said: Okay, color me curious: how do you think a strong relationship could develop between their canon (pre-boot) characters?
Okay, here’s the thing: my characterization of Jason will always rely on his Robin years and the first few appearances as Red Hood. Emphasis on Robin years, so I’m that person. So I doubt anyone would ever agree with my angle. Same with Tim, where I believe the core of his character can be summed up in his tendency toward selfishness and that the main point of any development for Tim should be learning about how his assumptions about the world and people are wrong and having to deal with that.
In other words, like every character in comics that I obsess over, “my” Tim and Jason characterizations that are there but the writers never seemed capable of addressing.
I also believe that Jason is bisexual and Tim is biromantic ace. That’s generally relevant to when I ship either of them with anything so I’ll just put that in the forefront.
If I were to build a strong relationship between Tim and Jason, the very first step would have to be in “fixing” Tim’s perspective. Which, around the time of Jason’s return, wasn’t really a hard thing to do. The problem most people understandably have with Tim is that he’s an incredibly privileged perspective for a character to be from — financially sustained while male who is able to hang out with his childhood heroes and eventually become one of them himself. But Jason’s return came at the time where Tim lost all of that. He lost his family, his respect for Batman, his girlfriend and closest friend, his school and supportive friends, and then he lost the very city he was raised in and able to protect.
By any means Tim should have reached a complete realization about his life and perspective here that Steph had been trying to help Tim see for years beforehand. Tim could understand what would make good people want to do bad things, he ended up doing a lot of bad things. And, by all means, after his father had died because he was Robin and Steph had died because she was Robin… Tim should have felt his identity was poisoned. (Because Tim has this scary tendency to separate his psyche into “Robin” vs. “Tim”, and later “Red Robin” vs. “Tim Drake” vs. “Tim Wayne.”)
So Tim would have needed guidance.
And that’s where Jason would be. See, I never thought Tim and Jason’s meeting in Teen Titans made any sense whatsoever? I’m sure people disagree with me, of course, but everything Jason does has a point and… the point, I guess, was to write “Jason Todd was Here” in Tim’s blood? Yeah I know they had big long speeches between each other but the writing was genuine garbage at the time. The thing is, Jason would hate the new Robin regardless of who was in the uniform… but I cannot see him hating Tim as a person without meeting him and getting a feel for the kid first? So the brutality in the Teen Titans issue just leaves me scratching my head at everything.
If Tim felt that the Robin identity was poisoned because of the trauma it had caused him and so many others, even if he continued to wear the suit (as I believe he would regardless), he’d honestly understand Jason’s position more than anyone else in the family.
Tim is a character who almost completely lacks empathy no matter how much he cares about people — a part of his upbringing and selfishness that is reinforced and should have been a huge growing point for him throughout his Robin tenure — but this could have been the start of that. You can’t learn empathy, but Tim would try because Tim believes in heroes and that’s what a hero would be. And being in the position to hate what Robin stands for, I think Tim would begin empathizing with Jason for the first time at this point.