As Jason moved through the Mexican prison, he found Bunker in a containment pod. As Red Hood tried to release the former Teen Titan, he was confronted by a man called Solitary. For a long time now, in the background of the series, Solitary has been watching Jason from a distance. His reasoning? He’s Jason’s father. Trapped in the Mexican prison with his supposed father, Bunker and Wingman, can Red Hood blast his way out of this one too? Or will Underlife finally bring the Outlaw to his knees?
Solitary tells Red Hood that he always knew they would meet, and that Red Hood would be the one to take over for him. Jason replies, “You’re giving me a headache with all your metaphorical crap, Solitary. And you’re upsetting my dog.” Solitary tells Red Hood that he’s disappointed in him, which has no effect on the outlaw. Red Hood throws his crowbar at Solitary but misses his target. When Solitary comments that he must be throwing Red Hood off, Jason informs him that he wasn’t the target. Solitary turns around to see Bunker’s pod busted wide open. Solitary reveals that he was using Bunker’s powers to have better control of his Grundy clones, but he would sacrifice all of them if it meant killing Bunker. Red Hood tackles him before he can do any damage, but soon realizes that the only thing he tackled was a psychic projection. “I control perception, boy. I could be standing on your throat and you wouldn’t know it…I call myself Solitary-Because only my vision matters. My word is law.” Before he can do anything, however, Bunker attacks him with his psychic bricks, sending Solitary running for his life.
After Solitary escapes the room, Red Hood approaches Bunker, and the two reunite for the first time since Red Hood’s original Outlaws (Red Hood, Arsenal and Starfire) worked with Bunker’s Teen Titans to fight the Joker. “While you’ve never had the most sterling reputation…Red Robin vouched for you. That’s more than good enough for me.” Bunker agrees to help Jason as the outlaw runs off to chase Solitary. On his way, Red Hood is attacked by Wingman again. He tells Red Hood that even if he has to drag him back to Gotham, he’s taking him. However, before he can capitalize on the sneak attack, the prison begins to rumble. Jason looks and says, “It’s the work of a friend of mine. He’s using his power to level this hellhole once and for all. You can be part of the solution or part of the problem. But you can’t be both.” Red Hood runs off and finds Solitary sitting alone in a cell. He looks up and tells Red Hood, “I didn’t want it to end this way, Jason.” The use of his real name shakes Jason, whose perception is changed by Solitary to show him his origin. According to Solitary, he was one of three prisoners being used by the government to experiment on the human mind. However, the experiment went wrong when Lex Luthor sent his hired assassin to reclaim his stolen technology being used in that experiment. That assassin was Artemis. She allowed Solitary to live, but once he had escaped alive, he realized that something was different. “The process merged me with two other inmates into one being. I was given power for a reason. To build an empire. An empire I want to give to you, son. You see, Jason…I’m your father.” Immediately, Jason replies, “Yeah. No. You might believe every word. But that doesn’t make it true.” Jason then tells Solitary to show him his right arm, the arm on which Jason’s father had a bat tattoo to remind him to avoid a life of crime. As Jason prepares to beat Solitary to death, the dog he picked up in the prison begins barking in the opposite direction, allowing Jason to realize where the real Solitary is. Without hesitation, Red Hood spins around and throws his crowbar. The crowbar hits Solitary in the chest and drives itself through him. “No one is going to care if you die here on the dirt floor of an abandoned Mexican prison.”
After leaving the prison, Bunker, Wingman and the dog go with Jason to Roy Harper’s grave. There, Jason lays Roy’s favorite hat on top of the gravestone. “I don’t know who did this. I don’t even care. I only know that this-All this-stops. Never again, buddy. Never again.” As Jason leaves, Bunker asks him what their next move is. “Gotham City, Miguel…You three are going to go on ahead. Set the table…I have a few things I need to do first.”
With Jason finally returning to Gotham after his attempted murder of the Penguin, he must have something big planned. To brave the city that wants his head, the Red Hood must have a master plot swirling around in his head. With the addition of Bunker and Wingman at his side, it seems we’ll be getting a third variation of the Outlaws sooner rather than later. That makes me wonder if we’ll see Jason eventually starting his own version of the Justice League with an group of antiheroes. But I’m getting way ahead of myself here. For now, Solitary was proven to be nothing more than a lunatic trying to convince himself that he was Jason’s father, but now he’s taken care of and so is Underlife. It’s time for the prodigal Bat-son to return home. This is going to be a wild ride in Gotham.