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Non-Review Review: Batman – Under the Red Hood

This post is part of the DCAU fortnight, a series of articles looking at the Warner Brothers animations featuring DC’s iconic selection of characters. This is one of the “stand-alone” animated movies produced by the creative team that gave us the television shows. 

You did it! You found a way to win and everybody still loses!

– The Joker

The story of Batman, boiled down to its most essential elements, is a tragedy. He’s a character defined by hurt and loss – the suffering and failures he has endured while fighting simply to stay alive in an uncertain world. The reason that the animated Batman: Under the Red Hood works so well is because it manages to capture that observation perfectly in its relatively tight runtime. Over the course of the movie, Batman has several of his rather glaring failures touted out in front of him and – what’s more – faces the possibility that he may himself end up obsolete.

The joke’s on Batman…

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Batman: A Death in the Family

This post is part of the DCAU fortnight, a series of articles looking at the Warner Brothers animations featuring DC’s iconic selection of characters. Later on today, I’ll be taking a look at the animated movie Batman: Under the Red Hood, so I thought I might take a look at one of the stories which inspired it.

A Death in the Family holds something of a sacred spot in the line-up of classic Batman stories. It was the moment that Batman failed – and he failed monumentally. The image of Batman cradling a bloody and bruised Robin in his arms is almost iconic, recognisable to any pop culture aficionado. However, the story itself really isn’t anything too spectacular – it’s as if writer Jim Starlin was trying to combine the adventurous take on Batman from the seventies with the more grim-and-gritty crusader of the late eighties, with a frankly inexplicable desire to dabble in global politics. Frankly, despite the power of the rich imagery provided by Jim Aparo, the story is more than just a little bit weak, and certainly not strong enough to support the label of “classic” that is applied so frequently to the story.

Batman will be carrying this with him for quite some time...

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