Monday, June 12, 2017

Jason Todd isn't legally dead?

I gotta admit I've had a lot of questions about this for awhile. I wondered how he existed even though he's legally dead. Why no one outside the superhero community questioned it. Well this was kinda brought just makes me a bit confused. What I like, what I don't like and what I want to see explained.

Why did Bruce keep it a secret?

When Damian was dead Bruce kept it a secret because he planned on bringing Damian back. Did he plan to resurrect Jason too? Did something go wrong (or he assumed it did) and it didn't work? Or was he in such denial Bruce just created this fake life so he wouldn't have to fully deal with reality? And kept the ruse going because it would have been like losing Jason all over again if he ended it?

The longer he kept it up the weirder it'd look to outsiders. He couldn't possibly keep the ruse up forever. Was there a plan in mind? Personally I like the idea of Bruce trying to bring Jason back and it makes far more sense than with Damian. No I'm not suggesting Bruce loves one of his kids more than the other. I'm talking about how the writers treated the two deaths. Tomasi was the only writer to have Bruce acting crazy over the loss no one else had Bruce acting irrational. Snyder even had Bruce tell Alfred he wasn't losing it like he did with Jason. This was why Tim Drake became his sidekick, to calm Bruce down when he was out of control with grief.

If Bruce was as reckless and unhinged as he was supposed to be after Jason's death then why wouldn't he attempt to bring him back? Previous stories mention the temptation but always had him deciding against it which doesn't fit the mind set he had at the time. I could also buy Bruce refusing to give up the lie of Jason being "off at school overseas." I'd love to actually see the reasoning Bruce had in the comic and what Jason thought of it all.

How did he keep it a secret?

In previous canon Bruce paid people off to fib about how Jason died to protect his ID. When Damian was briefly dead Bruce lied to say Damian was somewhere else. Did Bruce just say Jason was in school and forged papers?

Did Bruce disown Jason?

In RHATO #8 VOL. 1 Tim Drake says that legally Bruce isn't Jason's dad anymore. I originally took this to mean Jason was legally dead. Which won't mean that they technically they weren't family anymore if Bruce adopted him, just that Jason wasn't considered alive. But if Jason isn't an unperson and Bruce disowned him Tim is being an ass to casually talk about it. Much like the Arkham mentions it makes me hate Bruce and seriously doubt Jason would forgive him. Why would he even agree to eat breakfast with Tim after this much less start a brotherly relationship if it's true?

Granted a lot of things were up in the air in New 52 so Tim might have been alluding to Jason still being considered dead when it was written. For Bruce to disown Jason feels like a slap in the face when he's done more to help his rogues. He tries to help Harvey Dent for example and it would feel like he was just giving up on Jason without really trying.

How does Arkham fit?

I have no idea how it can possibly fit in this canon in the first place especially if he isn't legally dead. Lobdell has mentioned this in passing more than once and I hate the idea. Winick did it for reasons that don't make sense and I'll have to write a separate piece for why I don't think it makes sense in general. But there's no way in hell I buy that no one recognized Jason Todd as Red Hood even with the tech Batman put in place to erase things like fingerprints.

If Jason isn't legally dead then why isn't he involved in more family stuff?

The in universe reasons are probably:
  1. He was dead for awhile.
  2. The conflict with the family.
  3.  Lingering tension.
  4. Jason feeling uncomfortable at events.
But what are the reasons they give the public?

What does the public think?

Jason hasn't been gone for that long in universe and it's pretty much part of the plot that he still looks like the Jason Todd the bat family knew. Bruce knew by sight alone when Jason was still wearing a domino mask.

Before Red Hood/Arsenal no one seemed to recognize Jason without his helmet on even people from Gotham. Isabel for example didn't know who he was and was clueless why Roy thought it was funny that she lived in the same city. Gabby knew Jason before he was taken in by Bruce. She's not surprised that he's alive and doesn't really pry into his current life. Ma Gunn sees him without his helmet and instantly makes the connection. Yet she brushes it off soon after. Why? I assumed it was because he's suppose to be dead. Could it be that she's purposely distancing the two identities? She wouldn't need to if it was public knowledge making the Arkham mentions odd. If Jason is staying with her then she'd see him all the time. It makes less sense for Jason to be so careless with being unmasked.

Suzie Su actually knew his real name, Joker's Daughter knows too.

Tara Battleworth couldn't find Jason's ID but we never find out if he gave her the whole truth.

Yet Jason is never seen at Wayne functions and was excluded from the family portrait. If the public doesn't know his ID (Isabel didn't know, Gabby never alludes to it and Gunn denies it) wouldn't this seem odd? Like Jason is being snubbed by his adoptive family? As if the one kid that was previously poor was kicked out for not meeting the Wayne standards? It doesn't look good so far.

At the end of the first arc of RHATO VOL. 2 a mysterious figure puts together clipping from pictures, etc. of the three main characters. The one that caught my eye was the newspaper clipping of Jason. It's the one in the upper left hand corner with an image of Jason with a backpack under the "NEWS" text. Unless the people of Gotham know Jason Todd on some level it makes no sense for him to be news worthy. I saw it and wondered if was the same sort of "he's back" kind of announcement like when Bruce came back from his world travels.

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