The Internet has a bit of an odd relationship with Batman. While there’s an open admittance that he’s one of, if not the best superhero in DC and Warner Bros. pantheon, he’s also often just dunked on, mocked for his approach to fighting crime by beating people to a pulp and throwing them in jails that are either poorly funded and mismanaged or just plain corrupt. In recent years, various writers have made it clear that this really is not the case; Batman is actively making efforts to clean up Gotham through various different means as Bruce Wayne, but Gotham City really is just that bad of a place, and the jokes still continue.
But while the Dark Knight may not deserve to be stereotyped in this way, two of his most hotheaded sons, Jason Todd and Damian Wayne, most certainly do. Given the recent developments that both Red Hood and Robin are currently going through, it’s hard not to think that their directions are, whether intentional or not, being influenced by the way the Internet seems to view their mentor.
To wit, Red Hood has, through circumstances mostly outside of his control in Red Hood & the Outlaws, been effectively exiled from Gotham after shooting Penguin in the face and getting into a fistfight with Batman, one appropriately billed as 25 years in the making.
Stripped of his red bat emblem and without a team, Jason will soon be forced to adopt a new costume and trade in his high tech weaponry for brutal beatdowns. It’s easy to draw similarities between Jason and Raph from the Ninja Turtles, as the Red Hood sports a whole new emblem that distances himself from Batman and carries a crowbar on his back. Jason’s always been a black sheep of the Bat-family, but this marks the first time that he’s actively had a hostile relationship with Batman since he returned from the grave over a decade ago. And given that the only thing that kept him in Batman’s good graces was not killing criminals, that rule may be gone now that he and Batman are on the outs.
Somehow, despite the fact that Jason may be bludgeoning people with a crowbar, he’s doing considerably better than Damian, who’s gone back to leading the Teen Titans. With most of his original team either boosted up to the new Titans team or the Justice League, the Boy Wonder has a new handpicked team that operates in Brooklyn and definitely gels with him better than his old crew.
At the end of the inaugural issue, it turns out that Damian’s approach to fighting criminals includes locking them up in a secret prison off the grid, which currently houses Black Mask, Brother Blood, and Onomatopoeia. Fed up with how prisons basically function as nothing more than revolving doors, this is his new method, and… it’s not great, from an ethical standpoint, as it also implies that the Teen Titans are killers.
It’s clear that the other Titans aren’t exactly in on what Damian’s doing. When they find out — and they will — they won’t be too happy with what their leader is doing. Beating up villains is one thing, but locking them up without due process or, well, basic human rights is a whole new ballgame… and feeds into what people just assume Batman does. Since everyone knows Batman has a Robin, there’s going to be the assumption that Batman either is helping or endorses this, neither of which will look good on Damian or his dad.
The DC Universe is a big pace, but things get passed along the grapevine fairly fast, meaning that Batman will no doubt be having a talk with his sons about their behavior in future issues of their respective books. What’s scary about that is that both inevitable confrontations could go either way; Bruce isn’t the most emotionally open man out there (not helped by his recent relationship woes), and both Damian and Jason are their own brands of cocky and stupid. More fists flying seem in the cards for a family that should really just look to therapy instead.
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