bookish_ari's review

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adventurous mysterious medium-paced

4.75

lewislikesbooks's review

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adventurous emotional mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? N/A

4.25

captwinghead's review

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4.0

A pretty good collection of Batman comics. Considering I read #357 through to here, I can only imagine how confused Batman readers were back in the 80s. They retconned things that were settled less than 50 issues previous to these and it's really odd. Most things were changed to add more conflict.

This collection chronicles Jason Todd's retconned introduction. When Batsy met him in issue #357, he was Jason Todd, the acrobat and son of the "Flying Todds". His parents were killed by Killer Croc and he went to stay with Bruce. He had red hair which he later dyed to put on a costume and fight crime with Batman. They did everything to avoid calling him "Robin", but Bruce slipped up a few times and eventually Dick drops by to tell them it's silly for them not to just call him Robin. Dick willingly hands over the costume.

After the retcon, Jason Todd is a street kid Bruce finds trying to boost the wheels off of the batmobile. He has black hair, he's been living alone for a long time after his mother died of a drug overdose and his father was killed by Two Face, who he worked for. Bruce sends him to a "school" run by a woman who uses street kids to commit crimes. He helps Batman close the school down and Bruce agrees to train him to be Robin. In the retcon, Jason is pretty much Dick's complete opposite. Adding conflict.

In the retcon, Dick was fired after the Joker shot him and Bruce suddenly(?) felt guilty about having a child for a partner. Dick was 19 at the time (I swear, the ages for Dick and Jason shift all the time). He leaves the manor, goes to college, fails at college and starts leading the Teen Titans. In the retcon, Robin was taken from him. Adding conflict.

When Dick confronts Bruce about hiring another child sidekick, Bruce tries to give the run around before ultimately admitting that he missed Dick. Which, y'know, I'd empathize with him for if he hadn't been the one that fired Dick. It's a great scene though.

Overall, pretty solid collection. Nowhere near as weighed down by unnecessary romantic conflict like the issues before it and I loved seeing Jason's joy at being Robin.

abhi_thelegend's review

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3.0

Batman and Robin stories and adventures, you find out more about Robin as a character and how Batman and him met, it’s just fun stories with a more classic art vibe that I really liked!

libra17's review

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5.0

I bought this collection purely because I wanted to actually read Jason Todd's origin story. I've heard so much about it - from other fans, as references in other comics, and in fanworks - that I felt I was doing myself a disservice by not actually reading it myself. That being said, I can better understand why some fans were upset upon the original introduction of Jason as Robin. Bruce's stated reason for firing Dick as Robin was that it was simply too dangerous to be a child vigilante (despite the fact that he was 19 when the Joker shot him in "Did Robin Die Tonight?"), and then two issues later he's offering a random kid who's significantly younger than Dick and has little/no training a cape? I mean, I like Jason - he's one of my favorite characters - and that made me angry. And I have the benefit of several decades worth of hindsight and the knowledge that he will grow to be an awesome character! So, I definitely got a better understanding of fan reactions to the first two Robins and the transition from Robin I to Robin II out of this volume.

While I liked the other stories that were included here, my hands down favorite was "White Gold and Truth," the second to last story in the volume, where Dick returns to Gotham as Nightwing to confront Bruce about Jason being Robin. It had great interaction between Dick and Bruce, but more than that I loved the interaction between Dick and Jason. I've heard it said that one of the reasons Jason as Robin was a base breaker was because Dick never accepted Jason having the mantle. This story proves that completely wrong. Dick gives Jason his old Robin costume, his phone number and invites Jason to reach out to him, then they bond by busting a illegal drug lab together. The acceptance of the Robin mantle passing from one to the next could not be clearer, and they panels on which these take place beautifully show how the end of one era has been accepted and the dawn of another era has been celebrated by the participants themselves.

Just for the three stories that I really wanted to read - "Did Robin Die Tonight?," "Just Another Kid on Crime Alley!," and "White Gold and Truth" - Second Chances would have been worth the buy. The other stories included, especially the ones showing some of Jason's run as Robin, just added to my enjoyment of the collection. This is a collection that I am happy to have purchased, and it is one that I would recommend or gift to a comic reader or Jason Todd fan.

nickpalmieri's review

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4.0

A fun collection. For those interested in the origins of Jason Todd as Robin and some development just before his descent/demise, this is the book to read. There are 12 stories total here, 8 of which are written by Max Allan Collins. These chapters are fun escapism, but for the most part nothing too memorable. His four issues that establish Jason make up a nice arc that foreshadows some later events. I enjoyed those the most compared to his smaller adventures. The three issues near the end of the book by Jim Starlin and Jim Aparo are where the real quality kicks in. Starlin's writing is much darker and more dramatic, and overall much closer to what modern readers associate with Batman. The first of his issues is a great stand-alone tale that gets picked up again a few issues after this collection ends; the second is unfortunately a tie-in to an event, so despite being a fun read, the plot doesn't stand up well on its own; and the third issue may waste a few pages going over events we saw earlier in the book, but it's mostly a great confrontation between Dick/Jason/Bruce. It's a shame that each of these stories are extremely enjoyable, but with a caveat. Hopefully DC will release another book collecting the issues between this and A Death in the Family, where Starlin really hits his stride! But for now, this is an enjoyable nugget for those looking for some Jason-as-Robin tales.

If you like the Collins stories, I also recommend "Legends of the Dark Knigt: Alan Davis," and if you liked the Starlin stories, check out "A Death in the Family" and "The Cult!"

saoirseak's review

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5.0

This collection contains one of my favourite Batman stories of all time.

No, I'm not talking about Jason Todd's origin story, or the issue where Nightwing confronts Batman about his hypocrisy in firing one sidekick and immediately finding another.

I'm talking about Batman #412, where Bruce and Jason fight a punk mime.

...Okay, in all seriousness though, I love most of the stories in this collection. Jason Todd is my favourite Robin, and while I love some of the stories that have been told about him after his death/resurrection, these original Jason-Robin stories get to the heart of the character. I've spent a lot of time frustrated at more recent retcons (and people only familiar with those retcons) which depict Jason as a violent thug who was always destined for evil. It's nice to see these stories back in print as a counter to that sort of thing.

My one complaint is that issue 414 (a dark, violent Batman solo adventure, drastically different in tone to the stories around it) was included in the collection while issues 424-425 (crucial Jason-Todd-as-Robin reading material) were not. If you like this book, seek out those two issues!
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