It's been an interesting journey to see Jason Todd and Roy Harper's friendship throughout two series. I don't know how everything can be wrapped up in this issue but it should be emotional nonetheless. On a side note I've been seeing so many ads for Rebirth I kept thinking the next series was starting up instead of this issue.
I know the covers don't always reflect the stories but there's something amusing about this one. Yes the woman taking a selfie in the middle of the battle is part of it. The main thing that I can't help finding humorous is this image with the tagline the "Bromance ends here !" Yeah bromance can be a funny phrasing too. But it's saying that this is the end of the series and possibly their friendship. That said we get a funny cover that doesn't fit the tone. I don't hate it, this is just an odd choice given the cover for RHATO #40.
Last time Jason found the mall and we open to Roy being in danger as Iron Rule demanding Jason show himself. Jason thinks how Roy always wanted to feel useful, how is old crew never had his altruism. JD says that the viewers at home are just as bloodthirsty as she is and loving this. Some of them are as Jason uses Roy's arrow to put an end to Everest. Jason takes out another one listing their crimes. He thinks they were already dead anyway that wonders if he's being a hypocrite. He mentally shrugs it off since he's trying to do something with the second chance. I'm not sure if he believes that hundred percent even if he claims to have zero regrets.
Roy isn't too happy since he design the arrows to put out nuclear energy and power plants not to be used on people. That audience is still watching as all this goes on. After he takes out to more Bea and Roy both try to talk him down. That's when Jason says this doesn't have anything to do with Roy. Our archer claims responsibility for the actions of the Iron Rule for forming them. Naming off the enemies they faced Jason says the good he did outweighs the bad. Again Roy tries to talk him down by saying they're better than this. Jason corrections him saying Roy is better. Stop him from acting Roy knocks her out knowing Jason won't shoot her.
They agree she goes to jail before JD threatens to Tara Battleworth. Pointing a gun at her Jason says he meant to shoot her in the shoulder last time. He warns that the next time will be lethal. She lets him know she killed the EMTs. This naturally pisses him off and Roy attempts to stop them both. Like before JD taunts Jason to do what their "dad" wants. Thankfully Roy takes the shot and Tara leaves.
The first thing really does is complain that no one will hire them now. This frustrates Jason because people voted for Roy to die. Shooting the camera he says this was never going to work. Roy has too much faith in people and Jason doesn't have any. He apologizes for not being able to be the hero Roy wanted him to be. That he knows Roy will remain the hero he is. That said he leaves knowing Roy will be mad at him for awhile but will get over it.
We then get a short story on how the two met. Which is good I didn't like the idea of them meeting just before Jason died. It looks like a more innocent time with Robin and Speedy taking on the "batboys." As in baseball bat boys. Robin helps Speedy, they quip and introduce themselves--as in the real names. Roy tells Jason he shouldn't use Robin as a codename since that's already been used. That he should go by Jaybird. They take off to get the bad guys when Roy suggests they become partners. Jason laughs and says maybe someday.
Overall: I'll be writing a separate piece on this series so let's just focus on this issue.
I probably have been waiting to see Jason with a bow and arrow since the first RHATO series was announced. The unused arrow gun was okay but this is much better. Why did I want to see it? Partly because I like the idea of Jason being capable of using different weapons. I also think for him to go to the effort really says a lot with just an image. Guns are fast long range weapons, swords/daggers are for close quarter fighting so even if Jason is a good archer it feels like too much of a hassle to go through. While Roy can make a weapon out of anything archery is pretty much his signature. Therefore Jason using it does make a statement even if he's doing it for a specific reason.
This was very intense, I'd wager even more so for me since I read this on a digital copy with a guided view. Lobdell successfully made Jokers' Daughter a creditable villain and a very creepy one at that. Her obsession with Joker connects her to Jason and as a result she's very interested in forcing him into this situation. After I wrote the summary above I read a few posts to see what some thought of this issue. I think a few didn't really understand what was going on. One was under the impression Jason hasn't killed since he came back to the family. Which isn't true and makes me wonder if this person has really been reading the series. Others on the facebook fan page don't understand why Jason would leave after a small disagreement. There's more to it than them not agreeing guys and it has to do with what JD did.
I'll get more into this on my review of the series as a whole since it talks about other issues but think about what she did. Jason couldn't help project his experiences onto her. This makes him want to save her and even after she tried to shoot him the guy can't bring himself to kill her. (Another poster thought his aim was bad but he states he couldn't kill her in this issue.) Look at the wording last issue and look at Jasons' words in the first narrative box. He seriously thinks Roy is going to die and that's why he acts the way he does. Yes he sees Roy as a hero but it's more than that. As we see in the flashback being partners has been in the back of his mind for awhile. I think he truly loved working with Roy but JD seriously plays into his fears. The scene reminded me a lot of the boys stopping Kori from killing the slaver.
The retro flashback complete with Kirby like art was cute and I prefer it over the Tynion version. I can't really see a Jason just before DITF being so upbeat while this seems to imply it's not long after Dick quit being Robin. The Jaybird reveal was sweet and as I suspected it had to do with the Robin codename. It also makes the intro to the nickname in RHATO have more meaning. Roy used to call Jason that and keeps calling him that because he didn't mind it before. Jason tried and failed to distance himself from it. This also shows that Roy saw Jason as himself not Dick which I like.
I really enjoyed this and I'm glad it didn't end on a bad note. Well it was sad, more so after it sunk in but the short story helped. The flashback makes it lighter leaving it more hopeful. I'll miss this series, Roy, the fact no one else will call Jason "Jaybird" and the friendship. I don't want this to be the end of Jasons' redemption arc either. It will be a long wait until the next series comes around. I want the guys (Kori too) to meet on good terms in the future. Please DC, don't let other writers mess Jason up further and let these characters hang out.
Say What?: Jason knew about Roys' connection to the Iron Rule? He mentions it before Roy admits to forming them. I can buy Jason playing dumb about Roy being a leader or researching it later.
I do like the meta moment where Jason tells the voters to drop dead.
Questions Raised?: How big of a factor is it that all these people just witnessed so much? I can see it easily being applied to what Jason will be doing in Gotham.
Are they in trouble for JD's actions like Tara previously suggested? She never technically worked for them before she went rogue.
Did You Notice?: The art for Jason and his mom threw me off for a few seconds.There seems to be a head wound since she's bleeding. Jasons' mom had an OD. For a moment I wasn't sure if it was implying that he did kill someone unconscious or not.