GJRA Abstracts: Aidan Diamond, ‘Cross the line’: Vigilante Justice and Batman on Trial in Under the Red Hood
Once more unto the breach. Here is the paper Aidan Diamond will be presenting at our upcoming GJRA discussions. This paper looks set to be a fascinating contribution that takes a Foucauldian approach to the portrayal of justice within Batman.
Aidan Diamond (Memorial University of Newfoundland), ‘Cross the line’: Vigilante Justice and Batman on Trial in Under the Red Hood
In this paper, I argue that the character of Jason Todd (the second Robin, Red Hood, and unexpected survivor of the infamous A Death in the Family storyline) performs an incisive critique of and challenge to Batman’s system of justice in Batman: Under the Red Hood (2006).
Before engaging with Jason Todd’s three main narratives of juridical critique (‘The Second Robin’, Red Hood: The Lost Days, Under the Red Hood), I will contextualise Batman’s system of justice and regulation as exemplified by the enduring conflict between Batman and the Joker, using Michael Smith’s reflection on the Joker’s relationship to ‘Evil’ and Michel Foucault’s ‘About the Concept of the Dangerous Individual’.
I will then address Jason and the narratives in which he indicts Batman’s approach to justice, revenge, and punishment. In the context of the perspectives offered by Foucault and Smith, I argue that Jason poses a challenge to Batman’s juridical system from within the comics-world. Further, though this challenge is ultimately unsuccessful, I argue that it is significant in that it attempts to hold Batman accountable for his system and its failings, in a mythos that otherwise privileges Batman’s juridical system over any and every challenge.
Aidan Diamond is finishing her Master’s in English at Memorial University of Newfoundland. She has presented in Canada, the UK, and the US; co-edited a special issue of the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics (Sept. 2017); contributed a chapter to the forthcoming Essays on DC’s Harley Quinn, and an essay to ImageText’s forthcoming publication of the Mixing Visual Media in Comics conference, which she co-organised and moderated.