Making a Case for Jason Todd

Posted by No_Name_ (16193 posts) - - Show Bio
What makes your favorite character interesting? Does he or she personify the ideal qualities of the ultimate hero; or are they a tortured character that hide behind a mask; fearful of revealing who they truly are? Sometimes our favorite comic characters are the imperfect ones, flawed in the way they've reacted to life which in turn makes them interesting and beautifully complex; deep, dark and brooding. Love him or hate him, the reason that Jason Todd makes for such interesting stories is because he is such a complicated and intriguing character.

When Jason Todd was  first created by DC Comics, he was a virtual clone of the former Boy Wonder, Dick Grayson. Pre-Crisis Jason Todd, like Dick Grayson, was born to a family of acrobats who died tragically. Following their death, Bruce Wayne adopted Jason Todd and he became the new Robin. However, comic fans struggled to associate with Jason Todd and as a result, following DC's Crisis on Infinite Earths, Jason Todd's origin story changed. His father became a petty crook, and the woman who he originally believed to be his mother, died of a drug overdose. Bruce Wayne virtually scooped Jason up off of the rough Gotham streets and offered him a chance to be the new Robin. During his tenure as Robin, Jason Todd struggled to realize his own identity and was often extremely reckless and temperamental as a result. Much of Jason's anger stemmed from his past as a troubled kid, his unhappy childhood, and his constant struggle to stay out of Dick Grayson's shadow. Jason seemed to personify the "middle child syndrome," constantly living in the shadow of Dick Grayson when he was Robin, and following his resurrection, struggling with his feelings of being replaced by Tim Drake. This feeling of being displaced that Jason experiences throughout his history is something that remains constant- but it's also what makes him so intriguing. It not only serves to create an interesting dynamic between Jason and the other Robin's; but also serves as a reminder to Bruce Wayne of his failures. Even in death, Jason Todd was a force to be reckoned with.  
 == TEASER ==
  In his own eyes, Jason Todd never could measure up to the standards that his predecessor Dick Grayson
had set, and this would lead to his inner turmoil. Batman eventually realized that Jason is too reckless for the responsibilities that being Batman's partner in crime entailed; something that eventually led to Jason's demise in Batman #428 the Batman: A Death in the Family story arc. It is in this story, that Jason not only discovers the true identity of his mother -who turns on him, sacrificing him to the Joker in order to save herself- but he suffers at the hand of the Joker and his infamous crowbar. The scenes that capture the young boy who wants nothing more than to be accepted by his biological Mother and the only family he has left is sad- but it is these scenes that allow Judd Winick to later draw the anger, resentment and hopelessness of Jason Todd as the lost son of the Bat-family in his Under The Red Hood story arc.

The Red Hood returns in The Red Hood, and Jason Todd came into his own. His feelings of resentment against Bruce as well as Dick and Tim flourishes in this series, and it becomes evident that Jason's death will not go unavenged. Embracing the idea that the only way to fight crime is to control it, and coming face to face with Bruce reminding him of his failures as a father.

The most recent appearance of Jason Todd was earlier this year in Grant Morrison's Batman and Robin. It is in the final scene of the sixth issue that we see the rivalry between the two brothers once again take center stage. The new Batman; Dick Grayson; Bruce Wayne's "golden child" and "Boy Wonder," faces against Jason Todd, the broken son, who in all his fervor struggled to be Dick and never could. The ultimate slap in the face for Jason is the scene where he is being arrested and Dick says "Look at yourself, Jason. You're a mess. Everything's a mess. Stop all this...and let us help you." The statement is rhetorical. There is no way Jason Todd would accept help from Dick Grayson of all people, the one person who has overshadowed Jason's entire existence.

More recently we've seen Jason attempt to take on the role of cape and cowl in Battle for the Cowl following Bruce's death, and appear as Red Hood again in Grant Morrison's Batman and Robin before being taken away by Commissioner Gordon. Since his arrest in issue 6 of Batman and Robin, I've wondered when readers will catch another glimpse of Jason Todd. How will Jason deal with the fact that the only father figure he's ever had has returned from the dead? What will he think when he realized that the role of Batman is now shared between both Dick and Bruce? 
While I may not find him to be the best Robin (his character flourished after his death,) I do think he is one of the more interesting characters in the Batman universe, what do you think?
#1 Posted by xscarletkittie (633 posts) - - Show Bio

He is definitely one of the more interesting characters and you did an amazing job pointing out all the things that make him so. Bravo! So many people just write him off which is a shame in my opinion. I find his struggle with anger and acceptance very appealing, but then I've always liked characters that have psychological issues.

#2 Edited by johnny_spam (2187 posts) - - Show Bio

I think sometimes people make the mistake of saying he was flawed but honored and stuff like Battle for the Cowl ruined him but this guy was flawed since he crawled out of the grave he's killed time and time again stabbed Onyx to prove a point and smiled at the nuclear explosion of Bludhaven just because he thought Dick was in there no matter the loss of life.  
He also endangered Bruce's life out of feelings of abandonment all of this was under Judd Winick's pen what happened was a mistake writers made which was ignore all of his violent dark tendencies to make him a morally ambiguous character and when he took that role up there was less to say about him.  
So when he is made a full on villain it is a natural transformation but many fans tend to ignore his actions as well calling them out of character as well as saying he should be redeemed when the character himself does not want to be and it is a mistake to redeem him sometimes characters  are just bad. Just because he kills criminals does not mean he is good or even an Anti-Hero he kills targets he finds that would hurt Bruce because it is against Bruce's code he is doing it to hurt someone else for his own satisfaction.
His legacy became Bruce's greatest mistake since he was killed but if he is back and normal then it is not as much a mistake so keep him a villain the young hero in "What do you get for the man who has everything?" and "Batman The Cult" is not as important as much as the Robin gone bad.

#3 Posted by daredevil21134 (15458 posts) - - Show Bio

Keep him an anti hero
#4 Posted by HometownHero (47 posts) - - Show Bio

I think you're right, as a Robin he was always more of a sob-story than anything else, and it was how his career as Robin ended that made him remembered how he is. It's also the fact that, while he won't admit it, he's still trying to be Dick. He's sticking to his guns and showing that there's no line he won't cross to achieve results, but in the end, he's still trying to prove to Bruce that he can do this. He's still trying to prove that he can beat Dick at the whole "saving Gotham" thing.

#5 Posted by Sydpart2 (1166 posts) - - Show Bio

Good article, just something, when referring to Winick's comic arc it's Under the Hood, not under the red hood. I really like the mini series they gave him over the summer through fall of this year. Winick obviously is giving Todd an Oedipus complex. Any thoughts?

#6 Posted by clumsyninja (148 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm still waiting for an epic fight between Jason, Dick and Bruce!!!!

#7 Posted by johnny_spam (2187 posts) - - Show Bio
@Sydpart2: @Sydpart2 said:
" Good article, just something, when referring to Winick's comic arc it's Under the Hood, not under the red hood. I really like the mini series they gave him over the summer through fall of this year. Winick obviously is giving Todd an Oedipus complex. Any thoughts? "
Winick's writings have many sexual elements sometimes not to good people were loving Jason and Talia and joking they should get together but when it happened it bothered them he also used sex in a negative way which seemed to cause some damage to Green Arrow after coming back and becoming a family man under Kevin Smith's run.
#8 Edited by God_Spawn (40152 posts) - - Show Bio

Winick writes him well, morrison just ruined him. Give him back to winick and make him return to anti-hero
#9 Posted by mistersarcastic (346 posts) - - Show Bio

As long as it's nothing lame, I'm looking forward to what it is they plan to do with him. And yeah, keep him an antihero/villian/byronic-hero or whatever the heck you want to categorize him as. I'd like to see him take some part in this whole Batman Inc thing. Maybe since Bruce is looking for multiple Batmen Jason could take advantage or something. But I dunno if he'd even bother putting on another Bat-suit. Speaking of costumes...can we get a revamp of his Red Hood's pretty lame and dorky >.>

#10 Posted by Dr. Detfink (542 posts) - - Show Bio

What's left for this character? Since Judd's story that led into Infinite Crisis, Battle for the Cowl pretty much said every thing there needs to be said about the character.

#11 Posted by JHags (51 posts) - - Show Bio

Good article! Jason Todd is such an interesting character...I feel like he can go almost anywhere in the Bat-universe and work well. I really like him as a villian who knows Batman's most intimate secrets, strengths and weaknesses. Couple that with the fact that Jason still holds a place in Bruce's heart, makes the conflict even more palpable to readers. The master training an apprentice who goes rogue and becomes his/her deepest regret/failure is an age-old archetype. I love how Jason Todd's character can represent this in a new era. It'll be interesting to see where he ends up for sure!
#12 Posted by Golden Cod (630 posts) - - Show Bio

As a character, he works because he's the cautionary tale.   His flaws highlight the traits that are necessary for being a hero in the DC world.   
He's the angry kid who wants to prove everyone wrong and most people can relate to that on some level. 

#13 Posted by Fantasgasmic (1092 posts) - - Show Bio

I disagree. I don't think Jason "  is so complicated" at all, and that can be seen through how easily Babs explained his entire rationale.  Jason is very obviously the "black sheep" or "prodigal son" or whatever slightly clichéd metaphor you want to use (I prefer "red-headed stepchild" because he its more literal and i love irony). 
I think Jason enjoys so much devotion from his fans because he's so straightforwardly flawed. It may sound a bit sexist, and for that I apologize, but the best comparison I can think of is the "bad boy" at school that all the girls love because they think they can "fix" him. And the biggest "fan-girl" of all was Bruce Wayne
I posit that unlike Bruce, DIck, and Tim, Jason never wanted to do what's right, he was just looking for approval. I also think that a lot of Jason's persecution complex (poor me, i was never good enough for you) is imagined, because he wasn't getting the constant approval he was looking for. All his Red Hood stuff is just the temper-tantrums of a whining child… who happens to have expert martial arts training and access to high explosives.

#14 Posted by Grendel (574 posts) - - Show Bio

I think his vote-in death was malicious and overall distasteful but his resurrection has ultimately been a failure. It was stupid and pointless and obviously meant to contend with Bucky coming back.
I wish the editorial restrictions on resurrection that existed in the 90's (Destroyed by Norman Osborn, creating a truly dark reign of unnecessary resurrections)  would return.

#15 Posted by Golden Cod (630 posts) - - Show Bio
@johnny spam: 
I sort of agree and disagree with you.   I agree that he should be portrayed as a villain but I think part of the fun of his character is that he toes the line to test what the other heroes will tolerate.   He's a villain in that he's trying to blur the line between what is heroic and unheroic.   If he were just another all-out-evil character he'd lose a lot of his charm.
#16 Posted by Fantasgasmic (1092 posts) - - Show Bio

Ever since his return, especially since Battle for the Cowl, I don't think Jason is trying to surpass Dick. I just think Jason is being a dick. 
ba-dum psssh

#17 Posted by Mbecks14 (2114 posts) - - Show Bio

I like him as Red-Hood. The crazy anti-hero

#18 Posted by spiderguylll (619 posts) - - Show Bio

Now that I think about, Dick Grayson IS Bruce's favorite...

#19 Posted by Primmaster64 (21665 posts) - - Show Bio

hmm interesting

#20 Posted by NightFang (11551 posts) - - Show Bio
@daredevil21134 said:
" Keep him an anti-hero "
#21 Posted by MatKrenz (1516 posts) - - Show Bio

Well I read in a recent interview with Winick on Newsarama that there are more stories that he will tell with Jason and hopefully they will be good.
#22 Posted by danhimself (21401 posts) - - Show Bio

I feel like Jason was the one mistake of Morrison's run on Batman and Robin....he very nearly ruined the character....I think Winnick writes Jason perfectly and I would love to see Winnick writing a Jason Todd ongoing...but he'll need to retconn the balding, redheaded, fish bowl wearing mistake that Morrison made him into

#23 Posted by InnerVenom123 (29887 posts) - - Show Bio

Can he kill Damian? :p

#24 Posted by Primmaster64 (21665 posts) - - Show Bio
@danhimself: indeed
#25 Edited by RMurray (88 posts) - - Show Bio
@Babs said:

   While I may not find him to be the best Robin (his character flourished after his death,) I do think he is one of the more interesting characters in the Batman universe, what do you think? "

I think you nailed it in the quoted statement above.
For me, Jason Todd is an enigmatic personality because he presents the Batman universe (and the characters therein) with a perfect example of failure. But to me, in a creative sense, the failure promotes a fascinating personality and a possible  villain that Batman/Dick/others had a direct hand in creating. I think revenge/redemption storylines are amazing because they show exactly how horrible someone can become and what a person must endure and sacrifice to attain that redemption. With Jason Todd, I think the really intriguing storyline is his continued downfall and what ultimately could end up becoming a perfect foil for Dick Grayson's Batman. (This particular Batman fan would really like Grayson to keep the cape/cowl for a loooong time...but that's another topic all together) Bruce has The Joker, and rightfully there will never be another villain that could eclipse the impact that The Joker has on the Bruce Wayne iteration of Batman. But Dick Grayson is still wet behind the bat-ears, and at some point in the storylines the writers are going to need to craft him his own ultimate villain.
For me, there really isn't anyone better than Jason Todd. From the creative side of things, there are so many possibilities as having Jason Todd be Dick Grayson's ultimate Bat-villain. First off, the history already mentioned. Second, Jason Todd knows absolutely everything in regards to Batman/Dick/Bruce/Batcave/Tim Drake/Damian/Alfred/Gordon/etc. He has the knowledge to really impact Grayson's Batman in Gotham, and do so with horrific consequences. The possibilities are endless, I just hope the writers would act on such a tantalizing aspect of the Batman universe. Old failures always come back to rear their ugly heads. The best thing to happen to Jason Todd was to die, die horribly, and then come back and try to be a hero but to ultimately take it too far and fail. It paves the way for a tragic downfall into villainy that I think the Batman universe could really use.
But then again, that's just me. :)
Could always give him a Yellow Power Ring and see how that flies! ;)
#26 Posted by Taylors005 (121 posts) - - Show Bio

jason is definitely my favorite member of the bat-family

#27 Posted by Primmaster64 (21665 posts) - - Show Bio

Mine too

#28 Posted by Darkmount1 (1472 posts) - - Show Bio

Simple answer: 
IN-CANON crossover with the Punisher.
#29 Posted by Dr. Maxwell (676 posts) - - Show Bio

Love the character either way, Hero or Villain.

#30 Posted by thecheckeredman (421 posts) - - Show Bio

I could care less.  I liked him better as a corpse.  Same as Bucky.

#31 Posted by batman_is_god (1192 posts) - - Show Bio
@danhimself said:
"I feel like Jason was the one mistake of Morrison's run on Batman and Robin....he very nearly ruined the character....I think Winnick writes Jason perfectly and I would love to see Winnick writing a Jason Todd ongoing...but he'll need to retconn the balding, redheaded, fish bowl wearing mistake that Morrison made him into "

I don't think it is his only mistake, but I agree with the rest. 
I like Jason alot, and would like him to get his own series.
#32 Posted by Freddy.Mercurial (152 posts) - - Show Bio

Jason Todd will eventually kill Dick Grayson...  it's only logical...

#33 Posted by weapon154 (377 posts) - - Show Bio

Please, after all the dirty crap that DC put him through, shouldn't he have a chance to redeem himself? A chance at redemption? I know he was never the best Robin, that he was whiny and a mass killer and Batman's failed son... but there still might be a chance for him to rejoin the Bat-Family, maybe even Batman Inc. He wanted to be like Dick, but the world ruined him. But there is still a chance for him to go back to Bruce, to get mental help and rejoin.

#34 Posted by GundamHeavyarms (703 posts) - - Show Bio

I guess I must be in the minority.  I never really liked Jason very much.  He always struck me as "the angry robin"  who is stuck in neutral.  He's angry at Bruce for not killing the Joker.  He's angry because he feels like no matter how hard he tries he wont be as good as Dick or Tim.  This may make him more interesting, but personally, I would like Jason to move on, to stop wallowing in all that anger, but then again, he would be a good red lantern.

#35 Posted by Duo_forbidden (1815 posts) - - Show Bio

While I dislike Jason as Robin, being Red Hood made me like him seeing him do things Batman would never do. His stories have been great except for Grant Morrison's run in Batman and Robin. I also enjoyed Winick's run with the Lost Days as well. Keep him as an anti-hero, but go back to his original outfit. I hate that Red Hood outfit in Batman and Robin.

#36 Posted by Penance13 (9 posts) - - Show Bio

Todd's one of my favorite DC characters-once he put on the hood and even more when he dressed up as batman and started shooting at people. 
He would make the perfect villian for dick-or he could finally move on to bigger & better things.
And I would imagine he'd be more of a re lantern than a yellow one...but I see your point.

#37 Posted by georgethecat (66 posts) - - Show Bio

This is a great article! Jason's a favourite of mine, as well, and I'm actually one of the mods of a tumblr blog dedicated to him. We recently received an essay from a student on Jason and audience interactivity. What I found most interesting in the essay is how it brought up that fans didn't like him as the hero, but current fans seemed to have embraced him under the transformed anti-hero. They weren't OK with the hero possibly pushing a serial rapist off a roof, but a flawed anti-hero? Yes, definitely.  
If Judd ever does get to do an Jason ongoing (which I'd be more than on board for!), that feat alone would be quite the story, especially since it seems, from his Newsarama interview that fans are actually asking for more Jason. Fans who more than two decades ago were willing to see and wanted Jason to be killed. It's a complete 180 and it shows how a character can flourish under a good writer. It would certainly make for a great story.  
Winick did say in that Newsarama interview he was going to let people know *soon* when we'd hear more news about Jason -- hopefully this announcement will be within the next week or so? 

#38 Posted by Albino494 (26 posts) - - Show Bio

Agreed, Jason Todd is really interesting. I actually really liked the idea of the "Under The Hood" story arc, and the movie was awesome too. Who ever knew a cartoon could be so mature and dramatic? He will always be one of Batmans greatest and most personal challenges.
#39 Posted by daredevil21134 (15458 posts) - - Show Bio

Looks like Jason Todd always finds a way to interest people, good or bad look at all these people that have opinions. My My...Go Jason
#40 Posted by daredevil21134 (15458 posts) - - Show Bio

#41 Posted by saiyan_earthling (5881 posts) - - Show Bio

He should be kept as an Anti-Hero. Get him back in his biker Red Hood outfit.

#42 Posted by daredevil21134 (15458 posts) - - Show Bio
@saiyan_earthling said:
"He should be kept as an Anti-Hero. Get him back in his biker Red Hood outfit. "

hell yeah
#43 Posted by mickoreo_LZ (252 posts) - - Show Bio

Definitely a compelling character. I also liked the way  DC handled his resurrection. I think the anti-hero role is best for him, no matter how cliche it might seem

#44 Posted by Emperor Gonzo Noir (19149 posts) - - Show Bio

Prison. Keep him in it.

#45 Posted by daredevil21134 (15458 posts) - - Show Bio
@Emperor Gonzo Noir said:
"Prison. Keep him in it. "

Why do haters lije coming around here so much

Stop drinking it its bad for you
#46 Posted by Mercy_ (93953 posts) - - Show Bio

Awesome job, Babs. 

#47 Edited by advocatefish (141 posts) - - Show Bio

Just saw Under the Red Hood again today. Great movie. 
Babs writing is almost haunting in how detailed and precise it unravels Jason Todd.

#48 Posted by darkcloakx (788 posts) - - Show Bio

yeah i like the movie under the hood and i think jason should have crossover with deadpool that would be funny

#49 Posted by daredevil21134 (15458 posts) - - Show Bio
@darkcloakx said:
"yeah i like the movie under the hood and i think jason should have crossover with deadpool that would be funny "

that would be epic
#50 Posted by mouradb101 (7 posts) - - Show Bio

Hey, so long as they don't turn him into a giant, stupid tentacle monster again, like they did in Nightwing, I won't complain.

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