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Under The Red Hood Graphic Novel Review

Updated on January 16, 2013

Written by Judd Winick

Artwork by Doug Mahnke, Shane Davis, Paul Lee and Eric Battle

Released 2011 (Compiled from Batman magazine 617-618, 635-641, 645-650 and Batman Annual 25) Also a section from the Tim Sale and Jeph Loeb novel Hush which also featured The Red Hood.

Storyline

After taking control of Gotham City's underworld, The Black Mask's operation comes under attack from a mystery assailant calling himself The Red Hood. When Batman becomes aware of this new threat to his home, he is obliged to deal with this new threat. But is there something more to this new super villain than meets the eye and what is behind his strange methodology?

My View

The story opens with Batman and an unknown opponent kicking ten bells out of each other on the roof tops of Gotham City. Batman's adversary manages to relieve The Caped Crusader of his cowl, and in return, The Red Hood removes his mask. As it drops to the floor, Batman is shocked as he obviously knows who this new masked threat is.

We then track back to 5 weeks earlier and Bruce Wayne is dwelling on the memories of lost associates, meanwhile The Red Hood is making his first appearance. He serves up the heads of the lieutenants of some of Gotham's main drug dealers to their bosses and requests their allegiance. At first this just serves as an irritation to The Black Mask who has taken over as The Crime Lord of Gotham, but as The Red Hood slowly recruits more and more of Gotham's scum he becomes a major threat.

Soon after this, Batman has his first meeting with the Red Hood. He is joined in this first encounter with Nightwing, Dick Grayson, the first Robin. Quickly Batman notices that this newcomer is different. His fighting skills are phenomenal, he moves as though everything is just happening naturally, as if he doesn't have to think. His weapons are on a par with Batman's, and he uses them like they are a part of his own body.

Central to the story is an encounter The Red Hood has with The Joker. The Red Hood violently attacks The Joker with a crow bar leaving him barely alive. From this point on we are taken a strange set of meetings with various superheroes. Batman meets with Zatanna (The wielder of the mystical arts) Green Arrow and Superman. All are questioned about their knowledge and experience of dying and returning. Why does he need this information?

As Batman struggles to uncover the mystery of The Red Hood, The Black Mask loses his grip on the city and The Red Hood seems to be cleaning up Gotham in his own way, does Gotham need Batman? And where is The joker?

Batman, Under The Red Hood is a fantastic collection of comics all coming together to produce a super speed story that makes you turn the page again and again. Judd Winick delivers a fantastic story with fluid character interaction and hard hitting dialogue. As with any collaboration there is a mixture of artwork within the Novel, but the differences are minute. The artists have been immaculately chosen to compliment each other. Especially in the case of the Batman images, his movement mirrors in all of the chapters and the close ups of the head and shoulder shots all give you that split personality effect, that we should get after we have looked at Bruce.

All throughout the Novel Winick keeps true to Batman's true 'super' power, his second to none detective skills. We get the feeling that the identity of The Red Hood may not be as secret as it first seems, but every minute detail has to be struck off before the final unmasking can be believed.

A fantastically written and drawn book, well worth the read, and an explosion of an ending!

Enjoy!

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    • Kexul profile image

      Luke Falconberry 5 years ago from La Vergne, Tennessee

      I need to check this series out. I saw the movie adaptation and loved it even though I'm not a huge batman fan. I should track down a copy of the trade though!

    • gabrielthomas72 profile image
      Author

      gabrielthomas72 5 years ago from Shrewsbury, England

      Cheers for the comment Kexul! Ive seen the dvd and its pretty close to the book. But it's always good to have the artwork in your hands.

    • profile image

      AaronHubb89 4 years ago

      Red Hood is my favorite DC character.

    • gabrielthomas72 profile image
      Author

      gabrielthomas72 4 years ago from Shrewsbury, England

      @ AaronHubb89. Cheers for the comment! I loved the way this story introduced us to him and the way he delivered his pain on Batman. It would make a great story line for another incarnation on screen maybe?

    • profile image

      AaronHubb89 4 years ago

      @gabrielthomas72

      Yeah, if you've ever check out my hubs, you'll know that I'm a big Red Hood fan, almost half of them mention him in some way lol

    • Eric Mikols profile image

      Eric Mikols 4 years ago from New England

      I just read this last month. I tried to read it went it was coming out monthly but I got lost in all of the Infinite Crisis books at the time. Having read it in one completion, it's actually a lot better than I thought it would be. I still think the animated movie did a better job at keeping it focused but this was one of the better Batman collections I've read.

      Nice Hub.

    • gabrielthomas72 profile image
      Author

      gabrielthomas72 4 years ago from Shrewsbury, England

      I saw the film before the reading the book, my kids bought it for me. Loved both. Cheers for the comment!

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