Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist: Pete Woods
Colors: Rex Lokus
Letters: ALW’S Troy Peteri
Covers: Cully Hamner; Yasmine Putri
Editors: Rob Levin; Jamie S Rich
Publisher: DC Comics
****************Warning: Triggering material and potential spoilers**********************
As I was reading this issue a thought occurred out of the blue: Jason’s going to kill himself. At first I wasn’t sure why I would think that but then I began looking at the series of events up to this point, through the lens of post-Red Hood and The Outlaws 25. Once that clicked everything else began to make sense: Jason returning to Gotham and crippling Penguin’s empire so that other children don’t end up in the middle of Gotham’s constant gang warfare; giving away his fondest memories; setting things up so that all of his former enemies are put on the path to the straight and narrow, the chance his biological father, Willis Todd, never had; reaching out to Isabel Ardila and having just one normal relationship with someone who knows and accepts who he is, in every sense. If I’m right, and I think I am, then I have to give Scott Lobdell credit for a: showing the effect of depression and loss, b: showing the effects of Bruce Wayne’s terrible parenting, especially when it comes to Jason and Damian and c: threading this in under everything that’s been going on so skillfully that I almost missed it completely.
Another reason that I’m wondering what exactly Jason’s planning is the return of Essence, which comes to a head in this issue. Essence was Jason’s first love (possibly his one true love at that) and, I suspect, he was hers. She knows him better than most and for that reason her words have weight. So, when she says that she knows whatever Jason’s planning isn’t what anyone else thinks it is? I believe her. Tellingly she flat out states she’s there to bring Jason home to the Hundred Acres of All and not to kill him. Why? Why are she and Ducra so worried and devastated by whatever Jason’s planning? It just doesn’t bode well.
Woods, Lokus and Peteri give us some wonderful art, letters and colors that emphasize Essence’s otherworldliness to an excellent degree. We also get some great visual cues about events as they’re about to happen: Essence’s entrance alone is fantastic and the battle that ensues between her and Jason is appropriately epic.
As this arc come hurtling to a close, Jason gets an unpleasant surprise and I get a increasingly bad feeling about his end game.
Five Safes Out of Five
P.S. If they’ve killed Jason’s dog I swear by all that’s holy…