Batman: Three Jokers continues to unravel its strange DC Comics canon mystery in issue #2, and there are certainly several big developments that writer Geoff Johns packs into the second chapter. Of the many macabre and frightening things that happen in Three Jokers #2, the most uncomfortable scene for longtime Batman fans may actually have been the major romantic kiss that takes place in the issue. After the shocking ending of Three Jokers #1, Jason Todd/Red Hood is on a rampage to end the mystery and/or scourge of the three Jokers terrorizing Batman - leaving Batman and Batgirl to hunt him down. That's when things get weird...
Warning - Batman: Three Jokers #2 SPOILERS Follow!
Unfortunately for Batman and Batgirl, Red Hood is already several steps ahead of them. After brutally murdering the version of Joker that once brutally tortured him and left him for dead, Jason Todd is on the hunt for the remaining two Jokers. He tracks them to their hideout at the Gotham City Athletic Association and discovers of the horror show of Gotham Citizens soaking in a literal pool of chemicals that make them all into Joker clones. History repeats itself, as Jason is ambushed, captured, and brutally tortured by the remaining two Jokers.
By the time Batman and Batgirl track Red Hood down, Jason is a bloody, battered, mess. Even worse, Jason's mind and emotions are genuinely rattled by what the Jokers did to him - to the point that he rejects Bruce and admits to the massive resentment he still feels over Bruce never finding or rescuing him. Despite that blow-up, Bruce and Barbara still take Jason home for care - or at least Barbara does. Bruce is too obsessed with Joker to give his attention to Jason, but Barbara is a little more compassionate.
In one of the better scenes in Three Jokers, Barbara Gordon and Jason Todd have a heart-to-heart about what it means to have been damaged by the Joker (in the now-famous The Killing Joke and Death In The Family storylines) - and why they each have healed so differently. The crux of that conversation is that after being crippled by Joker, Barbara had a circle of allies, friends, doctors, etc., which helped her reclaim her mantle as Batgirl, while Jason had to go it alone in order to become Red Hood. Barbara acknowledging that distinction means a lot to Jason, and in that touching moment, the two manage to spark a romantic kiss! The passion doesn't last very long, at all. Barbara immediately cools things off, telling Jason it was just a gesture of affection and not romance. The two quickly get back to crimefighting, as the Jokers are still loose.
For fans of the Batman family, seeing Barbara and Jason Todd lock lips is a little weird - but also not. The scene resonates so well because writer Geoff Johns does manage to highlight a major connection between Jason and Barbara that most Batman stories do not. Given the shared histories of Barbara, Jason, and Dick Grayson, this kiss is also a potentially weird romantic triangle between the two Robins that could pay off later.1comments
...Then again, Three Jokers may have set Jason up for a later dark twist, as we don't fully know what those two Jokers did to him during his capture.
Batman: Three Jokers #2 is now on sale.