What’s this? A post that isn’t about film? Crazy! Yes this post will be about comic books and specifically who my favourite comic book character is and explain why. It would be simple for me to say Batman, Captain America or even The Flash but instead rather I wanna talk about a character who I can’t get enough. A character who isn’t known to many that aren’t really invested in comic books but should be. That character has had a few personas over the years such as the second Robin, the Arkham Knight, and the most bad ass Red Hood. This character is Jason Todd.
Todd has had an interesting history in comics. He took over as the second Robin after Dick Grayson left to become his own hero Nightwing. While there were many physical similarities between Grayson and Todd, the two couldn’t be more different mentally. Todd was much more violent, reckless and disobedient towards Batman. He had a more tragic backstory compared to Grayson as well. Jason’s father was a criminal who eventually abandoned him and his drug addicted mother after screwing up a job for the infamous Two-Face. The woman he thinks is his biological mother Catherine Todd dies of a drug over dose leaving Jason to fend for himself. Todd like his father turned to crime. He made a habit of stealing car parts and selling them, this lead him to meeting Batman. Todd came across the Batmobile in an ally and tried stealing the tires but ultimately being caught by Batman. Bruce Wayne took Jason in and began training him to become the new Robin. The sarcastic wit and rebellious nature of Todd makes him appealing to me as a reader. It is new and fresh compared to what we saw prior. It is better than doing a carbon copy of Dick Grayson.
Moving on later into seemingly near the end of of Todds life, Batman had grown concerned about how reckless his second partner is and his blatant disobedience. Talking with Alfred, Batman suggests having Jason take some time off, Jason hears this and becomes enraged. This leads Jason on a personal journey he thought Batman would have no interest in helping with. That is to find his true biological mother after finding out that the Catherine Todd wasn’t. The woman that Jason discovers to be his true mother, is being black mailed by the Joker so Jason goes off to go and save her. His mother however hands Jason over to the Joker in exchange of being freed from the Joker. The Clown Prince of Crime however double crosses her and doesn’t let her go. Joker proceeds to beat Jason to a bloody pulp with a crow bar and then leaves him and his true mother in a warehouse with a bomb. The final heroic act of Jason is shielding his mother from the blast of the explosion. Batman turns up shortly after and we see him pick up Jasons dead body creating that iconic imagery. This was a seemingly tragic end to a character who already had it rough but luckily this wasn’t actually the end as he is resurrected, adding a whole new layer and more depth to the character.
Years after the apparent death of Jason in the comics things get a bit more complex and confusing since as we all know; comics are nonsense. In the comics Superboy Prime punches reality so hard to enter the main reality, this has many other effects such as Jason being resurrected. Jason suffers brain trauma after everything that happened and isn’t fully cognitive to what is happening. He eventually is found by Talia Al Ghul who despite her fathers disapproval puts Jason into the Lazarus Pit. After Jason is healed he was deeply confused and panicked, Talia didn’t have much time to explain as she didn’t want her father to find out so she sent him on his way. She urged Jason not to go to Batman but rather to find out that he had never been truly avenged. After doing what Talia had told him to do, he discovered that after the horrendous crime Joker had done Batman had done nothing more than put Joker back in jail. Jason began to see himself as expendable to Batman and that his death was just simply brushed off. Jason had become driven by revenge and used all of the things he had learned in his time being Robin against Batman. This is one of the most unique aspects about Jason. He is the only antagonist of Batman that was explicitly trained by him.
Eventually Jason had devised the perfect plan to get his revenge on Batman. Taking on one of the mantles of the enemy who killed him The Red Hood. Rather than out right go after Batman he influences the Gotham underworld to do it for him. This keeps the Dark Knight distracted as Jason went to locate The Joker. Once found he beats him nearly to death with a crowbar like the Joker had once done to him. After this he took total control of the drug trade and taking over the Black Masks criminal empire. He killed many people but never considered himself a murderer as the people he killed weren’t innocent. After many months of operation in Gotham and becoming a pain for Batman, Jason kidnapped the Joker and took him to Crime Alley. The place where Jason and Batman initially met and Bruce Waynes parents were murdered. In their confrontation Jason expresses his disgust that Batman brushed off his death so quickly like it was nothing. Batman explains that he put Joker through hell for what he had done, Jason becomes enraged and gives Batman a gun to shoot the Joker with who was there through all of this. Rather than go through with it he slices the side of Jasons neck. Jason flees and continues to be the Red hood.
There is so much more to this character but rather than continue giving you a play by play of his history I’d rather get into why we need to see this character on screen in a movie. He has been strongly hinted at in the DCEU with the case holding a burnt and battered Robin costume reading: “HAHA Jokes on you Batman”. This is further confirmed by the WB studios museum display that shows the costume and the plaque confirms that the costume belonged to Jason Todd. I think that if they did an interpretation of the Under the Red Hood storyline in the next live action Batman it would have the potential to be one of the best comic book movies ever made. It would be a strong emotional story that audiences could easily get invested in once they see the brutal death of Robin and him wanting to be avenged. They could also very easily simplify the way that he is resurrected. Unfortunately we are in a place where all signs seem to be pointing in the opposite direction. For example the casting of Joe Manganiello as Deathstroke says to me that they aren’t doing the Red Hood story since Deathstroke has very little to do with Jason at all. They could very easily add him to the story but I don’t see how or what the benefit of doing so is. In the end through I think seeing Batman go toe to toe with some one he trained would be just all kinds of bad ass. It would be a pretty even match and it would require Batman to use some wit to win rather than just being the biggest bad ass in the room. Lastly it would be a great mystery for Batman to solve and for once in live action we could see the character live up to the name of “The Worlds Greatest Detective”. In the end Jason is DC’s potential answer to Bucky Barnes The Winter Solider.
How about you? What is your favourite comic book character? Have they been give justice in a live action format? Let me know by starting a conversation with me on twitter or instagram @nerdycasual or just leave a comment! Thanks for reading take care.
Under the Red Hood animated film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2c9MsP3OVs