Overall: This issue gets started with a flashback of Batman warning Jason Todd(back when he was Robin)about the danger of the Joker, and how Joker's unpredictability made Joker Batman's most dangerous foe. From there we head to a grown up Jason, who has managed to locate Joker and is in the process of eavesdropping on the Clown Prince of Crime. It seems Joker is keen on buying some chemical that when mixed with water and exposed to air bursts into flames. After watching a demonstration, Joker agrees to buy the chemical and sets up a meeting at the Port of Los Angeles. Now knowing where to find Joker, Jason heads out to the Port and sets up his trap. Phase one of Jason's plan works perfectly, as he distracts Joker's guards and gases Joker's men. Joker makes a break for it, but is shot in the leg by Jason, who goes to retrieve the fallen Joker. Before he can take Joker away for hours and hours of fun torture, Joker's men have donned gas masks of their own and are chasing Jason down. Not having the time he wanted, Jason carries Joker into an abandoned warehouse and sprays him with gasoline. Finally having Joker where he wants him, Jason pulls out a lighter and lights it, but is unable to throw the flame on Joker... Instead he leaves and Joker's men rescue him from his predicament. Later on, Jason meets up with Talia Al Ghul and explains that he couldn't kill Joker without Batman also being there. Without Batman there to witness the act, Joker's death, although satisfying would have been meaningless to Jason. Talia tells Jason that she doesn't want him to kill Batman(which Jason doesn't think he wants to do anymore anyway), and tells Jason to punish Batman for his offenses by taking away what was most important to Bats, Gotham City. From there Jason and Talia have a quick roll in the hay, and when Jason awakens, Talia is gone, although she has left him more money, as well as a message to meet up with a new player in Gotham by the name of Hush. Jason meets up with Hush and confirms what Hush had already suspected, that Batman was Bruce Wayne. From there, with Bruce's words ringing in his ears about how dangerous Joker was due to his lack of predictability, Jason prepares to play the role of the Red Hood for the first time.
This is easily one of the strongest mini-series I've read all year. I'd go so far as to say that it may very well be THE best mini of the year(definitely from DC). As dumb as it may sound, my biggest complaint with this particular issue(and the reason I couldn't give it a perfect score)was the fact that we all knew how it was going to end. The meeting with Joker, which was what the past two issues was leading to, HAD to end with Joker surviving, thereby making the whole meeting a moot point. Even still, Judd Winick(writer)did a very good job with the meeting between the two. I just can't help but be bothered by the fact that Jason DIDN'T kill Joker when he had the chance... Yeah, he wanted Bruce there when he did the deed, but there were still ways to have involved Bruce in Joker's death. Why not kill Joker, decapitate him and send Joker's head to Wayne Manor? That would have made the point as strongly as if Bruce himself had been there. But in the end it doesn't matter, since I loved the eventual meeting between Bruce, Jason and Joker from a couple of years back. As for Talia and Jason... That was interesting. Their bedroom escapades didn't bother me(Talia was mad at Bruce at the time, as was Jason)as it happened kind of naturally. Plus their tryst also opens up several doors to future storylines that could impact the Bat-family. So even with a few missteps here and there, overall this was a fantastic mini-series, and I'm BEGGING DC to either give us some kind of sequel, or better yet, a Red Hood ongoing. Come on DC, make this happen!
Score: 9 out of 10.So much for that famous Bat-family secrecy!