The alliance between Batman and former Robin, Red Hood, may have ended all over again. Jason Todd and Bruce Wayne are back to being rivals on either side of the law, now that Red Hood has broken Batman's one rule about killing in Red Hood and the Outlaws #24.
When Red Hood first reappeared in DC Comics back in 2005 it was as Batman's newest archenemy. Resurrected by Ra's al Ghul and driven insane, Jason Todd had all the anger of Batman as The Red Hood but none of the restraint. Jason was a killer, through and through. Yet over time, Batman and Red Hood's rebuilt their partnership into the best hero Jason Todd could be joining DC's Rebirth.
But with one pull of the trigger, Red Hood might've ruined things between them forever.
The current arc of Red Hood and the Outlaws has seen Jason Todd uncover a startling truth about his past. The Penguin, Gotham's oddest crime lord, was behind the death and imprisonment of Jason's father, Willis Todd. This information has sent Jason Todd on a solo mission of his revenge. In Red Hood and the Outlaws #24, Jason finally comes face-to-face with his father's "killer," The Penguin.
The Penguin is opening a new business on Gotham's waterfront when Jason tracks him down and destroys nearly everything surrounding them. Jason explains to The Penguin that Willis was a bad father and even worse person. Yet Willis was still Jason's father and there has to be some sort of payment for his demise. Even more importantly The Penguin has to know that the reason for his end is coming from Willis Todd's son, so Red Hood unmasks in front of Penguin to let him know his secret identity.
Jason exposes himself, and by consequence Batman, to The Penguin to make the revenge all the more personal. While this is an issue, it's not the main one. Jason isn't content in destroying The Penguin's business prospects and letting him know he's made a personal enemy out of the Red Hood. As a final act, Jason takes his pistol aims directly at The Penguin's face and pulls the trigger, all at point blank range.
Since Batman is Batman, he'd find out about Jason's attempted murder regardless. However, Red Hood's attack of Penguin was captured by a news crew. Before Penguin's body hits the concrete, with his famous monocle broken, Batman is already in the know. In the know, and ready to take Jason Todd in for his crime.
It should be mentioned though that the same news report that shows Red Hood's encounter with the Penguin also makes it clear that it wasn't fatal ... yet. Oswald Cobblepot is in "critical condition." Red Hood's attempt on Penguin's life is a momentous occasion, but there's no chance that Penguin will never be seen again in DC Comics. Penguin will likely survive and even if he doesn't, Cobblepot won't stay gone forever.
The important thing is the impact that this is going to have on Jason and Batman's relationship. The DC Rebirth run of Red Hood and the Outlaws began with Jason promising to Batman that he would no longer kill. With Penguin, Jason's not only gone back on his word, but exposed their secret identities. Whatever trust that existed between Batman and Red Hood is damaged, if not entirely broken.
When and if Penguin pulls through, a huge wedge has still been put between Red Hood and Batman. The Outlaws part of Red Hood's series probably became a lot more literal as Jason will be on the run from Batman, if not the law altogether.
It's an interesting time to reintroduce Batman and Red Hood's rivalry, especially with rumors that the character will be introduced (as a villain) in the DCEU. The two have been getting along since the New 52 but Batman and Red Hood's relationship has usually been one of strife. Now that contention just got much more serious and possibly more compelling.
Red Hood and the Outlaws #24 is available now from DC Comics.