The Curator of Schlock #240 by Jeff Shuster
Batman: Under the Red Hood
They killed Robin! How could they do that?
Batman Day may be September 15th, but it’s Batman Month here at The Museum of Schlock. I will be dressed as my favorite Batman villain, the Sewer King, a kind of evil version of Fagin from Oliver! Consider yourself at home! Consider yourself one of the family! We’ve taken to you so strong! It’s clear we’re going to get along—I’m sorry. I break out into song whenever I think of Oliver! Where was I? Something about Batman?
Tonight’s feature is 2010’s Batman: Under the Red Hood from director Brandon Vietti. It’s a cartoon as are the other Batman movies we’re featuring this month so if you were hoping for my input on that Batman Killing Superman movie, you’ll have to check back at another time. And while Batman: Under the Red Hood doesn’t feature Batman killing Superman, it does begin with the Joker (voiced by John DiMaggio) beating Robin to death with a crowbar.
This was inspired by that Death in the Family storyline back in the 80s. I remember that being a thing back in the day. How dare they kill off Robin? Then you find out it wasn’t Dick Grayson they killed off, but Jason Todd and nobody really liked Jason Todd, or so I’ve heard. I didn’t read comics growing up. I was too busy watching good American television like Diff’rent Strokes and Mr. Belvedere.
Ten years pass and Gotham is as much a cesspool as it’s always been. A man known as the Black Mask (voiced by Wade Williams) is running organized crime in Gotham City. He looks like a guy who had a Halloween mask super glued to his face in what I assume was a fraternity prank gone wrong. Black Mask controls the drug trade until another masked man shows up on the scene, the Red Hood (voiced by Jensen Ackles).
He offers the drug peddlers a deal. Work for the Red Hood instead of the Black Mask and give him forty percent. They just can’t sell drugs to schoolchildren. In exchange, he’ll offer them protection from the Black Mask and the Batman.
Batman (voiced by Bruce Greenwood) is teamed up with Nightwing (voiced by Neil Patrick Harris), the first Robin, Dick Grayson, not the second Robin, Jason Todd, who got murdered by the Joker at the start of the movie. I think some of Red Hood’s goons were stealing a killer robot from the Black Mask who was trying to smuggle it out of the country. Batman and Nightwing destroy the robot, start questioning the goons, but the goons get shot and killed by the Red Hood. As the turf war between the Red Hood and Black Mask escalates, Batman keeps investigating the mysterious Red Hood having a few altercations with him along the way. He seems to know a bit about Batman. He even calls him Bruce. Hmmmmmmmmm…
Later in the movie, Black Mask gets so desperate that he breaks the Joker out of Arkham Asylum to take care of the Red Hood for him.
That’s never a good idea, and Black Mask knows this, but what choice does he have? It all comes to a head, but I’m not going to give away the twist ending. Tune in next week—same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!
Jeffrey Shuster (episode 47, episode 102, episode 124, episode 131, and episode 284) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.