Since these two series have been so entwined during ‘Death Of the Family’ and are both written by Scott Lobdell, it seemed prudent to combine them in one review. After how useless the Teen Titans have appeared without Red Robin to lead them, the arrival of Arsenal and Starfire seems to have snapped them out of it a bit. After a rocky start to this team-up, the heroes face mobs of Gotham residents Joker gassed and crazed. Roy Harper takes charge to the chagrin of Wonder Girl, splitting them into teams. Harper takes Bunker to hold off the swarming hordes of maniacs while the rest find the gas canisters in the hopes of manufacturing an antidote.
The Red Hood book is told through Roy’s perspective and his impressions of these Titans. His influence on Bunker proves to be positive. While he sneers at the superpowered (after all, he only carries a bow) he admits to being impressed by Kid Flash and Wonder Girl. Clearly, the kids have skills but they clearly need a leader.
There is some major foreshadowing with brief, yet totally nonsensical appearances by Hugo Strange and Deathstroke. We are introduced to Raven in the series as well as her father, the demon Trigon. It looks like we are going to get some classic Titans match-ups coming soon. Also seen are the mysterious Lance and a feral agent of Basilisk. But, really, who cares? The first four are cool and all but no one is into this whole Amanda Waller angle. Besides, this is a Batman event. Stay on point. The two most important and interesting characters of these respective books are lying unconscious in a basement.
In Teen Titans, the latest former Robins (no matter what DC editorial says) are awoken to two figures with bags over their heads that they are told are each of their estranged fathers. The Joker tells the Reds to fight to the death. The winner’s father lives. This is a great battle. Red Robin, Tim Drake, is the ex-Robin most like Batman. He is the next great detective and the smartest of the sidekicks. Jason Todd is the ex-Boy Wonder with the best blend of strength, training, and resolve. Both young men acknowledge those strengths and have that mutual admiration. When Drake sees through the ruse, Red Hood takes the opportunity to shoot the Joker down. Drake even thinks that having someone willing to kill on the team could be a necessary evil. Certainly, this particular pragmatism is rare in the Bat Family.
Mr. J, however, had replaced his body with an identical gas bag that incapacitates the Reds. He drags them down into what one would assume is the Batcave and brandishes two metal serving lids. My theory that Alfred’s head was on the platter would seem to take a hit here. It does add a nice chunk of intrigue to the conclusion in Batman #17.