One night, in the East End of Crime Alley, Batman is out and about doing Batman things. As he finishes up for the evening, he returns to his Bat-Mobile only to find a young boy attempting to the steal the tires. That boy was Jason Todd. Fearing that this boy, who was pretty much on his own, would become just another criminal birthed by the mean streets of Gotham, Batman decides to recruit Jason in taking the place of Dick Grayson as the 2nd coming of Robin.
Not only does Jason accept, he proves himself to be just as formidable a crime-fighter as Dick was. However, he tends to frequently struggle to act with the same sort of resolve that Batman and Robin were always known to have. This was no doubt in part due to Jason's problematic upbringing.
"He knew that Jason Todd was NOT Dick Grayson. It wasn't about skill, or about endurance, or even their will to succeed. No. It was that Jason had a .mean streak.' Jason was dangerous." - Alfred Pennyworth
Jason was often impulsive, bad-tempered, and overly aggressive which caused him to be at odds with Batman. It also put him at odds with readers who, at the time, seemed to greatly prefer the more good-natured and optimistic Dick Grayson. This distinction in character would inevitably lead to Jason's death.
In 1988, Jim Starlin and Jim Aparo crafted a 4 issue run on Batman (426-429) titled Batman: A Death in the Family. The story begins with Batman and the new Robin having another argument in regards to Jason's behavior. Jason storms off and returns to Crime Alley where he receives information that his mother may still be alive. Jason sets out to find his mother which eventually leads him into a trap staged by the Joker.
At the end of issue 427, DC actually attached a call in number where readers could vote on weather they wanted Jason to live or die. Ultimately it was the fans who chose to end Jason's life at the hands of the Joker.
One thing you learn as a comic reader is that heroes usually don't stay dead for long. The same can be said for Jason Todd. That brings us to my essential read for the 2nd Boy Wonder.
Batman: Under the Red Hood - Judd Winick (click title to read)
"Batman is confronted with a hidden face from the past — it's the return of the vigilante Red Hood, who appears to be Batman's one-time partner, Jason Todd, the same Jason Todd who died many years ago. But the Red Hood's violent ways pit him against the Dark Knight in his hunt for the very person responsible for his death: The Joker."
DC also came out with an animated film by the same name, but like most cases, the books is just better. Jason's return to Gotham is thrilling / chilling read from start to finish as he looks for revenge and takes on his own brand of justice in ways Batman never could.
"You can't stop crime. That's what you never understood. I'm controlling it. You wanna rule them by fear, but what do you with the ones that aren't afraid? I'm doing what you won't, I'm taking them out. - Jason Todd -
While this book references A Death in the Family as well as Hush, they are not necessary to have read beforehand to enjoy this read. There is also a prequel written by Judd Winick as well titled Red Hood: Lost Days.If you've got nothing better to do you might as well just enjoy them all!
Hope you enjoyed this read and be sure to check out the other Robins too!
written by Evan Woicik @ EVRD