Batman Knightcast 18: BATMAN #409

Ryan Daly and Chris Franklin review BATMAN #409, continuing the post-Crisis origin Jason Todd, the second Boy Wonder. Then, listener feedback from part 1 of “Batman Year Two”. If none of that sounds very interesting to you, stay for the song at the end.

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Music from the Batman and Batman Returns original motion picture soundtracks by Danny Elfman. Additional music: “Take Me Home Tonight” by Eddie Money.

Thanks for listening!





28 responses to “Batman Knightcast 18: BATMAN #409

  1. I’m going to be much more generous than this comic deserves and say maybe they were alluding to Robin on the cover with the yellow being the same as his cape.

  2. Fellas,
    Welcome back (again)!.

    For reasons I can’t explain, I was a fan of Jason Todd. Maybe because when I started reading Batman the Dick Grayson Robin was more a Titan than a partner of Batman, and here was an opportunity to see a nascent, rough-around-the-edges Robin come of age. I had just missed the pre-crisis JT/Robin, in fact.

    But I agree with you both, his origin is a total mess. I know I’m armchair quarterbacking, but had the post-Batman/Robin series started with a revised Robin learning the ropes, while filling in his backstory as the series progressed. But what can you do?

    As to what I’m perceiving as an apology for covering work that isn’t enjoyable, don’t sweat it so much. You’re running a critique on work that isn’t always good. I get the network’s tenet is “Find your joy,” but your show’s premise will run against that. I fear CFranks will have an aneurism trying to find some joy when Bruce punches Dick for the first of a million times.

    Now for the good – you guys are doing a stellar job. And yes, Rob Kelly is a conspirator in the murder of a minor. And you know what? He’d do it again.

  3. I never realized how much Post-Crisis Jason Todd’s origin resembled “The Kid’s” from Dick Tracy… But it makes sense when you remember that Max Allan Collins wrote the Dick Tracy comic strip from 1977 to 1993.

    P.S. Chris, what did I say about calling comics “floppies.” If you’re going to use that word, Ryan must bring out THE WHIP.*

    (*You’re lucky I don’t mean Selina’s Whip, from Year One)

  4. So happy this show is back!

    I could listen to Chris do his Comic Book Guy (more accurately Baseball Card Guy) voice all day.

    I agree that the cover is a bit awkward, I like the bright yellow background and the lack of copy. Sort of poster-ish, if you can forget the old lady in the corner.

    BTW, why was the book subtitled “The New Adventures” during this run? It’s not like the book featured reprints leading up to this or anything. Were readers concerned about this?

    Ryan, I think I returned Chris to you in better condition than I found him. You’re welcome. Looking very forward to this show returning to daily episodes!

  5. I started reading Batman comics in late 83 when Jason Todd had been established as Robin. I liked the kid. Maybe it had something to do with his similarity to Dick but Jason was a decent Robin. The books had a fun Silver Age Batman 66 feel to it. I also remember the battle between Nocturna and Batman over the custody of Jason. I felt for the kid. After Year One not so much. They just randomly changed his origin without much explanation doing a whole 180 on the character making this likeable kid into a street punk. This was the down turn for Jason. For me the character’s fate was all but sealed after this change. He became extremely unlikable and felt no empathy for the character. Now I was not one of the fans who called and voted for the kids death. That whole thing was morbid and unnecessary because at this point we knew they were going to dump the character. Now they didn’t have to have him walk off into the sunset with his mom but that brutal beating and the explosion was too much. All because people wanted a lone Dark Knight vigilante. Of course that only lasted maybe two years until Tim Drake came along. I too like Tim better then Jason but that no reason to end the character so violently. Yes it gave Batman something to brood about but he got a new Robin any way! But I must say I would take post year one Jason over Damien any day!! Great show guys!

    1. Absolutely, Marc says everything I’d want to about the two Jasons. And much as I liked Tim, given Jason’s ending the fact that Batman ever accepted another child partner makes him seem the world’s most irresponsible person – I’d argue this is the point at which the Batman we knew became a nutter. Tim can make all the arguments he wants about Batman needing a Robin, but he may as well have written a suicide note.

      As for this issue it was, to use an old British expression, ‘Seven kinds o’sh*te’.

  6. Hey! You said Power of Shazam! But we got no thunderclap! Ryan, you have spoiled us with your high production values!
    1. Ross Andru: no doubt a last minute fill-in job, but a truly professional one! The character-sitting-on-the-couch-with-ankle-on-knee is such an Andru pose! I bet we could find many images of Peter Parker, Doc Magnus, Steve Trevor, etc. in that pose!
    2. Max Alan Collins: it struck me as I was listening that this is an example of a comics story written by someone who doesn’t write comics. Yes, Collins wrote comic strips, but that is a different kind of pacing. This is a feeling I’ve had when comics characters have been adapted to other media. The effect of the Batman T.V. show continues to reverberate after 50 years, but that wasn’t the first. Too often, I’ve wondered, “Haven’t these people even read the comic?” This story could be almost any character, i.e., Dick Tracy, instead of Batman. However, it’s Batman so throw in the Batmobile and Commissioner Gordon, and voila, it’s a Batman story.
    3. Chris Franklin: thank you for “getting” my voice. When you read my comments, you really get the sarcasm and pointed remarks as I intend them! I really appreciate that, even when our POVs don’t align.
    4.Ryan Daly: don’t feel left out! Hold me tight, because now we’re entering Bat-terra Icognita, as far as I’m concerned. With this title anyway. I think I stuck with Detective through Year 2. So, from here on I’ll be making my snide remarks and pointed criticism based solely on what I hear here.
    5.Shag: nuts to him, he’s got nothing to do with this podcast.

  7. Great to have the Knightcast back again, even if the story did not come up to scratch. Nonetheless, even with such poor material, Chris and Ryan knocked it out of the park when it came to presenting a great podcast. Kudos to both of you! Not much to say on this one – just looking forward to having more Knightcast turning up once again!

  8. This is more of a comment about the Tim vs Jason Todd feedback. I like Tim. He hit at the right time for me as we were roughly about the same age. Now, I guess I’m about twice his age…

    I was wondering if Tim Drake is the Robin you get if you focus grouped what people want in a sidekick. You can say JT was initially a clone of, then reaction against, Dick Grayson. When it was clear people hated the character enough to kill him, I can’t help but wonder if the third version of Robin became a wish fulfillment. He never has aspirations to replace or better his mentor. He never wrongs anyone. He stays the course. He’s the safe choice; the guy someone dates after the bad boy breaks their heart. The, dare I say it, Paul Rudd of Robins. Nobody really hates Paul Rudd, but nobody hates oatmeal either. (I refrain from commenting on Ant-Man. My thoughts are well known).

    I suppose I’m just wondering if Tim Drake was just DC playing it super safe. Yes, he turned out to be a good character. He carried his own series for a while, had some action figures, and even made it video games. Good character. But is he a great one?

    Sometimes I wonder if Tim was the apology Robin.

  9. Can’t comment much on the ‘meat’ of the episode as I’ve never read this issue, but I have to mention that the part when you guys brought up the topic of bad comic shop experiences came up and Chris mentioned a place called the Comic Connection with an obnoxious baseball card guy, it really struck a chord. Back in the late 1980s, when I was living in Sunnyvale, CA (one of the many suburban communities in Silicon Valley), there was a local comic shop called John’s Comic Connection, and the John who ran it was this rather stout fellow who was mainly into baseball cards – the only difference was he did also like and read comics, but he could be quite vocal about stuff he didn’t like in conversations with customers (he was most definitely not a fan of Sienkiewicz’s art). Otherwise, there was another comic shop about a 10 minute walk away that was ran by an aging surly hippie (beard and ratty long, thinning hair tied into a ponytail) who often berated the state of modern comics and belittled any of his customers who may have disagreed with him. The comic book guy in the Simpsons is like a perfect mash-up of those two guys.

  10. Great show guys, and its good to have you back!

    Ryan, the Silver Surfer Epic Collection Vol. 3: Freedom collects the Engleheart/Rogers run on Silver Surfer, and it is available on Comixology. This was one of the few Marvel titles, not X-related, from Marvel that I collected at the time. It isn’t getting a lot of attention in the MCU build-up which is a shame. It doesn’t feature the Infinity Gauntlet or Thanos and it wasn’t the first appearance on the Elders of the Universe, but it was where the they were presented as a conspiratorial brotherhood for the first time, it was the first time the infinity gems were viewed as a thing together, and the first time Mantis became a player in the Marvel Cosmic storylines.

  11. Ryan & Chris – Another great episode!! I look forward to hearing the next episode in early 2019.

    Yes, I did in fact build a one-use time machine, and went back to 1987 to create variant covers for both JLI & Firestorm. I felt that was the best use for a time machine. Universe… you are welcome.

    Just a thought, if these issues continue to disappoint, perhaps leap forward to comics you do enjoy. You don’t have to be a slave to the index format. You started this show because you love the Post-Crisis Batman, and it’s beginning to sound like not this era so much. Find your joy! If you can’t find the spirit, jump forward to the Grant/Breyfogle stuff. You don’t like bagging on the stories, so find some that make you happy. Your enthusiasm will pour through the microphone and your listeners will feel the joy too.

    Just my two cents. Or maybe just my really giant Batcave-sized one cent.

  12. Great episode, guys. I really missed you… in a totally manly way.

    As to Bruce reviewing Catherine Todd’s records, this was before the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (H.I.P.A.A.) so medical information wasn’t readily available, but wasn’t guarded as fiercely as it is today.

    And, Jason’s mom did die of cancer, at least according to Death in the Family. Not sure why this was changed here, except Denny was asleep at the wheel. Maybe he was dealing with the Alan David drama and missed that detail.

  13. With all your thoughts on Jason Todd origins, what do you guys think of the Under the Red Hood animated movie?

    I liked Justice League more then the first Avengers but not quite as much as Age of Ultron. Infinity War is on a new level however.

  14. I’ve been bingeing this series for the last few days as I’ve been running on my recurring Batman phase.
    While listening to your post synopsis commentary on this issue I flashed on a comment you made regarding the dealers attacking their customers.
    Back in 1991, during my Senior Year in High School, Montel Williams came to my school to give a. presentation where among many things he spoke out against the dangers of drug use and the dangers of drug buying in general. (Specifically trying to get drugs from a street dealer.)
    He called forth a few of our class’s honor students and had them take part in a drug buying scenario, where they would enthusiastically pool their money together for a first time buy from a street deal (Montel) and then he would pull out a (fake) gun and shoot them all. I thought it was a bit over-handed as far as demonstrations went but I refrained from speaking on the matter.

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