Warning: Spoilers for Future State: Dark Detective #2!
When it comes to the Bat-Family, Red Hood is often considered to be its black sheep. Having experienced trauma that even the most hardened of Batman’s sidekicks can’t relate to, Red Hood, aka Jason Todd, has gone from being a one-time Robin to a full-blown vigilante of his own, just with a mean streak that firmly keeps him on the anti-hero side of things depending on the situation.
While Jason has come a long way in dealing with his anger management issues, excessive use of lethal force, and all-around troubled mindset that has dogged him from the start, he has more often than not aligned himself on the side of good when Batman and his fellow crime fighters need it most. Unfortunately for them, in DC’s Future State Jason betrayed his fellow masks and has thrown in with the evil forces of The Magistrate that rule over Gotham, but as is the case with Jason and his usual shenanigans, this betrayal might not be what it seems.
Seen in the Red Hood backup story featured in Future State: Dark Detective #2 by Joshua Williamson and Giannis Milonogiannis, Jason is immediately shown in his element as he tracks down a “mask” in order to deliver them to the Magistrate. Easily besting this “criminal”, Jason brings him in – alive, mind you – to complete his contract, and it’s here where things start to feel a bit off where his betrayal is concerned.
Mentioned here then physically seen later on in the issue, the Magistrate officers comment on Jason’s “partner” – Deathstroke’s daughter, Ravager – and how she’s the one to bring masks in dead, while Jason delivers them alive, a stark contrast to Jason’s darker tendencies, especially when murdering vigilantes is legal in this new, messed-up Gotham. Furthermore, and to put a finer point on the same idea, Jason tracks down a member of the new Red Hood gang, and during the scuffle tries to stop the man from running away, quite literally saying “I don’t want to hurt you!” and even “I can help you!”, before Ravager summarily cuts the poor guy in two. For fans this is an odd red flag for a character that should be loving every second of his new gig, giving them pause as to what Jason’s intentions are in this muddy, post-betrayal mindset.
But perhaps what’s most telling about Jason’s state of mind is that he’s awfully quiet whenever fellow Magistrate officers or even Ravager herself relish over the current situation Gotham finds itself in. Not one to usually hold his tongue when he disagrees with something, the fact that Jason neither commends nor condemns his own actions nor those around him seems to insinuate that he’s a little jaded to what’s going on, sure, but the sticking point is that his reluctance to actually act like Jason speaks volumes about how he feels about his current actions and predicament.
Coupled with the cliffhanger that Red Hood himself is now being targeted as a mask, these subtle clues strewn throughout the issue can easily be seen as Jason having more up his sleeve than he initially lets on. Could it be that Jason is second-guessing his betrayal? Or is it simply that he’s already made up his mind and is biding his time until he can join up with Nightwing’s resistance to push The Magistrate out of Gotham for good? In either case, fans won’t have to wait long for an answer.