Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Favorite RHATO Scenes: Anything with Isabel Ardila

I took a break from posting these after being bummed out over RHATO #28 which didn't handle Isabel and her relationship with Jason properly. It wasted the character and didn't have the best understanding of her. Isabel Ardila is a good character with incredible potential that could have added a lot to the series if she stayed on. I don't know if Lobdell is returning to the book or if he would bring her back if that's the case but she helped give new insight that was sorely needed.

Isabel Ardila  (RHATO #2, 7, 10-15)
(Picture from the Red Hood and the Outlaws Facebook page.)

Unlike the other moments I mentioned this entry isn't based on any particular scene but just to discuss what Isabel brought to the book and what could have been. As seen in the pictures above it looks like Scott Lobdell was trying to tell us this is the same flight attendant that Jason met in Death in the Family before he died at Jokers' hands. Jasons' suits, window seats and the mention of drinks are also clues into this. And well, he outright namedrops the storyline. RHATO #0 even has a panel of Jason leaving the plane with a blond flight attendant behind him. This was never mentioned in text between the characters though but it would make Isabel at least a few of years older than Jason who originally died at 15. Although boy wonders seem to go for older women anyway. When the two meet in RHATO #2 they flirt but Jason never expects to see her again. In fact he thinks she's better off that way until he receives something that shocks him for the first time in this series.

Isabel slips him a phone number on a napkin.
This baffles Jason and he has no idea why she's interested in him. The "bad boy" of the bat family doesn't think of himself as attractive (he wonders if she has good eye sight in fact) and doesn't know how to handle her interest. Lobdell reveals that since his death Jason hasn't had many dealings with regular people and as a result doesn't know how to act around them. It's another layer that's not really explored since this isn't just due to the nature of crime fighting but a reminder that he doesn't see himself as normal since returning from the dead. When Roy comments on Kori and him being the only normal people Jason knows it gets him thinking on changing that. He hangs up the first time he thinks of reaching out before going out on a date with Isabel in #10. The date it's self is awkward because Jason has to lie which obviously makes him very uncomfortable. This is the same guy that has been previously shown as being able to disguise himself and play a role with ease. Jason has never been seen in a romance prior to this (unless you count pre-crisis Jason Todd and Rena) and doesn't have same comfort zones as Dick or Tim.
At the end he wants to end it when they get called away to space. Only Isabel unintentionally gets teleported along which means things have to get explained. While she does react how any of us would if we found out our date was a vigilante and we were onboard a spaceship she cools down. Using her training as a flight attendant Isabel realizes that she can handle this surprising Jason by not being angry with him. This is done maturely with her admitting they don't know each other well so he doesn't owe her anything. In fact Isabel found his made up persona boring and starts to warm up to the real Jason Todd. After spending some time in space they return home to deal with Superman. She stops the fighting and stands up to the Man of Steel. After that Jason takes her to her apartment to find the Joker waiting.

Isabel gave some much needed insight on the crazy world they live in. She could ground Jason in a way he wasn't used to and accepted him for who he was. Acting as a voice of reason and a human perceptive outside the world of hero vs. villain. While his life is dangerous Isabel knew that once they were in space and STILL decided to date him. Jason didn't pressure her, Isabel didn't enter a relationship blindly. She lives in Gotham and thus lives dangerously everyday regardless, her job even has it's own potential threats. Jason opened up more with her giving us another side we never saw before. Since both travel having a long distance relationship wouldn't be a problem especially since they could meet up anywhere. The bat characters always seem to have long term relationships with fellow heroes or foes and it was refreshing to see one of them dating a normal human that could deal with it. If Lobdell does come back then I hope he takes off where he left off.

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