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


The Renegade Robins 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:


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?

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?


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:

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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.

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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!


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


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

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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.


His detective abilities were fun to see. I liked how he was a good detective but not good enough yet to get all the answers right. I thought that was a nice touch.

I like the Joker better when the only plan is to cause as much chaos as possible, but he was okay here. The plot certainly fit his character at the time, but I don’t think I’d want to be one of the first visitors at the new theme park.

I agree that Ivy was more enjoyable, and it was interest to see this old version of her where she’s more human than plant and her motivation isn’t environmental-revenge based.

Vicki is very generic, nothing about her really ever stood out for me. And I don’t think they even ever wrote her out of the scrpits…she just sort of faded away post-Crisis with just some cameos here and there. I mean, I don’t think we’ll be getting Greg Rucka on a Vicki Vale series anytime soon.

Bullock is awesome, though. I didn’t realize he had started out as more of an antagonist. I knew he had done something that he was atoning for, but never knew what, so it’s cool going back and seeing his full character arch. And I would check out a Harvey Bullock series!

Barbara was okay. It would have been nice to have some reference to her as Batgirl, but at least she showed some of that Barabara Gordon grit in keeping her dad safe.

I loved those last two Batman covers, the one for Joker’s Wild and the where Batman was buried in vines. I bet those really stood off the newsracks. The interior art was good, really good in some places. The only one that I didn’t like was the middle Joker issue. something with his jaw there was just unappealing to me. Um…not that I normally find his jaw appealing.

I like Jason’s hair color either way, but I understand why they moved past that, despite Morrison’s efforts to bring it back.

Not my favorite, but it seems hard to get a back-up right. I’ve never been a fan of the trick-arrow version of Green Arrow, though, so I guess I’m just not the audience for these.


Which of his actions impressed you the most? Has he proven himself worthy of the domino mask?

Definitely. I like the slow build we’ve gotten to that, dealing with Chimera, then getting that surprise drop on Joker, and finally working a full case to stop Poison Ivy. It felt earned.

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?

Joker’s was pretty fun – I was worried at first when I saw him in another country, because I was reminded of how they tried to do him in Death in the Family and…we’ll get to that when we get there, but I’ll say right now I think that’s absolutely the weakest part of that story. But no weird politics, just Joker wanting to make a themed murder theme park, which is perfectly on brand.

Poison Ivy was pretty good. I forgot who it was that mentioned it, but it felt appropriately clever and subtle as a counterbalance of Joker’s whoopie cushion of terror.

Chimera was an interesting idea, though I feel as a mystery there wasn’t a lot that made it unlikely it was anyone else. The gangsters were pretty cool – the focus on them reminded me a bit of a story I liked in the recently talked about Batman Black & White series over at World of Bats book club (plug plug!).

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

This is definitely the most interesting I’ve found Vicki in…well, damn near ever. Sure she still had a lot of the “woe is me Bruce is ghosting me” stuff, but she still held on her own as a rough and tumble reporter and she had a fun dynamic with Batman himself. This is the first time I really feel like they’ve capitalized on the whole “Vicki is Batman’s Lois Lane” idea.

Bullock had a good character turn, I think. I was surprised at how much of an a-hole he was initially, but I think what happened with Gordon really showed his true colors at the end, and from that moment on he feels more like the A-Hole with a Heart of Gold we know and love him as.

I really liked the Barbara Gordon scenes. The flashbacks to her as a kid were really well done and really showcased what make her and Jim shine. Part of me wishes that she didn’t succumb to the gas and we got to see a Batman/Batgirl team-up, but still pretty cool how she was able to help save the day.

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

The art in both books are really solid and I think fit both books very well. Don Newton feels like a good, solid superhero story, and Gene Colan has such a great mood to his art that feels suited for a more detective focused book.

That said…blond? I thought he was ginger the whole time. Isn’t he ginger? Am I taking crazy pills? Anyway, I would have prefered him staying…whatever, not brunette. I think it would have helped make him feel like his own take on the character of Robin (and yes, he totally should have kept that costume he had at the end).

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

Eh, they’re okay. Honestly, at this point I kind of skim them, they’re really not that interesting. What’s funny is the Werewolves biker gang we see in the last couple of installments I’m pretty sure actually do come back in Benjamin Percy’s Pre-Rebirth arc of Green Arrow. I think they actually turned into werewolves too and made Ollie into a werewolf. That book…got hella weird before Rebirth straightened things out.

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Hey! There’s already a plug for your club in the original post! Don’t get greedy! :stuck_out_tongue:

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