With Death of the Family underway, both Batman and Joker have been extremely busy. There's another person that has been busy in all this as well, Scott Lobdell. The crossover is seeping into two of Lobdell's series, TEEN TITANS and RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS. Things won't be going too smoothly for Tim Drake or Jason Todd in these issues.
Comic Vine: How many interactions has Tim Drake had with Joker in the New 52 past? Have they had a bunch of encounters since we don't really know everything that has or hasn't happened?
Scott Lobell: I'm sure they did. Like I know you've had jobs before this one. Since we know each other, I know you work here but I don't look closely at the previous years. I'm assuming they have. It's been said that most of what happen to Tim as Robin in the pre-New 52 has happened to him as Red Robin in the current version. I think that people, to whatever degree, can align the previous Bat-continuity so most of the interactions with Joker and the rest of the stories have taken place. Only as Red Robin and not as Robin.
CV: Can we assume there isn't a personal grudge against him like there would be with Jason or Barbara Gordon?
SL: I think the extent of Joker's animosity towards Tim would be that Joker felt that by destroying Jason, he was cutting the heart out of Batman. The fact that Batman survived and suddenly there's another sidekick there to take his place, I'd imagine set Joker's teeth on edge. With his teeth being as massive as they are, that'd probably be a painful experience for him. I think that he definitely sees Red Robin as a character he'd rather had not stepped in to provide emotional support at a time when Batman most needed it. Because as we know now, that's a role that Joker sort of saved for himself.== TEASER ==
CV: Will the encounter with the Joker only involve Tim or will the other Teen Titans get involved or pulled in?
SL: The Teen Titans show up in Gotham to try to rescue Tim when they discover he's been kidnapped. The Joker, who is generally not a character that plays well with metahumans, rather than try to deal with them himself while he has all the Bat-Family encounters going on, has set up a situation that is going to keep both the Teen Titans and the Outlaws very busy. They won't have the time or resources to track Tim and Jason. Joker's set up a scenario that's pretty ingenious. I'd like to share it with you but I think that when you see it in issue #15, you'll see the extent of preparation that went into the Death of the Family as far as Joker's concerned.
CV: How is Batgirl involved in the story?
SL: Batgirl arrives in TEEN TITANS #15 because she was tricked there by Bart. She thought she was going to meet Red Robin but instead she meets the Teen Titans. She is not the least bit impressed by any of them. As far as she's concerned, she has no time to babysit these completely newbie teens. If it were up to her, she would have them go back to New York and wait for Tim. She's relatively certain that she, Batman and the rest of the Bat-Family will somehow prevail. She's only around for essentially a five page cameo before she shakes her thumb and pinky finger and tells them to call her. As anyone reading BATGIRL knows, she's really too busy to be dealing with the Teen Titans at this time.
It's also worth noting that in the New 52, the Teen Titans, none of them have been heroes for very long and they certainly haven't been a team long enough to feel their in a situation that they can go up against someone as legendary and horrific as the Joker. When Batgirl leaves, Roy Harper is going to step up and lead the team. If you've been reading RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS, you know that if Roy is the person you have to look up to, you're in some pretty dire straits.
CV: Roy is going is going to step up with the Teen Titans?
SL: Yes. He's essentially going to say, "You do this, you do that, this is how it's done." We're going to realize, yet again, Roy has much more going on than people give him credit for. Even people on his own team.
CV: So essentially we'll have a Teen Titans and Outlaws crossover?
SL: During Death of the Family, the teams cross over but unfortunately they're crossing over in a way that doesn't provide the support to either Tim or Jason who have their hands full in dealing with the Joker. The Teen Titans and the Outlaws do not meet the Joker at any point but they certainly are up to their elbows in his handiwork.
CV: Any plans to find a new base of operations now that their place has been compromised by Joker?
SL: Yes. In TEEN TITANS #17, we actually see the new headquarters. It will be on a yacht located in Chelsea Piers. That's going to be their new headquarters moving forward. No one else knows that!
CV: We haven't really seen any mention of approval from Batman about Tim's involvement with the Teen Titans. Will that happen in this arc?
SL: No. This arc is much much too full of Joker goodness. Other than BATMAN #15, there isn't much opportunity for interaction between Red Robin and Batman.
Although in SUPERMAN #15, Superman hears about the Teen Titans from Superboy and he is not at all excited about the notion of meta-teenagers hanging out together getting into trouble. In the coming months, we'll see how some of the older and wiser superheroes react to the presence of the Teen Titans.
SL: I don't know to what degree Penguin ever put a face on or a name in his pocket. Sure he sent people there to shoot up the house. He never knew this was the same kid that went on to become Tim Drake and Red Robin. I don't perceive any encounters between Red Robin and Penguin in the immediate future
CV: We've seen a few different tones for Jason, will he be able to control himself or are we going to see Jason cut loose?
SL: I don't think he loses control but I do think he certainly delivers a beat down to Joker. At least initially, when he's confronted by the Joker, the Joker quickly realizes that whatever psychological advantage he has had in the past over Jason in their previous encounters has pretty much evaporated in the last few issues since RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS started. The good news is Jason doesn't respond to those particular buttons being pressed. The bad news is it means that Joker needs to get even more creative. I think there's few things scarier than Joker unleashed.
CV: When Jason is confronted by the police in issue #15, how does he manage to keep his towel on after getting out of the shower?
SL: I actually went into my living room and moved around and did some Tao Bo in only a towel. I did manage to keep on my towel the whole time. So if I could move around like that, and I'm just a comic book writer, I'm certain that Jason, who has been trained by Batman and the All Caste, could keep his towel on. I would encourage all the readers at Comic Vine to dance around in their living room in just a towel and they'll discover, as I have, it's easier to keep your towel in place than one might suspect.
And don't photoshop me into a towel, Tony. I know how you think.
RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #15 is on sale this Wednesday, December 19 and TEEN TITANS #15 is on sale January 2, 2013.