My question about Red Hood’s current origin status is the worst thing I’ve ever typed.

§ June 27th, 2018 § Filed under cartoons § 5 Comments

I’ve been taking it easy of late, spending my nights watching movies and not thinking about work, health issues, the world in general…you know, this “relaxing” I’ve heard so much about. About a week or so ago I borrowed the animated Batman: Ninja movie from Netflix, which wasn’t very good…it was like having to watch the cut scenes for a video game you weren’t able to play, plus the film was afflicted by a particularly screechy Joker that seemed to occupy 175% of the movie’s runtime. But that got me to pull out some of the previous DC direct-to-home-video animated features that I own and give them a rewatch.

Well, okay, this current spate of rewatches really started with an initial viewing of the new Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay movie, the latest in DC’s “R” rated cartoons for the kiddies. It was…better than I expected it to be, actually. Plenty of action and humor and a surprising callback to the Flashpoint cartoon (which kicked off DC’s current “animated universe” continuity)…it certainly keeps your interest as everyone chases after the story’s MacGuffin (the “Get Out of Hell” card from Gail Simone’s Secret Six run. As I sort of referred to on Twitter a bit ago, the superpowered community in the DC universe is likely aware of concrete evidence of the existence of an afterlife, just from the course of doing their usual business. So, for most of the characters in this film, “Hell” is a very real thing they are desperately trying to avoid, adding an extra layer of…well, dread, I guess, to the proceedings. Anyway, a pretty good film that I’m sure Mom or Dad just threw into the DVD player for Little Billy to watch, resulting in quite the shock.

Hell to Pay has the usual trailers and “sneak peeks” for upcoming DC cartoons, including a new adaptation of “The Death of Superman” (I discussed their previous go at it here). Well, I have a specific complaint about it I’ll make a little farther down this post, but really, DC, you can do better than this:

The next movie I watched was Superman Unbound, the adaptation of that Geoff Johns/Gary Frank Brainiac story. Another good one, I thought…this precedes DC’s animated universe continuity, and I seem to recall saying somewhere or ‘nother at the time that it was a shame the film was setting up a sequel that would probably never come. It also throws in the Clark/Lois romance that 1) establishes that Lois totally knows that Clark is Superman, and 2) ends with Clark’s proposal to Lois, which, again, won’t be followed up on in anything. Probably some folks coming to this movie cold are thrown off by this sudden change in the status quo that is for the most part not reflected in any of the other films. Or just as probably, don’t care, and leave it to big goofs like me who think about things like this too much. Aside from all that…a big, bruising Brainiac that can physically go toe-to-toe with Superman still seems a bit weird to me, but remains an interesting take on the character, differentiating him enough from Lex Luthor so that he’s just not “the smart guy from space” where Lex is “the smart guy from Earth.” My animated Brainiac preference remains the one from the Superman: The Animated Series, however.

Followed that up with a couple of Batman-specific films…Batman: Under the Red Hood gives us, well, the Red Hood, a reborn Jason Todd who comes back under circumstances a lot less Big-Event Heavy than the ones in the original comics. Is Infinite Crisis/Earth-Prime Superboy still the catalyst for Red Hood’s return in post-Flashpoint continuity? Seems like it shouldn’t be. And yes, I feel shame for even wording that question. Aside from all that, I enjoyed John DiMaggio’s deep-voiced Joker…still a maniac, but a more controlled, dangerous maniac, as well as Wade Williams as the entirely-contrasting Black Mask, histrionic and entirely bonkers. The film ends on a remarkably melancholy note, as Todd’s initial venture as Robin the Boy Wonder is recalled. A very downbeat but effective film.

Son of Batman was the next I watched, introducing Damian Wayne to the new animated continuity. I…don’t really have much to say about it, aside from it doing a good job showing why this character was so divisive for comic fans at the start, and progressing this new Robin into a character you want to see more from at the end. And you do see more of him, since as part of the Animated Universe, Damian will pop again…

…such as in Justice League Versus Teen Titans, which I’m currently in the middle of rewatching. Aside from the “Old Comic Fan” disease I’m experiencing due to the incongruity of Cyborg being in the Justice League, and his place in the Titans being taken by the newest iteration of the Blue Beetle, it’s been a fun film. One thing watching this film reminded me of, however, was Superman’s post-New 52 reworked costume that the Animated Universe is using:

It…it just doesn’t look good. I mean, I guess I can live with it, and now that Superman’s costume is now about 99% back to its usual look in the comics, hopefully these cartoons will follow suit. Alas, not in time to keep this costume about of that Death of Superman movie (which the trailer shows Clark running into action and stripping off his shirt to reveal the Superman getup…even though the collar should have clearly been sticking out from underneath his clothing). Ah well, what can you do.

Not sure what I’m going to watch next…there’s that one Batman film with Batwoman, which I know I saw but don’t entirely recall. Or there’s the Justice League: Throne of Atlantis, which I seem to remember being fairly slight as these films go, and not caring for it much. Maybe time for a second try? We’ll see.

So that’s what I’ve been doing, instead of blogging…totally being a couch potato. Sometimes, just for the sake of keeping one’s head on straight, that’s just what you gotta do, so please don’t judge too harshly.

Back soon with more stuff. Thanks for reading, pals.

5 Responses to “My question about Red Hood’s current origin status is the worst thing I’ve ever typed.”

  • Ben says:

    I looked into how the New 52 was framing Jason’s return to the land of the living awhile back when I was annotating Morrison’s Batman run. It seems DC were talking up the Talia/Lazarus Pit angle as the means of his return (which I think does happen in Winick’s story, just after the Superboy retcon punch thing?) and quietly glossing over the Superboy Prime stuff.

    The stuff I wrote at the time says this is addressed at least a little bit in Red Hood & The Outlaws #0, but I don’t own that book now, nor do I remember anything about it. That seems like it might be a good place for someone to check tho?

  • Daniel T says:

    Lazarus Pit is definitely the resurrection means post-Flashpoint, as confirmed in Red Hood and the Outlaws Rebirth #1.

  • Thom H. says:

    Brainiac from Superman: TAS is also my favorite. If you’re looking for suggestions, you should rewatch his team-up with Luthor in Justice League Unlimited. So good.

  • Turan, Emissary of the Fly World says:

    Hulu subscribers may want to know that it recently added a bunch of DC animated movies, including JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK (you know, Zatanna’s gimmick of saying her spells backwards does not really work outside of comics; when you actually hear the spells, they seem to be mere gibberish, and might as well be anything).

  • John says:

    Maybe that wasn’t the “The Death of Superman” trailer you were watching, but a comedy about a lovable porpoise named Purpose who divers are terrified of until they realize he’s harmless called “It’s Only Purpose!”