Down to Clown [Jason Todd] Week 3: Batman #364-7, 'Tec #531-4

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The Jason Todd Book Club is back to give you the moment we’ve all been waiting for: Jason makes partner! On top of that, we get the first confrontation between Jason and the Joker! (Don’t make a habit of it, Jay!) Get ready for an appearance by Poison Ivy, the return of Alfred’s estranged daughter, a bad turn for our favorite commissioner, and the introduction of a brand new baddie named Chimera!

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As before, we’re on the lookout for Jason cameos!

Bird Sighting

The Titans! The Outsiders! The Fearsome Five! The brief appearance of one Jason Todd! It’s New Teen Titans #37!

Here are a few notes to catch you up on the context for this session:

Background

The Joker was last seen participating in the havoc from Detective Comics #526, which we read in Week 1. That’s the last time we saw Barbara Gordon, too. And it’s good she’s around: her dad has been under a lot of stress lately from Mayor Hill and Harvey Bullock…

Julia Pennyworth was introduced in arguably the greatest story of Gerry Conway’s run, 'Tec #501-502. Her appearance here is the first since that two-parter, and Doug Moench will make her a regular part of the cast.

Poison Ivy had fairly recently been a pain for Wayne in Conway’s Batman #339 - 344 (Sept. '81-Feb. '82).

Now on to this session: 2019-11-25T06:00:00Z2019-12-08T06:00:00Z

Week 3 Reading (Eight Issues)

Part I: Jason Todd, Circus Detective!

  1. Batman #364
  2. Detective Comics 531

Part II: The Jungle Joke!

  1. Batman #365
  2. Detective Comics #532
  3. Batman #366

Part III: Commissioner Coma Conclusion!

  1. Detective Comics #533

Part IV: Planting the Seeds!

  1. Batman #367
  2. Detective Comics #534

You won’t skip out on the reading this week, will you, Jay?
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Don’t feel beholden to answer the discussion questions in your response, but here they are:

Discussion Questions
  1. Jay may have run away to (re)join the circus, but then he makes some moves to gain Batman’s (and our) confidence. Which of his actions impressed you the most? Has he proven himself worthy of the domino mask?

  2. What did you think of the schemes of the Joker and Poison Ivy? Whose appearance did you enjoy more? What about Chimera or the four gangsters gunning for Gordon?

  3. How do you feel about Vicki’s characterization? Bullock’s character arc? The Barbara Gordon scenes?

  4. What do you think of the cover and/or interior art? Do you prefer blond Jason or dyed-hair Jason?

  5. We have some more Green Arrow backup stories in 'Tec. What did you think of them?

Jason needs a code name. Help him choose one!

  • Robyn
  • Jay
  • Red-Hooded Tanager
  • Thanksgiving Turkey
  • Crowbar

0 voters

No matter which moniker you choose, I think we can all agree that he needs to keep this costume, right?

2 Likes

Looking forward to getting into these issues! It’s funny, in retrospect, whenever I saw Waldo come in, I should have figured that The Joker would have something to do with it. Being a fan of the World’s Greatest Detective clearly doesn’t rub off on one. :sweat_smile:

1 Like

Well, I can’t promise that those stories are directly connected, but there is a whole lot of clowning going on this week. I can guarantee more Waldo.

1 Like

How is crowbar winning? We are giving him a nickname of which is a “device” that would kill him! At least thanksgiving turkey isn’t winning. Phew!

2 Likes

It really is sort of like calling Superman “Kryptonite Man.” Or calling Batman “Martha Boy.”

2 Likes

My Crowbar vote was a joke vote actually. :man_shrugging::stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

1 Like

His detective work was what impressed me the most in those issues. Seems he’s learned a lot already on that front.

The Joker’s scheme was typical of the character. Take over a country, draw Batman into his web and then close the trap on him all done in a somewhat campy style. Loved the “death trap” scenes here and the fact that it shows just how much chaos that Joker can cause and how he’s not unduly unhappy when things don’t go according to plan so long as he can cause chaos. His plan was big and attention grabbing, which seems to be his MO regardless of what caper he is planning or how deadly it is.

(I enjoyed seeing Jason getting a chance to help take down the Joker here. It was very satisfying to see that given all that happens later.)

Poison Ivy’s scheme was more subtle and a lot smoother than Joker’s. There was a lot more finesses to it and it was very calculated. I liked her scheme better than Joker’s but I am a bit biased since I like Ivy better.

As for the gangsters and Chimera they seem like the normal run of the mill types of criminals Batman would deal with on the regular before the costumed villains came into the picture. I did find the stories enjoyable for the call backs to those earlier times but they felt like less of a challenge for Batman in some ways.

Vicki’s characterization was fine. I like her moxie and she’s a tough as nails type of character, having said that though to be honest I really never liked the character all that much even back then. I know she’s a important love interest in Bruce Wayne’s history but I just never cared for it. I’m more of a Batman/Catwoman person myself to be honest.

Bullock’s character arc continues apace although I do agree with the Commish that he is being to stifling now that Jim is back. Bullock is one of my favorite side characters in Batman because of his character arc and like I said before seeing him transition from the asshole he was to who he becomes later has always fascinated me.

Barbara Gordon 's scenes were all great. I especially liked the part were she did some quick thinking and managed to get her father out of harms way despite the gas that was slowly rendering her unconscious.

Loved the cover and the art in all these issue. I like blond Jason more but I understand why he dyed his hair. I do wish he had stayed a blonde though if only because it would have made him stand out more from the other Robins, who all have black hair.

I enjoyed them a lot. I’m not a really big fan of GA but I do like these older stories.

1 Like