Friday, June 9, 2017

On my RHATO Theory

When I first re-read Red Hood and the Outlaws volume 2 something came to mind within the first two issues. It made me see some clues that supported this idea that was already forming. I might have gotten a little excited over what this could mean. This is a little bit of my thought process for how I came to my conclusion with the clues I found. I think the story was changed near the end since we never get satisfying answers to some parts.

My theory was a simple one, a twist I don't think many would see coming. It's that the Black Mask seen in RHATO Rebirth was not in fact Roman Sionis. This would explain a few things like why Black Mask had a different mask when one was grafted to his skin. (I know it's a previously done redesign by Capullo but it made no sense in the arc.) The idea of the new man behind the mask was exciting as he could be an actual rogue for Jason without "stealing" someone from Batman's gallery. Someone that would allow a deeper exploration of who Jason Todd is. This would challenge not only Jason but to a certain extent Batman.

If this is true as I believe it is I have no idea how this guy took over from Roman Sionis or what would have happened to either character at the end of the of the arc. I'm not going to spoil it in this entry but just vent a few of my thoughts. Just because I know I've been going on about this for awhile and it seems rude to just not say anything.

The Ma Gunn Connection

We don't know how long Gunn has had her school for boys cover for her criminal activities. We do know she has a long history with Roman and his father. She makes a point in mentioning knowing Roman since he was in diapers. This is especially interesting if you read the origin of Black Mask and know how phoney the Sionis were. They put on polite faces in public to gain social status and business connections. For Ma Gunn to actually KNOW Roman and his dad it suggests a deeper connection. Most didn't know their true selves for years including Bruce Wayne who "knew" Roman since they were kids. Romans' parents forced him to be friends with Bruce who he loathed.

This means Ma Gunn knows all about their fake personalities which makes sense given the way she operates. She uses a kindly old lady persona to cover up her shady side. But when she meets Black Mask at dinner she comments on things she noticed that changed about him. Gunn notes he's cleaned up so well and shown some initiative. Roman was never good at business deals so her surprise makes sense. Bruce had to take control over the family business because Roman was failing so horribly. In the flashback she's not the least bit intimidated because she doesn't think she has anything to fear from Roman. Not just because there's a history there but because she knows what he's capable of.

 If anyone would know something is off about Black Mask it would be her. This was mentioned for a reason even if nothing ever came of it by the arcs' end. It's also established that she still remembers Jason. It could be because he was different than the other boys and/or him helping send her to prison. But it also made me wonder if he stood out for another reason.

Black Mask Acting Differently

It's iffy how much of old canon is around as the events of UTH aren't mentioned with Black Mask. Roman "suddenly" rose out of the black market racket into a crime boss in this canon. Nothing too suspicious right? It does underline Gunn's statement of him showing initiative sounding like it's a change of pace. The temper is gone but he's not quite acting like he originally did either.

The guy wasn't a genius, he had no idea how to run a business and Bruce was easily able to figure out his M.O. Roman Sionis was never a threat to Jason in UTH and Bruce has been dismissive of him too. Both of them saw him as just another gangster. When you start to look at the arc from a different POV you can see the character doesn't match up.

Roman doesn't seem to see Gotham in the same romantic sense that this Black Mask does. He hasn't shown this much interest in recruiting someone much less an heir. Know your enemy. This is what Batman preaches but the problem is that Jason studied Roman Sionis. Someone we know that Jason would easily outsmart. What if he had no idea Black Mask was someone else much less it's someone he thought wasn't in the picture? Which is why this Black Mask has the advantage, he knows who Jason is while his own ID is unknown.

There's a lot more to this of course and I have a lot of thoughts on the matter that makes a long write up. I'm not sure if I should do it though since Scott Lobdell might use this plot. I'm hoping he does.

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