“You wanted to bring me here…to the worst place in the world…”
Jason isn’t the brutal, callous avenger he presents to the world. But “brutal, callous avenger” isn’t just a facade, either. It’s a complex collection of symptoms.*
Jason’s body has recovered from the Joker’s many assaults, but in his mind, his heart, the wounds are just as raw as ever. What’s more, they’re right there for everyone to see, but no one notices because Jason’s symptoms are *useful,* to him as well as his allies. Jason is able to remain high-functioning because of his trauma, not in spite of it. He doesn’t hide anything— Jason’s heart is on his sleeve, all the time. But everyone, including Jason himself, sees his bloody sleeve and thinks it’s armor. That’s why Bruce and the rest of the Batfam see him and they think he’s fine.
The heartbreaking thing about “Batman and Red Hood” is that both Bruce and Jason are in the right. If Jason knows anything that could help bring Damian back he should try to find it, but the way that Bruce asked him was so shocking, so crude, so totally ignorant of Jason’s inner turmoil, that Jason was triggered almost in spite of himself.
And how does Jason react when triggered? By kicking ass, stealing a jet, and running away.
The brutal, callous, high-functioning avenger.
* Jason has a serious case of post-traumatic stress disorder, no doubt. Others have suggested he might suffer from psychotic episodes, though this could also be explained by inconsistent characterization and bad-writer-itis.