Warning: SPOILERS for Red Hood and the Outlaws #25
Jason Todd's time as the Red Hood is over... at least, if Batman has anything to say about it. The Red Hood has always been one of the more troubled members of the Bat Family, but his feud with Batman has finally divided them for good (or so it seems).
Originally a Robin, and later a villain, Jason has typically walked the line between anti-hero and urban terrorist. But Jason Todd's reboot in DC's Rebirth proved he could be a hero approved of even by Batman. However, after Jason put a bullet in The Penguin's head at point blank range in front of a national news team, Batman feels the line has finally been crossed.
Jason Todd's life as Red Hood is over. So what comes next?
Other major events do occur in the landmark issue of Red Hood and the Outlaws #25. Most of them surround Jason's teammates on the Outlaws, Artemis and Bizarro Superman. Yet the main thrust of the story centers on Batman hunting his old protégé, and publicly declaring that Jason is no longer fit to wear the mantle of the Red Hood.
That detail is a bit strange, as Jason created the identity of the Red Hood on his own (and as a metaphorical middle finger to The Joker). Still, Batman is Batman. And you don't wear anything remotely resembling a Bat-symbol in Gotham City without his approval.
The battle between Batman and Red Hood is based on... well, what it's always been based on. Batman believes that Jason is too violent to be trusted, while Jason sees more than morality at stake in attempting to execute The Penguin. But to call it a battle is overly generous to Jason - Batman decimates his former sidekick, and Jason can't (or won't) do much to fight back.
The only thing that really saves Red Hood from becoming Batman's prisoner is two timely assists from his friends, first by Bizarro Superman and later (and more permanently) Roy Harper, otherwise known as Arsenal. Even though Jason is saved from become Arkham Asylum's newest inmate (or worse), the outcome of the fight is largely the same. Red Hood is no longer welcome in Batman's Gotham... or as a part of his family.
The more surprising element of the story is that Jason seems to acquiesce to Batman's demands. It's even more illuminating learning how Red Hood and the Outlaws is moving forward after issue #25.
While the title of the comic stays the same, Jason is getting an all-new look. Red Hood is doing away with his customary dual pistols and trading them in for a crowbar and set of spiked knuckles. The redesign does seem a little "extreme" in a sense reminiscent of the superhero redesigns from the mid '90s, but it does seem like Jason is rocking a less fatal arsenal now. Even if there is something incredibly morbid about him wielding a crowbar, considering it's the weapon Joker used to beat him near to death.
The whole story could be a misdirect, or a temporary diversion. The world of comics regularly resets the status quo, and the fact that Jason's series isn't being re-branded does suggest that he'll at least be using the Red Hood identity in some sense. For the moment, Jason Todd is once again on the outside of the Bat Family, looking in.
Red Hood and the Outlaws #25 is available now from DC Comics.