Welcome back to Gotham Gazette! I hope you’re all enjoying your summer, because Jason Todd sure isn’t. You may recall that I recently wrote about his new status as the owner of the Iceberg Lounge, but as of Red Hood: Outlaw #36, that’s all fallen apart. Bunker, former Teen Titan and Jason’s chief enforcer, turned on him once he learned that he was secretly torturing Penguin in a panic room. I know it’s Penguin, but Bunker has a point, Jason’s actions during the Iceberg affair were a bit messed up. Now that it’s all over, Red Hood has gotten his revenge on Cobblepot, but at what cost?
Batman and Red Hood had recently been growing closer after spending years at odds. Jason’s been invited to more Bat-Family meetings, and even participated in the family photo during this spring’s Detective Comics #1000 milestone. Jason Todd is a former Robin, and he’s Bruce Wayne’s legally adopted son, so I always considered their animosity to be “unfinished business” that I was hoping would one day be resolved. However, Jason’s actions at the Iceberg Lounge broke Batman’s trust and drove the two further apart. As a result, their relationship has been further fractured. Now, thanks to some egging on by Damian, Bruce is convinced that Jason is capable of committing unspeakable horrors.
The Bat-Family drama recently bled over to Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev’s Event Leviathan limited series, where Bruce confronted his former sidekick Jason Todd with the overwhelming evidence that he was Leviathan. Jason denied it, but it’s clear from the strike force Batman brought in that the Dark Knight no longer takes him at his word.
Guys, it’s really hard to see the two of them like this. Don’t forget, Bruce is Jason’s adopted father. What’s the worst thing your father ever falsely accused you of doing? It probably wasn’t running a worldwide killer spy organization.
But could Jason actually be Leviathan? I pondered this question in another article recently, and I’m not buying it. I’ll admit, I’m not as good of a detective as Batman or his allies, but after reading about Jason for decades, I feel like I know him—at least as well as you can “know” a fictional character. Jason’s world has been rocked by many things recently, including the death of his friend Roy Harper during Heroes in Crisis, but he still has his own moral code, even if it’s a twisted one. In addition, Red Hood’s aspirations have always been street level, while Leviathan is leading a global organization. Jason doesn’t like associating himself with groups, and his actions in Red Hood: Outlaw has shown that his leadership skills could use some work. So, while the true identity of Leviathan is still a mystery, I’m going to go ahead and rule out Jason. (Usually it’s not a good idea to disagree with Batman, but I’m feeling bold today.)
Batman isn’t even the only one who suspects Jason. Lois Lane, Green Arrow, Manhunter, Plastic Man and the Question all joined the Dark Knight for this rooftop confrontation. Ouch! I know the Red Hood has done some questionable things, but does anybody have faith in him? Jason has never been one to care about the opinions of others, but it’s got to hurt knowing that the biggest detectives in the DC Universe think you’re responsible for a global murder conspiracy. And here’s another weird thought. Since it was Robin who first fingered Red Hood, this means that Damian is now more trusted than Jason. Yes, the same Damian who’s also been engaging in really questionable behavior with regards to the villains he’s captured in Teen Titans.
That’s got to sting.
Batman’s relationship with his former ward may be falling apart, but I am thrilled about another potential relationship being rebuilt. Tom King’s “City of Bane” has officially kicked off over in Batman #75 and the first chapter featured the long-awaited reunion between Bruce and Selina. Batman and Catwoman haven’t spoken since she abandoned him at the altar (or rooftop) in last summer’s Batman #50, and I think all of us are still trying to recover.
Selina finds Bruce, who appears to be exiled from the Bane-controlled Gotham City, and we get another playful round of the boat/street debate. (Something tells me Batman and Catwoman will be arguing about this until the Dark Knight’s 100th anniversary.) I still have many questions about the “City of Bane” time skip, but for now I’m just happy to see the Bat and the Cat on speaking terms again.
Of course, their reunion doesn’t necessarily mean that a second wedding is in the works, but poor Batman has had a real tough time since she left him, and it’ll be great for them to finally talk things out. Tom King has teased some big plans for the two, and once the “City of Bane” storyline wraps up, Batman and Catwoman will be starring in their own King-written maxi-series. Clearly something big is going down with these two, so it looks like “City of Bane” will be a story arc to keep a close eye on.
What do you all think? Can Jason really be Leviathan? Will Batman and Catwoman squander their second chance? Tweet your thoughts in my direction!
Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, movies and comics for DCComics.com and DCUniverse.com, is a regular contributor to the Couch Club and writes our monthly Batman column, "Gotham Gazette." Follow him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.