Jason Todd – Red Hood

This weeks DC Showcase Series is going to cover DC Comics resident bad boy and everyone’s favorite DC Anti-Hero, Jason Todd (Red Hood).  What is the fascination with the on again off again ally of Batman? The former protege of The Dark Knight that once held the moniker of Robin has surely gotten the attention of many comic book fans and is one of the most popular characters in DC Comics history. Jason Todd is probably the second most popular Robin after Dick Grayson (Robin, Nightwing) and I feel his popularity is due to his interesting back story and the very popular comic – “Batman: A Death in the Family”.  

Jason Peter Todd was introduced in Batman issue #357 back in March of 1983. Jason Todd grew up in Gotham City with a crook for a father and a mother who was severe drug addict. After Jason’s father finished a prison stint he abandoned him. Jason turned to a life of crime, much like his father, in order to take care of his mother.  One night while out on patrol, Batman encounters young Jason trying to steal the tires for cash off the Batmobile. After Dick Grayson left to become Nightwing, Batman was left without a partner. Jason Todd as Robin was introduced in Batman #366 in December 1983. Jason is much different from Dick though in that Jason is very impulsive and full of rage. Batman sought to help Jason use his rage against criminals and decided to train him as Robin. This would prove to be more of a challenge than Batman had realized though due to Jason’s reckless and impulsive behavior, he was at constant odds with Batman and even jeopardized missions. Batman has long held a strict code against using firearms or killing his enemies, this was something Jason did not agree with. There were times in the comics that he would use firearms and even potentially killed a known rapist. Though he was reckless and defied Batman on more than once occasion, Batman held pride for Jason and considered him a friend and ally.

As stated before Jason Todd -Red Hood is one of the most popular characters in DC Comics but that was not always the case. In fact DC thought he was so unpopular that they allowed the readers to decide the characters fate. So in 1988 they did just that and set up a 1-900 number for readers to call in and vote the fate of Robin during the Batman: Death in the Family #426-429. In the series Jason learned that his mother was not his birth mother at all. Robin leaves to find his real mother who turns out to be a crook just like his father and not much better than the mother he originally thought to be his biological mother. As Robin arrives to see his mother, she hands him over to an awaiting Joker.

For several days the young boy is beaten and tortured by the Joker with a crowbar. In the Arkham Knight game Jason feels the Joker needs to die and sets out kill him. Joker tortures Robin in the same manner even going as far as branding the letter J on his face. In the comics Jason is strapped to a chair with his mother and left to die by the Joker who has rigged the place to blow with a bomb.  Batman is alerted to Robin’s location and races to save him from the Joker. Fans were then asked to vote – Save Robin or Robin Dies. When all the votes were tallied the fans decided, by a slim margin, that Robin should die. In issue #428 the bomb explodes before Batman can arrive, killing Robin. The iconic scene of Batman carrying out the lifeless body of Robin is one of the most popular moments in Batman comic book history.

The killing of what was thought to be an unpopular character turned out to be the wrong one as DC received hate mail from fans. Even Frank Miller expressed his displeasure with DC killing Robin. It was later discovered the entire voting poll was compromised and someone had set up an auto dialer to vote no every 90 seconds. Has this not have happened then Robin would not have died and we would not have Jason Todd as Red Hood. As a fan of the character I applaud this cheater as I am sure many fans do.

The loss of Robin was one that Batman held very personally. He took full blame for the death and considers it his greatest failure for not saving him from the Joker.  Jason Todd was very much dead but 17 years later DC Comics decided to bring the character back from the dead.  Jason would make his debut as Red Hood in Batman #635 February 2005.  After Superboy – Prime changes reality, this allows Jason to return from the dead. He is discovered by Talia al Ghul who uses the Lazarus Pit to fully restore his health and memory. During this time Jason learns that Batman never avenged his death and that the Joker is still alive. This angers Jason who vows revenge against Batman and sets out to destroy him, becoming the Red Hood. In the Arkham Knight game, Joker does not actually kill Jason but makes Batman think he did. Jason still blames Bruce/Batman and sets out to expose him and eventually kill his former mentor.  Red Hood is further enraged that Batman acquired a new Robin (Tim Drake) to carry the name. Red Hood captures Joker to lure Batman to a confrontation. When Batman arrives Jason with pain and anger in his voice ask’s Batman why he didn’t avenge him. Asking why does he continue to let Joker hurt the ones he cares about and never kill him. Batman explains that that is a place he can never go to but he has had thoughts about it.

So now that we have gone through the history of Jason Todd and his turn from Robin to the Anti-Hero Red Hood, lets explore some other facts that you may or may not have known about.

  1. Jason Todd is not the first person to use the Red Hood name. The Joker once went by the name of Red Hood. 
  2. Jason was thought to have returned from the dead in 2003 but it was actually Clayface assuming the identity of Jason
  3. He has stolen the Nightwing persona and actually murdered people while using the name, He also was known as Red Robin, and even became Batman at one point
  4. He was trained in the same manor as Batman all over the world
  5. He formed a group known as The Outlaws
  6. His fear of Joker actually inspired him to call himself Red Hood
  7. Due to his time in the Lazarus Pit, he no longer ages and regenerates from injuries faster
  8. Of all the Robin’s  – Joker liked Jason the most
  9. Jason was the shortest Robin before he died and he’s currently the tallest one
  10. In the Arkhamverse he was Arkham Knight before Red Hood

Those are just 10 facts that you may or may not have known about Jason Todd. There are many many more out there and I urge you to look deeper into this character. Jason Todd as Red Hood was the basis for the very popular DC Comics animated film ‘Under the Red Hood’ played by Jensen Ackles. He also was one of the primary antagonists in the Arkham Knight video game though he goes by the moniker Arkham Knight at first rather than Red Hood. In the 2016 film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice , you can see Jason’s Robin outfit displayed in a glass case with the message “Ha Ha Ha, Jokes on You Batman” written on it. I truly feel the DCEU might have something planned for the character and we might even seem him show up in the next Batman film.  I actually would love to see him show up as the Arkham Knight. I loved the story during the game and his outfit is one of the best I have seen. I do like the look he has in the game after he becomes Red Hood as well.  With the popularity of the character where it is today then I feel the sky is the limit either in Live Action movies or more animated film.

I really hope you enjoyed this look into Jason Todd and if you have not already then please check out the other DC Showcase Series entries, Superman and Flash.  Each week I will dig deep into the lore and mystery behind your favorite DC Comics characters. If there is someone you would like to know more about then please comment below or message me on Twitter @fictionfight and I will make sure your request gets written.  Please continue to follow MFST for all of your Entertainment news!

 

 

Check out awesome Red Hood gear by clicking the links:
DC Comics Batman Red Hood Basic Logo T-Shirt

DC Comics Batman Red Hood Logo Contrast Visor Snap Hat

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