The ongoing "Gotham War" storyline has pushed Batman to his limits, but the Caped Crusader may have gone a step too far by putting a seemingly permanent end to Jason Todd's tenure as the Punisher-like vigilante, Red Hood.
In preview pages released for today's Batman #138, we learn that after Bruce Wayne knocked the former Robin out in Batman Catwoman: The Gotham War - Red Hood #1, he planted a hypnotic suggested in Jason's head. Now, when his body generates adrenaline, Red Hood will become overwhelmed by fear.
As a result, he can no longer protect Gotham City with his lethal form of justice, though Batman seems convinced he's given the ex-sidekick "a gift" rather than a punishment. He's even arranged a new life for Jason in Metropolis but there's something about this which just feels...wrong.
Batman clearly believes Jason is beyond redemption at this stage but to quite literally alter his mind, the rest of the Bat-Family is sure to have something to say about it.
Of course, we're talking about a character who has frequently pushed the limits in this way; once upon a time, the Dark Knight even left the entire Justice League vulnerable after creating weapons capable of stopping each of them which were later stolen.
As for Red Hood, seeing where his story goes from here should be very interesting indeed. In terms of live-action plans for the anti-hero in the DCU, we don't know what's in store for him and whether Jason is a character who will be part of the wider Bat-Family in The Brave and the Bold a few years from now. Titans didn't really do him justice, anyway, so here's hoping.
Batman #138 is now available in comic book stores.
Written by Chip Zdarsky
Art & Cover by Jorge Jimenez
THE GOTHAM WAR CONTINUES! Batman is on the ropes as the Gotham War heats up following a shocking betrayal! It's father versus son, teacher versus student in the knockout fourth chapter of this brutal war. But who is really pulling the strings in this explosive event? Thousands of years have led to this moment!