EDIT of a page from Red Hood and the Outlaws #6, just ‘cause it makes more sense to me like this, since Jason was having flashbacks about Dick & I was left wondering exactly why that was..
Why can’t this have been the actual dialogue for this page?
Don’t get me wrong, issue #6 is a pretty damn good issue, but I have mixed feelings about this page. They mainly pertain to the dialogue of this page and what the writer/s were trying to convey. This fan-version really highlights what the actual page had the perfect opportunity to do but didn’t.
For one thing, the question Jason asks makes far more sense. It sticks way more closely to previous canon and it honestly comes across as something Jason would actually ask. He’s always had this insecurity about himself and his relationship with Bruce and Dick, this issue even goes out of its way to highlight some of that, so why not bring that theme back around for the second flashback? Why not tie the whole issue in together?
Secondly, the other incredible thing about this change is that it gives more meaning to the previous flashback Jason has in the same issue, the one of him and Dick arguing on a rooftop over their perceived importance in Bruce’s life. While that flashback on its own reveals quite a bit about Jason and Dick’s relationship, when it’s combined with this altered scene, it’s actually given even more depth. It’s revealed that through all of the adolescent chest-puffing and assertiveness Jason did around Dick, he was probably really scared. Jason was the second Robin. Runner-up, replacement, substitute, whatever word you want to use, in the end Dick will always be first.
Underlying all of that tension and desperation to prove himself, Jason was probably terrified that if Dick ever decided that he wanted to come home and reclaim his prior persona, Bruce would let him.
But then where would that leave Jason?
Add that with Jason’s history of parental abandonment and living on his own on the streets, and suddenly you’ve got quite the bundle of emotional issues.
And finally, this change also adds more to the theme of “living under someones shadow/being defined by others.” Since Jason is the second Robin, he’s had quite a lot to live up to. Every Robin after Dick is inevitably compared to the first, because he is usually considered the best/the standard. (Whether this is actually true or not is open to debate). It would stand to reason that Jason probably felt like he was constantly being compared to Dick. It would explain a lot of his animosity towards Dick in the first flashback, (because seriously, who was Dick to tell him how to do his job when Bruce wanted him, not Dick?) That aspect plays in nicely with the wording of the question itself. “If it had been Dick … ” Even the question itself begins and ends with Dick, which obviously causes Jason nothing but grief and pain.
A change like this highlights these all of these things beautifully, because then once you take these flashbacks (and UTRH, if you want) into account, it becomes far easier to understand why Jason is asking such a question as well as how it relates to the rest of Jason’s characerization. After everything he’s been through and realized post-resurrection, this is all what it comes down to. “I wasn’t important enough to you.”
Plus, you know, it helps to tie things in with Nightwing swinging in it at the end with a “No.” The actual page makes it sound like Dick’s shouting at Jason to stop, but in this version, multiple meanings could be interpreted from that one word.
This change just honestly makes far more sense to me, as a fan and an amateur writer.
/Did I seriously just write an essay out of a re-done comic book page …
Those are some very good thoughts :) And yes, this page is way better. I don’t even know how you screw up something as vital as Jason’s motivation?! :| There’s really not that much material to read up about him as the Red Hood and if you don’t have the time anyway watch the film at least. And these people are getting paid to write such dialogues… :( And what is the editor doing? Did they even look at this?
Or the worse option - is DC actively trying to CHANGE Jason’s motivation in the reboot? If so, there are no words…
SPOILERS for Batman 416, Nightwing Year One and a post Jason’s death Teen Titan issue(s?) the number of which escapes me:
About the relationship Dick and Jay had though, I can’t pretend to have read every issue with them pre Jason’s death, but at least Batman 416 shows Dick giving Jay his own Robin uniform, and saying he could wear it when he grew into it. They also cooperate to take down some crooks and bond over Bruce’s inability to talk to people properly. Dick gives Jay his phone number and says he can talk to him whenever he feels he needs support of someone who knows what he’s going through. And throughout the issue Jason isn’t bratty to Nightwing at all. He’s curious about him and rather friendly.
Nightwing Year One does a lot of things badly, but also has good moments. Jason is a brat trough a lot of it (Jason was the bad Robin - DID YOU KNOW? DID YOU? - screw you DC, seriously, screw yourselves), but in the end they still do cooperate and Jay even brings him the updated Nightwing suit Alfred made for him.
After Jason’s death Dick is devastated (I haven’t read the whole issue, only some panels). It goes way beyond “poor kid, oh well”, he cries and he’s angry. He even roughs up Danny (whoever that is xD, I really am a noob to the TT) for dismissing the importance of what happened. He later goes to Jason’s grave with Kori and he goes all “I should have been there for him” and feels very guilty.
As I said, there’s a ton of issues that I haven’t read yet, and they might underline the rivalry aspect more, but what I listed shows that things weren’t as straightforward as “we’re rivals for Batman’s affection and we hate each other’s guts”. Would uncertainty about filling Dick’s shoes be a thing for Jay? Probably. It’s difficult to come after someone considered the prefect Boy Wonder. And yes, he has abandonment issues because of his family. Would he try to show he’s better than Dick? That’s also convincing. So in the end I’d say his feelings for Dick are probably a complicated mix - there’s some jealousy, some rivalry but not an out and out hostility. There’s probably even some admiration and a need to impress also him, not just Bruce (though I may be reaching here, as I said, still have a shit ton to read).
Dick at least in Batman 416 doesn’t blame Jay for replacing him. He blames Bruce for conducting the whole thing behind his back and also saying he can’t deal with a partner as young as Dick when he was 19 (in fact it was all about Bruce being upset the Joker shot Dick and wanting him to be safe and lead a normal life, because he got so attached to him he didn’t want to lose him) and then taking a younger boy in right after that. Would he be jealous of Jay? Possibly, but in the end he wanted to help him and give him the understanding and support he himself was lacking.
Well, DC is known for trying to show Jason as more of a brat than he actually was, but that’s just oversimplifying things. Also if they really want to make Jay’s relation to Dick so straightforwardly hateful, they should at least write better dialogues. Jason is actually pretty good at subtle insults so he’d try to annoy Dick, to needle him and drive him up the wall this way. And not just yell that Batman prefers him…
TL;DR by someone who has a lot of feels but hasn’t read half of what she should… um sorry? xD