Jason Todd's "Death" Remains a "Choose Your Own Adventure" in DC's Batman: Death in the Family Interactive Movie

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Batman Death in the Family Bluray

Dear DC Comics,

Please refund me the amount of US$1.10, which is the inflationary adjustment value of the US$0.50 I spent in 1988 when I voted for Robin II -- aka Jason Todd -- to die. Your resurrecting of this character represents a breach of the financial contract established at that time, conducted over telephone lines overseen by the Federal Communications Commission. Thank you.

Was it really 32 years ago since the unprecedented act of fan-voting on a character's fate sent Jason Todd to that great four-color press in the sky? I'd swear it was only yesterday. In the four-part BATMAN saga, the Joker had laid into Jason with a crowbar (which has been re-visited ad infinitum ever since) , and the resulting poll of fans who called in via a 1-900 number directed DC to steer the story toward Jason's death.

But then INFINITE CRISIS happened, and Superboy Prime began altering reality with his super-powered punches, and suddenly Jason was back among the living, operating as a lone vigilante known as the Red Hood, a moniker he continues to use to this day.

Now DC Entertainment once again takes us back to the story of Jason Todd's death-that-didn't-stick. Through the unholy union of interactive software and Blu-ray technology, BATMAN: DEATH IN THE FAMILY provides an animated short -- yes, short; this is not, even in its longest variation, anything at all the length of a movie -- allows viewers to choose from branching paths, guiding fate's hand to lead Jason Todd and the Batman family down many sad, twisting tales toward endings of which none could be considered happy.

To keep things less cluttered, there are no Superboy punches interfering with the plot. Expect appearances by the Al Ghul family, Two Face, Superman, and Tim Drake (nope, not as Robin III, and no I will not expose the cringe-inducing identity that they impose upon him), and even the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh. The first decision point occurs fairly early on in the film; Robin has beaten a thug senseless, Batman takes him off active duty, and Robin petulantly storms out. Moments later, they're both in Bosnia, on separate cases, and Batman has just found him. All that ugly inter-scene stuff about Jason hunting for his birth mother and her interactions with the Joker have been eliminated -- he's simply found Joker and he and Batman split up, with Batman giving him explicit instructions not to make a move on the suspicious looking warehouse behind them. Naturally that's where the deadly deed happens, and viewers are asked whether or not Robin dies, survives on his own, or gets rescued by Batman. Two of those choices lead to a scene that provides an immediate end to the action, while the third allows for more branches to be navigated.

Without spoilers, Critical Blast has put together the following map to demonstrate how the choices are presented in this latest Blu-ray release, which also includes the DC Showcase shorts from the past SGT. ROCK, ADAM STRANGE, THE PHANTOM STRANGER, and DEATH.

Grade: 
3.5 / 5.0