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Robin: Month Two
We’ve been marching along through the month of April, and we’ve already learned about the original Boy Wonder. Now, however, things get a bit darker. As we trace the lineage of Batman’s sidekick we can’t help but come to one of the more tragic moments in Batman’s history (and that’s saying something.) The life, death, and resurrection of Jason Todd.
A street kid from Crime Alley, Jason first met Batman while stealing the tires from the Batmobile. After meeting the boy again and having him assist him against a gang of thieves, Bruce took him under his wing, hoping to spare him becoming part of the “criminal element.” Six months of training would lead to Jason finally donning the Robin costume and becoming the second Boy Wonder. However, a key difference between Jason and both his predecessor and Bruce would become a central part of his character.
Simply put, Jason was a boy filled with rage, which caused him to defy authority (mainly Batman’s) on more than one occasion, even (perhaps unintentionally) causing a number of deaths during his tenure as Robin. This rebellious behavior would reach a fever pitch, when Jason opted to perform his own investigation into his past during the Death in the Family storyline, that saw Robin beaten nearly to death by The Joker and left for dead in a warehouse rigged to explode.
The Death of Jason Todd (voted on by the fans, though it would appear there were fraudulent votes that tipped the scale) would haunt Batman for years to come, in more ways than one.
Before moving forward, let me clarify that this is Jason’s pre-Flashpoint origin. His post-Flashpoint origin has many of his biggest life events orchestrated by The Joker, (though this is coming from The Joker, who may or may not be a reliable source.) Regardless, Todd ends up dead. This brings us to current Jason Todd and his life as a costumed vigilante known as The Red Hood.
Following his resurrection, Jason took it upon himself to avenge his own death after feeling Batman did not do so, by killing The Joker. Eventually, this anger towards the Joker transferred to his former mentor, then to his replacement, and then predecessor, and even the Teen Titans, of which he was briefly a member. Jason’s rage seemed to know no boundaries, though in the few instances it subsided, moments of clarity revealed that Todd was a more tragic character than he let on, simply lashing out at others for the pain he felt.
This was the case until the infamous Battle for the Cowl, where Jason attempted to fight his other brothers for the mantle of Batman, after his apparent death. Donning an armored version of Batman’s costume (Gatman) he would become the driving force behind Dick Grayson taking on the cowl and becoming Batman after defeating Todd.
Eventually, after another failed attempt at taking down Batman (along with his own sidekick Scarlet) Jason would ride off into the sunset…and then suddenly, Flashpoint! In the new continuity, Jason is still Red Hood, though a few changes were made to his history, and following his resurrection, Todd was taken to an ancient sect of warriors known as the All-Caste to train and help him channel his anger, to a great deal of success.
Though still not 100% cool with the entirety of the Batfamily, Jason often doesn’t shoot at them, so that’s a step in the right direction. It is also in this continuity he leads a ragtag group of outcasts consisting of himself, Arsenal (Roy Harper, formerly Speedy,) and Starfire known as The Outlaws. Taking on a more mystical side of crime-fighting, Jason is following his own path to redemption. Saving the world, is just a bonus.
So, there you have it folks. If you’re hungry for more, Jason is also featured as the main antagonist in the animated film “Batman: Under the Red Hood” and if any of this got you curious to read the ongoing adventures of Red Hood, you can also check out Red Hood and The Outlaws.
That’s two Robin’s down, two to go as we take another step closer to the release of Robin: Son of Batman. Next month, we take a look at the leader of the Teen Titans and what his place in the DC Universe is all about. See you next month!