Red Hood and his team of Outlaws have always operated in kind of their own space within the world of Batman, their sometimes unorthodox crime fighting approach largely left unchecked by The Dark Knight himself so long as they did not kill. However, Red Hood and the Outlaws #24 may have just crossed that line with a major Batman villain.
Warning: Spoilers ahead for Red Hood and the Outlaws #24. Continue reading at your own risk...
Last month's issue set Jason Todd/Red Hood up for a very difficult emotional situation. Jason learned that his father, Willis Todd, had worked for the Penguin but more than that had been set up to take the fall for him as well sending Willis to prison while Jason was still young. After finding his father's empty grave, Jason is attacked by Penguin's men and thus setting the stage for Jason to settle the score with the villain once and for all.
No longer playing by Batman's rules, when Jason finds Oswald Cobblepot putting on his very best "Son of Gotham" performance in front of the media and the police down at the pier things get serious very quickly. Jason unmasks himself and then points his gun so close to Penguin's face that it actually clinks against his monocle and pulls the trigger.
"On the day I was born my father swore I would be a 'damned prince of Gotham,'" Jason's inner thoughts read. "Now I am."
The page is punctuated with Penguin's shattered, bloody monocle lying on the ground making it look everything like death has finally come for the notorious villain, but that may not be the case...yet. Jason's brutal act does not go unnoticed by Batman especially since the shooting was captured by the media. Batman is shown watching the news report and the footage of the shooting, suiting up to go deal with Jason himself. But while Batman sees Jason's actions as a direct violation of his agreement to not kill, it's worth nothing that at the bottom of the page the reporters note that while Cobblepot was shot at point blank range he isn't dead. Instead, he's noted at being in "critical condition".
That "critical condition" gives DC an out when it comes to offing Penguin -- considering that the character is among Batman's oldest foes it would be a bold move to kill him off -- but one thing that is certain is that Jason unmasking and shooting him live television completely changes things. Not only is he likely public enemy number one, but a showdown with Batman isn't likely to go well either so even if Penguin survives, Red Hood and the Outlaws #24 has set off some major events that will be very interesting to see play out.
What did you think about Jason trying to kill Penguin? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Red Hood and the Outlaws #24 is now available online and at your local comic book shop.