Comic Vine News

29 Comments

Exclusive Interview: James Tynion IV Reveals Jason Todd's Role During Zero Year

What was Jason Todd during back when Bruce Wayne was just starting out his career as Batman?

Zero Year is underway in Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's BATMAN. It was a little bit of a surprise when it was announced that other issues would be tying into Zero Year. For example, RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS doesn't seem like it could have a story set during this time. James Tynion IV is about to prove that idea false.

We had the chance to exclusively find out more from James. Here's the official solicit revealed for the first time:

RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #25

Written by JAMES TYNION IV

Art by JULIUS GOPEZ and RAY McCARTHY

Cover by GIUSEPPE CAMUNCOLI and CAM SMITH

On sale NOVEMBER 20 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T

A BATMAN: ZERO YEAR tie-in! There’s a dark force of nature that’s forming in Gotham City...A face laughing in the dark that will one day tear Jason Todd’s life apart. What are his plans for the Red Hood Gang? And who else will rise out of the shadows to guide Jason Todd one step closer to his destiny?

Here's what we found out from James.

Comic Vine: Given the time frame, will the issue be split among Jason, Roy and Kori or will there be more of a focus on Jason since the others might not doing much?

James Tynion IV: With the Gotham focus, this really seemed like the perfect place to delve into the history of Jason Todd on his own. This issue takes place roughly six years before the start of the New 52, a little over a year before Batman would encounter the Justice League. At this point even Dick Grayson hasn't met Bruce for the first time. I think Roy Harper is probably out there getting into the kind of repeated trouble that'll ultimately get him locked up, where he catches the attention of Oliver Queen, and Kori is likely still off-planet. So this issue is going to be 100% Jason, cover to cover.

CV: Where does this issue come in compared to the backup you wrote in BATMAN #0 that featured Dick, Jason and Tim?

BATMAN #0

JT: This would be roughly a year before that BATMAN #0 backup feature, and we're actually going to see the friendship between Jason and Chris (the kid who shot the woman Jason was comforting in that backup), as it's developing. As we saw in #0, Chris represents what Gotham is calling Jason to do... He represents the darker path that Jason is doing his best to avoid walking down... And in our Zero Year issue, we're going to see that dichotomy explored. Jason isn't sure whether or not he's doomed to become what his father and this city expects from him. He's frightened of the deep rage he feels in his heart that sometimes he can't control. He worries that at his core, he's a bad person. This issue will give him a chance to show his true mettle, and make some of the first decisions that will ultimately lead to him becoming Robin.

CV: If this takes place when Bruce is just becoming Batman, does that mean we'll just be seeing Jason during his miserable home life or while he was living on the streets?

JT: This will take place right on the border of those two moments in his life. He's still at home, with his mother, but she's not doing particularly well. His father is absent, making another one of many stops at Blackgate Penitentiary. He's doing his best to cope with all the horrible things life has thrown at him, which have all been thrown into the spotlight during the repercussions of the Zero Year storyline. Jason grew up in Crime Alley. That's never been a particularly nice place to live. Everything has been made much worse after the end of BATMAN #24, and a storm is coming to Gotham that could destroy everything... On top of that, a mysterious figure is going to enter his life in our issue, and she's going to mix him up into some fairly major trouble. Jason's young life was not a happy life, and this issue will dig into the heart of that, and help show us why he is the man he is today.

CV: Will this story just offer some background information on the characters or will it tie into current/future issues?

JT: It's very much a standalone story. If you haven't been following RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS, you'll still get a full story that doesn't require any context. However, if you have been following the story, Jason's past - his memory - is the chessboard on which the antagonists of my story have been playing their game. Something that happens right here, in the midst of Zero Year, will ultimately be crucial to the big finale of the Jason Memory-Loss storyline.

BATMAN #0

CV: Since the Red Hood Gang is playing such a big role in BATMAN Zero Year, any chance of an appearance from them here?

JT: I think that is a very, very fair assumption. The Red Hood Gang is probably my favorite new addition to the Batman Mythos in Zero Year, and once we started talking about doing a tie-in issue, I knew that they would be key to figuring out this moment in Jason's past. Their addition to continuity will give new weight to what it meant when Jason finally became the Red Hood after his death and resurrection. Their position in the city has definitely changed after the events of Batman #24, and this issue could be seen as an epilogue of sorts to that issue, at least as they're concerned. There's a reason the Red Hood Gang hasn't been an ever-present entity in New 52 Continuity between Zero Year and Present Day. If you're curious why, I would definitely pick up this issue.

CV: In the zero issue for RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS, we saw Joker possibly was heavily involved with shaping/guiding Jason's life (who knows if you can actually trust a Joker-narrated story). Could we possibly see Joker turn up?

JT: Now, that'd be fun, wouldn't it?

CV: You'll probably have to use any sparingly but what about any other familiar characters showing up?

JT: There are two very familiar, very major figures who will make an appearance apart from the ones discussed above, but they are at the heart of the mystery of the issue... So I guess you'll just have to wait and find out in November. I am incredibly excited about this issue, it's easily my favorite of my run so far. I can't wait for folks to see what we have in store.

Looks like we'll indeed have to wait. RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #25 is on sale November 20.

29 Comments
Posted by Daredevilnut

Super excited for this

Posted by batmannflash

I wish we had Kenneth Rocafort doing art for this again

Posted by JakeN7

Awesome! Color me intrigued.

Posted by daredevil21134

I hate Jason's memory lost

Posted by dondave
Posted by 2cool4fun

I hate Jason's memory lost

yeah I know, I mean Scott Lobdell did a terrible job with teen titans, did a better job with superman then the first team ( but still not good enough ), and I didn`t read superboy after the HEL tie in, so can`t judge, but the point is out of all his comics the only comic that he did true justice was Red Hood, I mean it was his freaking idea too make that comic and with those 3 characters in the first place, taking him of the comics and replacing him with a guy who made the decision to remove his memory in the first issue he did, was one of the WORST decisions DC made since starting the NEW 52...

Posted by 2cool4fun

Is it just me or do the other batman titles just wait for a chance to do a tie in so that they don`t have to make a story of there own? I mean this is probably the best tie in of them all so far, ( batgirl zero year, red hood zero year, maybe will even get nightwings zero year book ), since it`s nice too see there origins properly for once since the NEW 52 started, but seriously, I hope they lay down with the tie ins after this story arc.

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

Does Jason still kill or has he went full good guy? I kind of liked it when Judd Winick was writing him as DC's version of Punisher.

Posted by Ironhawk22

Does Jason still kill or has he went full good guy? I kind of liked it when Judd Winick was writing him as DC's version of Punisher.

I second that. I've read two issues of Tynion's run and liked it, but I really liked the crazier punisher like Jason from pre-new 52.

Posted by saoakden

I'm excited for this.

Posted by SpadesSlick

Looking forward to this. Tynion has had some good ideas so far and it's clear he plays the long game like his mentor Snyder.

Posted by God_Spawn

Does Jason still kill or has he went full good guy? I kind of liked it when Judd Winick was writing him as DC's version of Punisher.

Right now, without having read the latest issue of RHATO, Jason is full good guy. That is due to his memory loss which he hasn't taken too well to the fact that he was a killer beforehand. Before his memory loss, he was still basically DC's version of Punisher but carving his own niche having gotten away from his demons involving Bruce and the Joker until Bruce pulled his d-bag move with Jason in Batman and Robin (Red Hood) 20 and that wasn't very long after Joker acid bombed his face.

Moderator
Posted by ULTRAstarkiller

All these do ia make characters older than they should be.

Posted by taves1616

@batmannflash said:

I wish we had Kenneth Rocafort doing art for this again

i agree

Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

Just the possibility of the Red Hood Gang or Joker making appearances makes me excited for this!

Posted by entropy_aegis

Again? seriously I'm sick of all these crossovers.The Batman line is garbage at this point.

Edited by Mbecks14

I wish DC would just let Scott Snyder tell his stories without turning them into a bat-family wide crossover. The Night of the Owls and Death of the Family crossovers completely diluted Snyder's work by stretching it so thin. Plus it keeps interrupting storylines happening in the other bat-books.

But I would totally love a Red Robin zero-year that completely throws out Tim Drake's bullshit new52 origin and replaces it with the original one. I think the best thing for Tim Drake (the character that had a solo series consistently for 18 years while also appearing in two team book series and didn't need fixing) would be to pretend the Teen Titans series never happened.

Posted by Solomonwreath

@mbecks14:

I feel the Night of The Owls was an acceptable tie-in because it was an organization that had influence in Gotham and wanted to purge the city of its "rodent problem" so eliminating the family was necessary. However, in my opinion Death of The Family was a terrible way of the joker making an appearance because is with batman and he could of had achieved his little ramshackery without involving the family fairly easily. BTW ramshackery is a word I possibly made up for the purpose of this sentence.

Posted by TakeLuutzen

I wish we had Kenneth Rocafort doing art for this again

I wish he never left Red Hood.. That guy's art, man it's mind-blowing

Posted by Iron_Turtle

I've been buying RHATO from the start. I absolutely loved the buddy movie/crime caper/road trip dynamic that it brought. It was a lot of fun to read, and the outstanding art from Kenneth Rocafort certainly didn't hurt.

Despite obvious ties. It didn't feel like a bat-book. It had a clear anarchic streak that gave it it's own identity.

I'll admit I've been buying the last few issues out of blind loyalty. I really wanted to give Tynion a chance with one of my favourite books in the new 52, but I'm on the verge of dropping this book. I really don't like the direction it's being taken.

Edited by TakeLuutzen

@iron_turtle i know what you mean. It isn't the bat-book it could be. Drop the outlaws and just stick with Jason. Maybe then the book could be as good as Batgirl or Nightwing..

Posted by Shallbecomeabattoo

Really like the way they handle Jason, but I still wish they wouldn't completely omit the things he did in Morrisons run. The farther he gets as a hero, the more the things he did should eat him up from inside.

Posted by doordoor123
Posted by Iron_Turtle

@iron_turtle i know what you mean. It isn't the bat-book it could be. Drop the outlaws and just stick with Jason. Maybe then the book could be as good as Batgirl or Nightwing..

Not quite what I meant.

I don't want another bat-book. I want the anarchy that comes with group of (not quite) heroes playing the hand they've been dealt.

RHATO had it's own identity, until they forcibly pulled Jason back into the bat family with Death of the family. And then unceremoniously spat him back out again with that dumb-as-a-bag-of-rocks memory wipe.

Posted by Mbecks14

@mbecks14:

I feel the Night of The Owls was an acceptable tie-in because it was an organization that had influence in Gotham and wanted to purge the city of its "rodent problem" so eliminating the family was necessary. However, in my opinion Death of The Family was a terrible way of the joker making an appearance because is with batman and he could of had achieved his little ramshackery without involving the family fairly easily. BTW ramshackery is a word I possibly made up for the purpose of this sentence.

That's fair. It did make sense in Night of the Owls, but it did feel like a lot to me.

Edited by Kalisto

I'm very happy to see Ray McCarthy is sticking with RHATO, his inking makes everything better.

At first I didn't like the Memory-Loss because I was afraid it would stick for way too long. But I'm happy to hear it's coming to it's conclusion, and with every new issue I'm happy I gave Tynion's story chance as I'm starting to like this storyarc.

Still bit shame about Lobdell leaving RHATO, cause his run was kinda fun. And I'd much more prefer if he stayed on RHATO and finally stopped writing Teen Titans cause that title is just an abomination.

Posted by anthonygiu

I'm quite intrigued by this. I wanna see where they go with this.

Posted by nappystr8

It seems like a lot of these creators seem to be finding good ways to create Zero Year issues for their books, and Red Hood seems like the best of examples. I dropped this book after Death of the Family, but I may come back for this one particular issue as it seems like it will be expanding on Jason's back story.

Posted by DEGRAAF

And they have officially screwed up the Batman time line. I have just been hoping they would say Bruce has been Batman for roughly a decade before he helps create the Justice League but as of this interview Bruce was just getting started a year before the Justice League and Dick Grayson hasnt even met Bruce yet. So that means Dick didnt meet Bruce until Dick was in his late teens or possibly as old as 20. Seems like quite a change in the time line. Im guessing this will be a good comic but that just turns me off to the whole thing. I know i shouldnt care that much but Dick Grayson is one of my favorite characters