitled.

All in all, what is the most memorable SENTENCE OR CONVERSATION spoken in this issue?
I did love reading Jay's solemn soliloquy towards his mother at the start of this book, folks. Cause in many ways this poignant passage both defined the story ahead of it, as well as Jason's mind-set at the time of this telling.

'Can you hear me, Mom? Are you listening? It's me, Jason. It's getting really bad out there. It's already been a week and they haven't been able to put the power back on line. The city is a mess. And you know what that means for Park Row. I haven't seen a cop since it all started. They say they are waiting for the storm to hit, but that's not what it feels like. It feels like they are waiting for something crazy to happen. Something dangerous. They're waiting for all of us to kill each other'.

Ah! Bless his cotton socks.

What are the BEST bits about this issue?
(+) When I first saw that this issue was going to be drawn by someone other than Julius Gopez, I thought to myself, 'Bloody hell, DC! Can't you hold onto your artists? Pay them some more why don't ya! You've got the cash to splash'. However, when then I saw what Jeremy Haun managed to do on this book, I then surmised, 'I hope you've got this guy under contract, DC. He's good. Really good. Cause his artwork is both clear and stylish, without making the whole thing feel like "fill in" issue'. Good job, Haun.
(+) As I've alluded to up above, the stand out scene for me in this entire issue was the one where Jay spoke to his drug-induced Mum. I mean, you'd got to be a right cold hearted b*stard not to like that scene. Not only did it lend itself to pathos, but it also defined the more tender side of Jason's character too.
(+) Now without giving too much away, there were two 'special guest stars' seen in this issue (maybe three), which I both liked and disliked seeing at the same time. You see, on the one hand, both of these appearances made an awful lot of sense when you factor in what happened to Jason later on in his life. Whilst, on the other hand, seeing both of these characters did feel a mite exploitative in tone. As if their appearance was nothing more than a to set up an up and coming project, looming upon the horizon, hint-hint!
(+) Hey! Does anyone out there know who this Chris chap really is? I haven't a clue. And I've been reading Jason's exploits since he began. Hmmm. DC. What are you up to now then, huh?
(+) Alright. So let me get something straight. The basic premise behind this piece is that the Untitled wanted to cash-in on Gotham during 'Zero Year', thus prompting their nemesis -- who I do not wish to divulge for the sake of spoilers -- to stop them for reasons unknown. OK. Fair enough. Although I do wish this premise was garnished with some more girth.  

What are the WORST bits about this issue?
(-) Now I know this might sound like a total and utter nerdish thing to say, but wasn't it someone else who was trying to learn the whispering palm technique, and not the... coff-coff... special guest star seen in this issue? If I remember rightly, this plot-point was conveyed quite some time ago when Bruce returned after the 'Knightfall' saga. So when I see this coming up now, here, with a completely different set of characters, it just didn't feel quite right to me. It felt a bit too new-new. If you get my gist.

Choose TWO CHARACTERS out of this comic book, and then compare them to FRUIT.
A POMEGRANATE AS JASON TODD: Hey! Didn't Jay's head look a little like a pomegranate under that helmet? You know. Red on the outside and busy on the inside! No?  Oh! It must be just me then.

A CLOUDBERRY AS THAT BANDAGED LOON: Look at the picture of the cloudberry provided. Go on. Look at it. And tell me that it doesn't look like one of the most ugliest yet happiest fruits you've ever seen? What? No again? Bloody hell. I give up.

What QUOTE would be appropriate to sum-up this story?
'The only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future' -- Oscar Wilde

What SONG, THEME-TUNE, or MELODY, would complement this tale, as well as add and extra dimension to it by default?
THE THEME TUNE FROM 'X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST'. Listen. I know that this tune is about another comic book company's cast of characters, but yet again, if you think about it for a moment, folks, this story and this song both share a sentiment and a foreboding that's pretty on the money.

Believe it or not, my venture into serious comic book collecting all kicked off because of some confusion I had with an old issue of 'Batman' I bought.

'What's that?' I said to myself, with this said same comic in my hand. 'Jason Todd was originally an acrobat? Molded in the same vein as Dick Grayson before him?' I continued. 'Yeah', said Barry the store-clerk in turn. 'In the early eighties DC Comics decided to pass Dick onto the Teen Titans, paving the way for Jason to step into his shoes without too much fuss or bother'.

Honestly, dear reader. I'm not messing about. When Jason was first created, he was just a second-hand clone of his predecessor. He had the same costume. He had nigh on the same origin. Plus he had a very similar attitude too.

But then came alone Max Allen Collins in the late eighties, whom started to transform Jay into the Red Hooded character we all know and love today. Granted, some people might think that he shouldn't have bothered. Cause DC did kill him a year later with that 'phone in' stunt. Having said that, though, if Jason didn't die, would DC have brought him back in the way he is now?

Food for thought, isn't it my friends? Plus goes to show that nothing is fixed in the comic book universe. Not origins. Not attitudes. And not tones. Everything you'll read today, might one day be nothing more than an idea expanded upon by future generations.

Ohhh! Scary notion. Nuff said.

RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #25 RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #25 Reviewed by David Andrews on December 04, 2013 Rating: 5
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