Not only is Jason Todd expelled from the Batman family, but the new direction in Red Hood and the Outlaws will apparently unite Jason with Roy Harper again.
Readers were already told in solicitations that Red Hood and the Outlaws #26 would usher in a "bold, brutal" direction for Jason Todd, with new weapons, a new costume and a new mission. Artist Pete Woods will start drawing the title with #26 in September, and DC started hyping the design for Jason Todd's new costume with advertisements this week.
But the final page of this week's Red Hood and the Outlaws also surprisingly revealed that Arsenal is returning to the title, at least as it kicks off the new direction. And a back-up story reveals that Ma Gunn is actually Jason Todd's grandmother - and it's implied that Jason Todd just might run into his father again.
So why is Jason Todd out of the Bat-family and out of his spandex superhero clothes?
Let's take a look at the spoilers for this week's Red Hood and the Outlaws #25.
Retcons Up to this Point
In the last few issues of Red Hood and the Outlaws, Jason Todd has learned that his father Willis Todd actually did love him, having written to him from his prison cell.
(Sidenote: This is all a bit of a retcon from previous continuity, in which Jason's father had been a petty thief who abandoned him and his drug addict mother. This new information simply adds to the previous info. Willis didn't abandon them, but he instead went to prison when he was working for the Penguin to try to make some money for his family.)
Jason discovered all this new information when Ma Gunn arranged for Jason to receive letters that Willis had written to him (years ago) from prison. After reading them, Jason chased down the Penguin, who had set up Jason's father to go to prison.
In July's issue #24, Jason Todd shot the Penguin in the head.
As the issue ended, the TV announced that the villain was in "critical condition" and Batman had just watched the attempted murder live on TV.
The "Rebirth" version of Red Hood and the Outlaws has featured what series writer Scott Lobdell has termed the "Dark Trinity" - Jason Todd, Bizarro and Artemis.
As this week's #25 opens, Artemis and Bizarro are fighting the defenses of the team's headquarters, which have gone awry.
After a flashback where Jason Todd saved Batman's life while he was Robin, the Red Hood is shown being apprehended by the Gotham City Police for the attempted murder of the Penguin.
But he makes his escape after the police notice the giant building floating above Gotham (the aforementioned HQ gone awry).
Built by Bizarro when he was temporarily intelligent, the building's safety protocols have caused it to begin counting down to self-destruction, which will kill thousands of innocents. Artemis and Bizarro try to stop it, and Jason Todd jumps through the air toward where he thinks the now-invisible building is located.
Bagged by a Bat?
Jason doesn't land on the floating headquarters because he's stopped in mid-air by Batman.
"I was a fool for ever believing in you," Batman says, hitting Jason. "We had a deal. You could operate in Gotham City, you could stay free, if you didn't kill anymore."
(If this "do not kill" thing sounds familiar to Bat-book readers, this Red Hood and the Outlaws issue actually addresses that. Batman points out that although Batwoman killed Clayface in a recent issue of Detective Comics, she didn't do it live on television […. and, to be fair, she did it because Clayface was about to kill Tim Drake].)
Anyway, Batman continues hitting Jason and announces that his time as Red Hood is over.
But Bizarro shows up and ta-da!
Batman gets punched through roof of Gotham building.
Next, the three "Dark Trinity" members try to stop the headquarters’ self-destruction unsuccessfully. But Bizarro figures out that he can perhaps drag the power source of the building through their teleportation doorway.
It works. But Artemis and Jason know they need to help him. Artemis decides she should follow Bizarro but Jason shouldn't. She gives Jason a kiss before throwing him out of the building.
As the HQ and Artemis are dragged through the portal, Jason is alone on a rooftop.
Only… he's not alone. Batman is there.
The Dark Knight punches Jason, knocking him out.
But a red mist appears. Someone else is on the rooftop.
An arrow hits Batman and he falls.
It's Roy Harper. He lifts Jason and says, "I got you buddy."
The story of Jason's father continues. Ma Gunn is visited by a ghostly figure of Willis, who say he can't stay long because his "omnipresence" has its limits. Ma Gunn calls Willis her son and Jason her grandson.
Willis is apparently still alive. Earlier in the Red Hood series, it was revealed that Willis volunteered to be part of experiments done on prisoners. The implication was that Willis had died in the experiments, and another scene implied that both Artemis and Lex Luthor were also involved in these experiments.
But now it looks like Willis survived. And Jason Todd's father apparently has superpowers.
With issue #26, the new artist and new direction in Red Hood begin, and in October's issue #27, Jason "gets a fateful message from the last person he expected to see again." Could that be a message from Willis? Or will this story thread be picked up later?