Jason Todd, the second Robin
Hello interweb, Nate here. So due to Labor Day weekend, I have no school today so I figured I might as well do this little bio for you. A few weeks ago, I did the character bio for Dick Grayson, who was the first Robin and the Robin most people think of when they hear the name. So today, I’m talking about the second Robin: Jason Todd. If you didn’t know that it was actually thee fans who killed him, then keep reading.
Name: Jason Peter Todd
Alias: Robin, Red Hood
Occupation: Superhero, Anti-hero
Affiliations: Bat Family
Powers/Abilities: Due to having no actual superpowers, Jason Todd trained his body to peak human perfection. The only difference between Jason Todd and Dick Grayson, is that Dick grew up in a circus and thus had great acrobatic skills, Jason had none of that.
Equipment: Standard Bat Family utility
Don Newton Self-portrait
Creators: Gerry Conway and Don Newton
Published by:DC Comics
Debuted in: Batman #408 (June 1987)
When the Batman titles at the time was given to writer Len Wein, it became obvious that he couldn’t use the original Robin for the dynamic duo as Dick Grayson was off doing his own thing with being Nightwing and the Titans. So he asked the creators above if they can help him create a new Robin, and they created Jason Todd as a replacement.
Jason Todd‘s Biography
So Jason Todd original origin was rather similar to Dick Grayson’s. He was in the circus, his parent was killed by Killer Croc, Batman found him and took him in, and he became Robin. The only big difference was that Jason was (originally) a natural red-head and died his hair black after meeting Dick.
Than Crisis on Infinite Earths would happen and reboot Jason’s origin to make him less rip-offy. For those of you who doesn’t know, Crisis on Infinite Earths was a 1985 crossover reboot for DC. Not to be confused with Infinite Crisis which occurred in 2005.
Now in this origin, Jason Todd was discovered by Batman while trying to steal tires of the Batmobile. Now, Batman saw that Jason was a street orphan and realized that if he didn’t do something he would probably become a thug. So naturally, Batman took him to an adoption agency, right? Wrong! He takes Jason off the streets and offers Jason to be the second Robin. Jason agreed but couldn’t put the Robin costume on until six months of training was over. During these six months, Batman noticed that Jason had no acrobatic skills that Dick had, but he did have a lot of anger and Batman believed that if Jason channeled that anger, he could be a very effective crime-fighter.
Jason’s first adventure as Robin led him to learn about the villain known to many as Two-Face. Jason didn’t know that much about Two-Face but after some research he was absolutely furious to learn that Two-Face killed his father: Willis Todd. Jason would go and hunt down Two-Face before attempting to strangle him to death, but Batman caught up to him and calmed him down and they both stopped Two-Face together.
So Jason was quite arrogant and didn’t follow orders well. One example of this is when Bruce and Jason planned a quick get-in-get-out surveillance plan, and the have been planning this for months before going in. But once they went in, Jason ruined the plan and just randomly attacked everybody. Jason even started using guns, even though he knew Batman hates guns. This would be suppressed for a short amount of time, however, when Nightwing came and did a quick mission with Jason. After this, Nightwing would give him the original Robin suit and his phone number and told Jason to call him if he needed anything.
Jason would eventually be forced to join the Titans, and he hated it because he didn’t like how they had to make plans instead of just attacking the bad guys and he was also constantly compared to Dick. This would lead to an incident that we still don’t know the details of. A man named Felipe would rape a woman named Gloria and after being raped, Gloria would commit suicide. After this incident, Jason would go and find Felipe before we see Felipe falling off a balcony. Batman would show up soon after and Jason claimed that he tripped, but while Batman suspected that Jason pushed him, he had no proof.
The next thing in Jason’s life would be the Death in the Family
storyline where Jason was the death in the Bat Family. So after a mission together, Batman would temporarily suspend Jason from being Robin and Jason would storm out of the room in anger. Jason would then head over to his old neighborhood where a neighbor had a box that belonged to Jason and gave it back. In this box, Jason found evidence that his mom who died wasn’t his actual mom. This leads to him using the computer in the Batcave to learn about three women who has the possibility of being his mother. After this, Batman and Jason would go and find these women, but once he found the one who was his actual mother, Bruce left to give them some alone time. His mom told him that she had some important work to do so Jason left her alone but soon sees the Joker going into her tent and blackmailing his mom. Jason then followed Joker and his mom into this warehouse, where Joker violently attacked Jason with a crowbar before setting bombs inside the warehouse and locking the door.
This is the point where DC put up two phone numbers that fans can call to vote for whether or not Jason lived. Now the problem with this poll is that there where several ways to manipulate, so it’s up to speculation on whether or not the poll was accurate. Either way, the bomb exploded and killed Jason Todd before Batman could do anything about it.
After Jason’s death, Batman was so totally heartbroken and he saw Jason as his biggest failure to the point that he got a lot more violent. Because of Jason’s death, Batman was extremely hesitant on bringing in Tim Drake as the new Robin, but he agreed to it anyways.
So after this, Superboy Prime would alter reality and this brought Jason back to life (c’mon it’s a comic book, you didn’t expect him to actually stay dead, did you?). Talia Al Ghul would eventually find and recognize Jason and attempted to heal him back to health, but Ra’s Al Ghul told her to stop wasting her time as Jason was so mentally damaged. This would lead to Talia Al Ghul to submerge Jason in the Lazarus Pit (for those 3 of you who don’t know, the Lazarus pit is kind of like this magical pit of water that would give someone back their youth) and this would work in mentally healing him. There was some side-effects as he did become a lot more violent, vengeful, and a total disregard for anybody’s life.
Jason was originally going to place a stealth bomb on the Batmobile to kill Batman, but he realized that Batman wouldn’t know who killed him and so Jason went to learn deadlier forms of combat. This would lead him to come back to Gotham as the Red Hood. As the Red Hood, he went to find Joker and beat him up with a crowbar just as the Joker did to him, but he would keep him alive as the Joker could be of use to him.
Jason would go to war with Black Mask and he did try to completely get rid of crime in Gotham, but sense he was using crime to stop crime, he ran into the Bat Family quite a bit. At one point he took the Joker hostage in crime alley and he asked Batman why won’t he kill the Joker. Batman than stated that he wanted to kill the Joker and it would have been easy, but then where would it end. Jason than told Batman that if he doesn’t kill Jason, Jason would kill the Joker. Batman than threw a Batarang at Jason’s neck which would give him a light cut, but the Joker had time to set off some bombs and escape.
Jason would then resurface after Infinite Crisis and he would taunt Dick Grayson by dressing up as Nightwing and violently killing people. Once Nightwing showed up, Jason suggested they team up and Nightwing basically said no. After this, Jason would say goodbye and tell Bruce that he still saw the Bat Family as his family but no one knows where he disappeared to.
Turns out, Jason actually met the Earth 51 Batman who started using guns after Jason died. When Jason returned to the main earth, he learned that Batman has died so he started dressing up as Batman and violently gunning down people and leaving notes saying that he was the one true Batman. He even built his own Batcave where he would torture criminals to death. Eventually, Dick Grayson found him and they would have a fight on top of a train before Dick pushed Jason into the waters below and seemingly kill him (you might remember some of this from the Dick Grfayson bio).
Since Dick Grayson becomes Batman shortly after this, Jason brought back his Red Hood identity and tried to re-imagine it as he allowed it to become much more dramatic, he let his red hair stick out, and he even got a sidekick named Scarlet.
Red Hood and Scarlet would fight with violence and showed it to society as the way it should be done, and people agreed. Eventually they fought and defeated Batman and Robin (who was Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne at the time) and they would remove their masks and tie them up to reveal their identities later to the public. Soon a mercenary named Flamingo would come and attack them, giving Dick and Damian some time to escape and get their costumes back on. The two would go and try to help Jason and Scarlet before Flamingo would attempt to run over Scarlet but Jason got between the two and saved her.
Scarlet would escape and Jason would be put into custody but not before he would ask Dick why he didnit submerge Bruce in the Lazarus pit to bring him back. Jason would be moved from Arkham Aylum to Gotham Prison. After Jason arrived, suicides would sky rocket and the cafeteria would be poisoned killing 82 inmates and making 100s sick. Jason would be sent back to the Asylum before some mercenaries hired by Scarlet would come in and save him.
This would lead to the New 52 which I’m not getting into today!
- Jason held a grudge against Bruce since he refused to kill the Joker, even after Jason was murdered. As Batman noted, he never understood the Batman Code: never kill.
Comics to Check Out
If you want to read some stories about Jason Todd, I suggest reading:
- Batman: Death in the Family
- Red Hood: Lost Days
- Red Hood and the Outlaws
- Battle for the Cowl
Why I Like/Dislike Jason Todd
The thing about Jason Todd is he’s always angry and never really took orders. I also hate how he kind of have attention issues and he never really wants to fight crime to protect people but just so he has an excuse to attack people.