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BOOK REVIEW:
Under The Hood, Vol. 2

Author: Bill Ramey
Saturday, December 2, 2006

SYNOPSIS FROM DC COMICS:
"Collecting the stories of the Red Hood from BATMAN #645-650 and BATMAN ANNUAL #1! Jason Todd has seemingly come back from the dead as Gotham's newest vigilante, and his violent ways pit him against the Dark Knight — but not before Jason takes hostage the very person responsible for his death: The Joker!"

BATMAN: UNDER THE HOOD, Volume 2 is a TPB that collects the stories from BATMAN #s 645-650. Naturally, it picks up where Volume 1 left off and continues the story of the return of Robin II, Jason Todd.

And when I say return, I don’t mean from a trip. I mean return from the dead.

As all Batman fans know, Jason Todd was killed by The Joker 20 some-odd years ago during the “Death in the Family” storyline in BATMAN. In Volume 1, we encounter a new, violent vigilante in Gotham known as The Red Hood. Eventually, we learn that under this Red Hood is non other than Jason Todd, alive, kicking --and killing -- criminal ass in Gotham.

UNDER THE HOOD, Volume 2 offers readers two things. One, the “final” confrontation between The Batman and Jason. And two, we find out exactly how young Mr. Todd returned from the grave. It must be noted that the latter turn of events is a result of what is known as “The Crisis” and is detailed in the INFINITE CRISIS miniseries by DC Comics. So you may want to check that out in TPB form if you haven’t already.

Anyway, back to The Bat…

Like Volume 1, I found that I actually enjoyed UNDER THE HOOD, Volume 2 much to my surprise. As I’ve noted previously, when I heard that Jason Todd was being brought back, I thought it was nothing more than a stunt orchestrated by DC. However, I was proven wrong because I found the story very well written and an excellent read.

I’m not one to reveal important plot points and spoil stories for readers, but some highlights I’ll make note of are: Jason “kidnapping” The Joker with ulterior motives in mind…The Red Hood continuing his attack on The Black Mask’s operations…flashbacks that show us more about the father/son relationship between Bruce and Jason as well as Jason’s character flaw that ultimately got him killed…and, why The Batman refuses to take out The Joker once and for all.

This TPB comes “Recommended” to you all by yours truly. Good writing and nice artwork found here. I was convinced that it was going to suck and it certainly does not.

UNDER THE HOOD, Volume 2 is written by Judd Winick with pencils handled by Doug Mahnke, Shane Davis, and Eric Battle. Covers were provided by Jock and Shane Davis.

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