Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Trauma of Resurrection

Every once in awhile I read something that makes me analysis a comic. This is a continuation of the bits I previously talked about that we got of Jason mentioning his death.

Red Hood and the Outlaws #9 VOL. 2

Jason Todd: But here we are, on our way to the last place on Earth I want to go-- More like "Qurac--where I was murdered by the Joker." But there were no headlines. No evening newscasts. Just me in a pine box. Buried in secret.

What this tells us: I have so many questions. (*1) For now I'll focus on what I get out of these lines. Obviously Jason doesn't want to return to Qurac but it underlines the fact he's returned for the sake of others. Jason often puts others before himself. While I'm not sure how Jason dying in secret works it does remind me of Bruce not telling outsiders that Damian was dead and planning to resurrect him. Was this the case for Jason? Did Bruce try or want to bring Jason back? What did he tell people? That Jason was at some private school? How would it make Jason feel to know his fate had been hidden from the world? It must make it that much harder for him that he's never invited to family events.

Previously it seemed like he was isolated for being made into a non-person, essentially a living ghost that doesn't legally exist. Now it seems like he's just someone the world forgot and his family are reinforcing the idea that he doesn't belong.

Jason Todd: It's her story. Artemis. One of the few people in the world who could get me to return to this place...Not that she needs to know that right now.

What this tells us: I wondered if this meant Jason has deeper feelings for Artemis even though they don't know each other well. Though Jason did go to save Roy who at time wasn't a friend per se but someone who had been nice to him. Jason's lack of friends and desire for companionship has been mentioned before. When he connects with someone it affects him greatly. In other words I'm not sure if this is a romantic mention. Jason could mean that Artemis doesn't need to hear his backstory or how much she's affecting him when she's dealing with her own past. If it wasn't for her or Roy in the first volume Jason would never return.

Jason Todd: What the hell--? So dark, like...a grave? NO! Not crawling my way out of another grave. Not in this lifetime! Come on, Jason--keep it together.

What this tells us: Jason has stated he hadn't remembered anything before the Lazarus Pit in past books. But here he returns to the place he died and wakes up in the dark. Given how Jason freaks out I think it's possible that the experience triggered a memory. Without his teammates Jason's freak out starts. We haven't seen much of Jason's PTSD although it's been hinted at a few times with Winick and Tomasi having him flashback. This is the start of some interesting questions of what Jason remembers and how he came back. It might even hint at Jason having claustrophobia due to being in his coffin.

Jason Todd: I've been back to Qurac once since I was murdered. For exactly twenty minutes. Kori and I had to pull Roy out of a prison. It was painless. But this--? This feels familiar.

What this tells us: Not only does this retcon the Tomasi story but it also shows why it doesn't work. Jason notes that he wasn't in the country long when he saved Roy. This made him avoid his PTSD yet he still kept count of exactly how long he was there. Alone and captured in the same country Jason isn't able to control his reactions. His trauma is being triggered. I'm not sure if he really sees the site he died but the lack of control he has is affecting him. It's too close for comfort and there's no way to avoid it like he usually does.

Robin (Jason Todd): This is what I become? Maybe I was better off dead.
Red Hood (Jason Todd): Yeah...maybe.

What this tells us: Unless some supernatural force is messing with Jason's head this is all in his mind. He knows he isn't the person he expected to became when he was Robin. Throughout Lobdell's runs Jason has a complex relationship with life and death. Does he want to live? He doesn't seem sure even now. Was it worth the trouble of returning from the dead? Is Jason even happy? He doesn't seem sure about that one either.

 *1 Given Gabby's reaction it makes sense that Jason's death wasn't known. At the same time I recall Tim saying that legally Jason wasn't Bruce's son anymore. I assumed that meant because Jason was legally dead but does this mean he's been disowned? This makes the mentions to Arkham confuse me further. Do people recognize him? Why hasn't anyone asked Bruce Wayne what's up with Jason? Or maybe everyone knows who Red Hood is? But that wouldn't make sense because Jason was shocked that Black Mask knew who he was.

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