Batman and Robin #24 is the second issue in the latest three-issue arc. Written by Judd Winick, with art by Greg Tocchini, the issue lacks some of the finesse of the last issue.
We open with another flashback to Jason Todd as Robin, learning from Batman the most important skill they have: adaptability. When faced with a situation of the unknown, step up and take control. It leads right into the extraction team, known as the Menagerie, freeing Jason Todd.
He's upset. For starters, they won't tell him who helped him escape, they won't tell him why, and worst of all, they won't un-cuff him. The violence of the last issue continues, with Jason attacking the four of them with some deftly executed moves. The lack of information concerns Jason, so naturally, instead of trying to reason with them, he shoots them.
After the fight starts to go pear-shaped, the lion-headed villain grabs Jason and tells him they're supposed to bring him in alive, in case he couldn't tell by the wooden sword and rubber bullets. When Jason kicks him again, he amends it to alive, but broken. A batarang stops him, and Batman informs the Menagerie that Jason will be leaving with him and Robin. Jason says, in my favorite line, "Thank God. It's Batman and Robin."
Lionhead orders live ammunition and real weapons to be used in this fight. Batman commands Robin to hit them but not to let Jason get away. Jason admits to himself, and us, he knew they'd show up, but he didn't expect them to be fighting together.
Robin and Jason fight together, moving seamlessly as only Bat-family members can, taunting their enemies. Lionhead and Jason continue to tussle, when Lionhead gets covered in a green goo. Jason marvels that Dick didn't use his first shot at Jason. The second one is coming, but it's too slow. He stresses the difference between the those two and himself. It all comes back to Bruce, and his unwillingness to make that tough move, to kill. Jason doesn't have those limits, as he shows by shooting the reptile through the foot.
Lionhead begs him not to leave, because he has a call. On the other end of the line, a woman begins talking to Jason. She tells him to give himself up, or she's going to kill her. When Jason doesn't immediately understand, the woman clarifies. They're going to kill Scarlet.
After the call, Batman and Robin are walking through a factory, talking. According to Damian, Dick isn't taking this as seriously as he should be. In his humble opinion, they should drop Jason off on this woman's doorstep, rescue Scarlet and put her in juvie. They discuss Jason for a bit, about how he has the building wired, before he makes his entrance again, in full Red Hood gear.
This issue troubled me just a bit. There were moments I liked, but overall it felt like a letdown from the previous issue. No one loves Judd Winick writing Dick and Jason more than I do, but the issue seemed overpowered by the fight scene with the Menagerie. It didn't leave a lot of room for snappy dialogue. I don't know if the Menagerie are established characters, but I didn't really care for their use. I was happy to see the return of Scarlet and the characterization of Damian in this issue.
I have to say, I liked Guillem March's art a lot better in the last issue than Greg Tocchini's in this one. It isn't the cleanest art, and he seems to not be so great with drawing faces. The best panel was probably Red Hood reappearing, simply because Tocchini didn't have to draw his face. It's really line heavy, and perspectives seem really off.
I liked the writing a lot more than I liked the art, so…
Batman and Robin #24:
Reviewed by Melinda Hinman