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Author: John Fallavollita
Tuesday, January 31, 2006

“All They Do is Watch Us Kill” continues this month in BATMAN # 649. When we last left him, Batman was arriving to a fight with the Red Hood (Jason Todd, formerly Robin) and the Black Mask (Weird skeleton looking gangster guy who’s more funny than he has a right to be). Jason was left with a knife buried in his chest up to the hilt, and all of the appropriate “dying on the floor” side effects that come with said condition.

Now, I have to admit, they got me on this one. I knew that Jason would be around for a while (They have all but said he’s the new Nightwing). I also knew killing him off now would be kind of a waste after all of that build up. That being the case I figured that one of two things would happen. Judd Winnick would pull the old “Wow, good thing that huge knife in the sternum missed all of my major organs” bit, or reveal something supernatural about his character. I wasn’t liking either option. BATMAN is a comic book, sure, but it really is about people more than supernatural things. Even the “Monsters” (Clayface, Poison Ivy, Two-face) are people at the core. So I hate seeing supernatural things in Batman stories. Justice League stories with magic or other craziness that other heroes bring to the table I’m fine with, but not in Batman’s solo titles. But again, that’s just me.

All that being said, Winnick buttonhooked me. Kudos. The mask was pulled off the Red Hood to reveal…some bald guy! Yup, oldest trick in the book and he got me. Oh well. Turns out Red Hood wasn’t after Black Mask, but he was really into some “alone time” with (read: kicking the tar out of) The Joker in Crime Alley.

Bats arrives to have a throwdown with Jason, and we have our INFINITE CRISIS CROSSOVER! (Sorry had to do it.) If you’ve read IC #4 you know all about it. A chemical bomb in the form of Chemo (Yeah I don’t know who he is either) is dropped on Bludhaven, presumably leaving a LOT of dead and injured. Batman looks on in shock and the issue ends. The trouble is if you’ve read IC #4 you know that Nightwing isn’t dead, and if you haven’t it spoils one of the big “Holy Crap” moments of that book.

Jason Todd and The Joker’s dialogue is fantastic. The verbal quips (and the physical ones… ouch) are pretty darn funny. Also Jason sheds come light on The Joker’s “secret,” which is an interesting addition to the psychology of that character.

The INFINITE CRISIS Crossover. Whichever book you read first causes the other one to lose some impact.

What’s up with the art? Everyone looks like they dropped out of a Cure video. I can’t tell if it’s the inking or the penciling but even The Joker calls Jason “boychick” at one point and it fits!

Love this review? Hate it? John can be reached for comment at JOHNFAV@GMAIL.COM.

John really feels like he should write a bio for himself: He is a college drop-out with no formal training in literature or critiquing (he cites his mutilation of grammar as proof). He has written several short stories that have won no awards (nor are they published). He is currently agonizing over a graphic novel, which he hopes will break him onto the comics scene like this generation’s answer to Elvis. Now he’s pretty sure he knows why he never wrote a bio.


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