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COMIC REVIEW: 2006 BATMAN ANNUAL
Author: John Fallavollita
Sunday, March 5, 2006

Finally, after all the hype, the full story behind Jason Todd’s resurrection is revealed. I’ve been both critical and praising of the current Batman run by Winnick and pals, but this one is a home run.

I know a lot of people on the internet don’t like Winnick’s work. At this point if anyone rags on Winnick he should just hand them this issue and say “’nuff said”. It even managed to validate the last issue of Batman a little bit. Not a lot mind you, but if this annual came out before the last Batman the dialog of that last issue would have been less clunky.

It should be no mystery that I’m into simple covers that evoke a response when it comes to Batman. This cover is a replica of Batman holding Jason Todd’s body from “A Death in the Family” except now it’s Batman holding Jason Todd’s body as the Red Hood. It’s really the only cover that could work for this issue. It’s the only cover that could work for even the idea of this issue. It’s pulled off with a nice subtlety and tone and starts the book off right.

Inside the book the art is just as solid. Gone are the murky “The Cure Video” panels of the regular series. In its place is some of the best coloring I’ve seen recently in any book on the shelves. And that Jim Aparo page is in there, just like they promised and it’s worked in perfectly. There’s some added caption dialog over the Aparo page that I wish wasn’t there, but it does fit and keeps the congruency of the story flowing.

So, how DID Jason come back? Well, if you’re not versed in INFINITE CRISIS it’ll make no sense. If you’re up on all things IC it fits nicely in with all of the other effects the DC Universe is suffering. In a nutshell, the reality in which Jason Todd did not die is forced onto the real world by Superboy of a parallel Earth. Instead of just popping up an alternate version of Jason, the reality where he never died seeps into his body, resurrecting him. Yes, while he’s in his coffin. Yes, he has to claw his way out. Yes it’s as messy as it sounds. The catch: he’s basically a walking vegetable. He’s found by Talia Al Ghul (Ras Al Ghul’s daughter) and she takes him on as a pet project, eventually kicking him into a Lazarus Pit.

Jason emerged form the Lazarus Pit the pillar of happiness and mental balance that he is today and we see the infamous place in Hush where Winnick asks “Is there a spot in the fight where Clayface and Jason could have switched places?” and yup, apparently there was.

What is there to like about this Annual? Pretty much everything. Good story, art, fantastic coloring, the damn cool insertion of the unused “Death in the Family” page. Again, this book should be mailed to every Winnick hater as proof that the guy has work for a reason.

So what is there to complain about? (Come on, I’ve got to complain about something.) The price. Five bucks for a comic book? $6.75 in Canada? That one hurt. 38 pages of content and 10 pages of ads (not counting the inside covers) for essentially the same price that you can sneak out a quick lunch for. Oh man, that’s painful….

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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