Saturday, December 12, 2009

Can Jason Todd Regain Glory?

So, most people know the story of Jason Todd. No not me, the comic character. Well no, most Comic readers know the story of Jason Todd, the average person wouldn't though. Whereas Dick Grayson and Tim Drake are lucky enough to have been included in Batman video games and Batman cartoons and movies, Jason Todd has not. So the purpose of this article is to give a quick review in Jason's past, his return, his present and how his future could turn out. This is a conflict of interest because Jason is one of my favorite characters and depending on how well received this is with my readers I may do more on other characters. Anyway without further adieu, lets get into this.

Jason's Past

Jason Peter Todd first appeared in Detective Comics issue #524 in 1983. He was basically a clone of Dick Grayson at that time, Grayson-lite, even both of their parents had been killed the same way, except Jason's by Killer Croc. Jason's character along with many others was rebooted in 1985 with Crisis of Infinite Earths and he was given a new background. He'd been introduced to readers as trying to steal the tires from the Batmobile. Bruce found him, took a liking to him and gave him the role of Robin after training Jason. Readers didn't take kind to Jason and felt he paled in comparison to Dick Grayson. DC Got a TON of letters about Jason's character and how people didn't like them so Dennis O'Neal decided to use a phone poll where people could call in and vote on whether they wanted Jason Todd to live or die. In a very close vote the people decided they wanted Jason Peter Todd dead, and in the well known "A Death in the Family" Jason Todd took his then final breath and was killed after being beaten with a Crowbar by the Joker and then blown up. Thanks to the fans Batman was now the Loner he was meant to be...

Jason's Return

So, Jason's dead, in his casket like most dead people and suddenly one day just wakes up. Why? Because a certain Superboy Prime is pounding on the walls of reality, changing stuff, bringing character's back to life, changing the past, making life difficult. Anyway Jason wakes up in his casket, and CLAWS his way out, breaking his nails, blood dripping from his fingers and wills his way across the grave yard, walking 11 miles until his body gives out on a street, where two people find him and take him to the hospital. Bruce meanwhile doesn't know due to him having three sensors lined in the coffin and for break ins but nothing in the case of a break out. So Jason's in the hospital in a coma for over a year before he awakes and leaves, and begins to live on the streets. It's not until Jason's attacked and his body's natural instincts kick in. While fighting an attacker, a hobo and apparent former henchman see's Jason and notices he fights like a certain Caped Crusader's young partner, so he gets word back to our favorite Eco-Terrorist Ra's Al Ghul's daughter Talia.

Talia takes in Jason, who at this point is considered brain dead. It's been three years since Jason's resurrection yet he hasn't uttered a word. Ra's tells Talia he's tired of her pet project that is Jason and she needs to get rid of him. While Ra's goes to take a refreshing dip in the Lazarus pit Talia brings Jason and pushes him in. Jason is revived with all his thoughts, a stylish gray streak in his hair, and possibly a little bit of Ra's insanity. Talia takes Jason to the furthest point of the island, gives him a kiss and pushes him into the water after telling him to swim to the next shore. When Jason arrives he see's that Talia has already planned ahead and has a room for Jason along with money and transportation. Jason steps inside and and see's his death certificate as well as numerous articles that Batman has returned the Joker to jail many times. Naturally Jason is heartbroken and enraged that Batman would allow Joker to keep living after killing Jason. So Jason vows to get revenge, not just on The Joker, but on Batman for not doing what he should have.

Jason goes on to train with the same people that trained Bruce during his eventual donning of the Cape and Cowl. Jason follows in his foot steps learning everything that Batman learned. So in other words he's got the training of Batman as well as training FROM Batman, which you'd think would give him an edge over Grayson, Drake and anyone else who's been trained by Bruce. And of course make him Bruce's equal. Over time, Jason returns to test his skills against Batman while siding with Hush, but discovers he's not ready. So he goes into more practice to train for an eventual fight with his once mentor. Oh and he beats the Joker with a crowbar. That didn't really fit in with this but it's revenge at it's best.

So at this point Jason is someone who wants Vengeance, he wants answers and he wants to be avenged. In all honesty Jason's just a tortured soul at this point, but he's not evil. Sure he's killing guys, but Drug Dealers and people who he feels deserve it. Of course this doesn't sit well with The Bat and they end up having to face off. Jason eventually makes a few appearances with the other Robin's as well, beating up Tim Drake and then saying Drake is a good Robin and killing people dressed as Nightwing before being SAVED by Nightwing was kinda lame but eh. All in all at this point Jason is your basic Anti-hero.

The Battle For the Cowl

(Will Contain Spoilers for those that haven't read BFTC or Batman & Robin #4 - 6)

Earlier this year, Battle For the Cowl started, which will be known as BFTC in the rest of this article. Anyway, Bruce Wayne has been pronounced dead after fighting Darkseid in the pages of Final Crisis. With no Batman, Gotham City falls apart because Batman put fear into the hearts of criminals. Everyone decides that Gotham needs a Batman, so they decide to battle for the right to don the cowl and become the legend that is The Batman. The battle mainly takes place between the former Robin's, Nightwing aka Dick Grayson who doesn't want to take over as Batman, Robin aka Tim Drake who believes the city needs a Batman and will take the role is necessary, and the former Robin, Jason Todd who wants the role of Batman but believes criminals should be killed and not returned to jail to continue their cycle.

Jason kills quite a few criminals in BFTC but snaps and is considered a villain at this point. Jason tries to kill Tim Drake, and also has an epic fight with Dick Grayson that was years in the making. Jason having been trained by Bruce and having the same training Bruce had basically made it as if Dick was taking on Batman. But Alas Jason could not beat Dick, and fell into the um...sea I guess. The perfect metaphor for his fall from grace. Jason would return later this year as The Red Hood taking on a sidekick Scarlet. Even here Jason was a villain yet still showed with compassion and that he had heart, and most of all that he missed Bruce Wayne. Say what you want to but Jason is still just a lost soul at this part that's gone down the wrong path, not much unlike when we were first introduced to a young Jason Todd that one day he decided to steal the tires from The Dark Knight. So as of now Jason is a "criminal psychopath" that's been locked up in the Gotham Police Department and um...for some reason has red hair because apparently Bruce made him dye his hair black. Anyway now Jason has apparently made the cross from anti-hero to villain but I believe the right storyline could easily push him back to the side of the angels so to speak.

Jason's Future?

So where does Jason go from here? There's alot of paths Jason can take and as someone who's a fan of the character I'd hate for him to become another background character that no one takes seriously anymore like Hush or Bane. First things first I say change his hair back black, I mean Grant couldn't have been MORE obvious in calling Jason the proverbial "Red Headed Step-Child" so lets get Jason back to how everyone remembers him with his Black hair. Secondly, take Jason seriously, why is he always getting his ass kicked, I've seen Donna Troy, Kyle Rayner, Dick Grayson and a few others completely own Jason. Now Dick I can understand and both Kyle and Donna have powers but you never see Batman getting owned by people with powers. And Jason should be as close to an equal to Batman as anyone. I mean honestly think about it, trained with the same people, both have been in the Lazarus pits, both lost their parents, both want justice, Jason just wants to kill those who have done wrong. One could argue Jason's crazy but one could also argue Bruce Wayne isn't the most sane person around. Also when you take into account that Jason is a master tactician and has been shown to pick his spots, he's used manipulation, he's outwitted numerous members of the Batfamily.

So how can Jason regain credibility? All depends, if you want him to stay as a main villain, do a big reveal, have Jason claim that Damien Wayne is his son. He did live with Talia, and Damian has been proved to be born in a test tube so who's to say that Talia wouldn't go for using the genetic material of someone close to Bruce Wayne is she couldn't get the real deal. After all, Damian did still Jason Todd's Robin suit from the Batcave, could that be something he did subconsciously? From then you have the battle between Bruce and Jason, you have other variables like who will Damian side with, what's Talia's thoughts on this, and where does Ra's come in, does he allow Jason to take the spot that he always wished "The Detective" would?

But that's just one way it could go. Maybe Bruce Wayne does return, and he's taking on enemies that with their combined force can eliminate the Batfamily. They have Bruce and Damian captured and both Tim and Dick as well. They finally plan on exterminating the Bat and his allies for once and all when Jason shows up to save the Batfamily. He doesn't even have to unmask, but plant the seed that maybe it was Jason, and Bruce speculates but can't prove it until finally he pops up again. Apologizing for his past, saying he's found help and that he wants to be on good terms with Bruce. Naturally Bruce would be wary of trusting Jason but as he's never given up on him before he welcomes Jason back to the fold. Then you have Nightwing, Tim and others talking about how Jason can't be trusted, then Jason mekes the ultimate Sacrifice in saving someone in a pivotal role of Batman mythos, maybe it's Alfred, or Bruce, or Dick. But he pushes them out of the way, showing he's reformed and taking the hit himself. Does he die from it or is he saved just in time? Depends on if you want to kill Jason off again or restore him as a great Ally of Batman. Either way there are numerous ways to show that Jason's return was meaningful, but will we see them? Only Time will tell.

- Jason Todd


  1. Aww man, I was really enjoying the post up until the spoiler warning! I haven't read B&R #6 yet. Drat! Since I do have B&R #6 though, I'll probably give it a quick read sometime over the next day or so, just so I can finish the article!

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  3. I put that spoiler warning there specifically for you just in case lol, cause you hadn't reviewed them yet. Glad you liked it so far though, can't wait to see what ya think when ya get a chance to finish it.

  4. This was a fantastic blog post. Even though I've read all the things about Jason Todd in the comic world, I was still drawn to your informative post. :) Your future for Jason is reaaaaaaally interesting...wonder how accurate you'll be :D

  5. Thanks for the comment :) Glad you liked it, I'm hoping for any future for Jason at this point as long as he doesn't follow the Hush path and become a no one.

  6. Alright, since I've finally gotten to B&R #6, I could finally finish up your thoughts here. I still don't really like the Damian is Jason's son angle, but after reading through your thoughts on the idea, I think it could really work. It would bring alot of intrigue to the Bat comics, I especially like the touch with Damian. Who would he side with, his real father, Jason, or his "father", Bruce. Plus we could involve all of the Al Ghuls which would make for a pretty strong x-over. The only negative here would be that Jason would remain a villain, and I just don't see a very bright future for Jason as a bad guy.

    Personally though, I like your second idea more. I don't even think you need to have Jason go through the ultimate sacrifice deal. I like him just showing up to save the Bat-family members from some kind of terrible threat. Like you said, have him apoligize to Bruce, claiming he's gotten some psychiatric help or something, and very importantly, have Bruce accept the apology. Once Bruce accepts Jason, I'd think alot of Batfans would accept Jason as well, even if characters like Tim and Dick don't immediately trust him. From there you could start up a Red Hood(or whatever identity Jason takes)comic where Jason has to deal with his own extreme urgings, while trying to make Bruce proud and regain the trust of the rest of the Bat-family. Sounds sweet to me!

    Awesome post my man! Keep 'em coming!

  7. Yeah I always felt like the other characters would drive the Damian is Jason's son storyline moreso than Damian, Bruce and Jason but like you I would much rather see Jason get the respect he deserves as a good guy with Black and not Red hair.

    The second idea was pretty much me brainstorming but I think you're right in the sense Bruce would forgive Jason if he showed up to help because hell he's forgiven Harvey and got him plastic surgery and he damn near beat Dick to death with a Bat.

    Glad my two loyal readers like my Jason Todd post, I'll probably do some more on other characters if I can get into it like I did with Jason.

  8. Sheesh, with the way Bruce is, I think he'd probably forgive the Joker if he seriously thought Joker had reformed... The way Bruce's mind works is pretty weird. On one hand he leaves Harvey in charge of Gotham and starts up a relationship with Catwoman, while on the other hand he can barely bring himself to forgive Hal Jordan for the whole Parallax debacle even though he was Hal's teammate for YEARS.

  9. I never thought about that. Bruce does have some issues, then again I think he's always been jealous of Hal so maybe that's why he was so late in forgiving him. You know Bruce wishes he had those Lantern powers to fight crime, but much like that elseworld where he gets a ring, he'd only care about Gotham and not his sector of the Universe.

  10. I think Bruce is willing to give anybody a chance, even his worst enemies, but once he feels betrayed, look out! I think Jason is the one notable exception, because I think Bruce feels extremely guilty about the way Jason's life has turned out. That's why I think he'd be willing to forgive Jason almost instantaniously. Where Bruce feels Hal failed him/everybody, I think Bruce feels HE failed Jason, not vice-versa.

    I've never heard of that Elseworlds comic before. Out of curiousity, what comic/comics was that story from?

  11. I agree, that's always gonna eat away at Bruce, because of all the people he saved he couldn't save Jason, so he immediately enters the role that Bruce's parents also had which is for Bruce to stand there helpless and watch them die. So here's hoping Jason can join the good guys again because he has such a rich character and history and yet no one who doesn't read comics knows who Jason Todd is and that sucks.

    Really? It's called Batman:In Darkest Night, and basically it's if the Bat never flew into the Wayne Study and Bruce never became Batman, and instead he got Abin Sur's ring and became a Green Lantern.

  12. Yeah, I think you're 100% right about the parents/Jason comparison. Bruce probably sees both events as VERY similar. In both instances he was completely helpless to help people who needed help.

    I really hope so... The only thing is that Jason has so much blood on his hands it would be so tough to switch him back to the good guys. You'd need a really good writer to accomplish the feat of fixing poor Jason.

    That one will definitely be going into one of my online CB stores shopping carts!

  13. Hm....If I had to pick someone to write Jason's turn it'd definitely have to be Geoff Johns or Brad Meltzer. I'd probably go with Brad because he's so damn good at developing a character. (like he did with GF and Ralph Dibny) Because you're right, lets face it, Jason has killed A LOT or people, including cops so it would take a good writer to redeem him.

    I'm shocked you haven't heard of it. I ctually borrowed some GL issues from a buddy a while back and just got to em, starts right before the Sinestro Corps war, and I read the issue where Bruce put on Hal's ring, also where the Sinestro Corps tried to recruit Bruce, and it was AWESOME!!! Lol

  14. Yeah, you def can't go wrong with either one of those writers. If it was a one-shot comic I'd go with Brad, but if we were talking mini-series or storyline, I think I'd go with Geoff. Look at the job he's done with redeeming Hal Jordan. A little over a decade ago, Hal was pure evil, having killed off the ENTIRE Green Lantern Corps, as well as butting heads with several heroes until his death.

    Oh man, I wish I was reading the current GL series again for the first time! That series has some of Geoff's best work, and that is really saying something! Let me know what part you're up too, 'cause I could talk about that series for hours!

  15. Yeah you're right about that, since I've been reading Geoff's run with GL I'm really starting to like it and he writes Hal pretty damn well.

    Well the last issue I read was when Carol was taken over by Star Sapphire's and Hal saved her and Cowgirl then after he decided to date Cowgirl he found out Carol was divorced.

  16. Yeah, only Ed Brubaker's Captain America run is better than Geoff's GL run in recent years. Geoff has such an awesome grasp of Hal, his characters and his life.

    Oh, so I'm guessing you've finished up the Sinestro Corps war then? Until I know for sure, I don't want to say anything!

  17. You're really making me wanna check out Brubaker's Cap run and I'm not even a big fan of Captain America.

    Nah it hasn't even started actually, all that was Pre-War.

  18. Dude, I'm definitely NOT alone when it comes to my feelings on Ed's Cap run. Ed's Cap run is so good that it's probably the series I'd recommend to non-comic book fans if I was trying to get them hooked on CB's. It's THAT good! I'd definitely recommend the first trade.

    Awesome! You've got some really good comic book reading in your future then! GL #25(the final part of the Sinestro Corps War)features one of my favorite CB fights EVER! Quick question, do you have the Green Lantern Corps books that cross over with GL during the War storyline? I think there were also 4 one-shots that detailed 4 members of Sinestro's Corps that went with the x-over as well.

    Oh, BTW, the quote looks great! Now I just have to keep an eye out for an angry(and crazy)Grant Morrison! ;)

  19. I'll pick the first trade up Wednesday, you've sold me on it. Man...My wallet is gonna hate you X, lol.

    Nah, I don't have them, I'll probably pick those up on Wednesday too, do you know the exact name of the issues?

    Lol thanks, and yeah knowing Grant he might be waiting on your ceiling for you to walk into a random room and pounce!

  20. Yeah, my wallet already hates me...

    OK, but fair warning, the Green Lantern Corps comics might be a little bit on the pricey side. GLC #14-18 and Tales of the Sinestro Corps: Ion, Tales of the Sinestro Corps: Parallax, Tales of the Sinestro Corps: Cyborg Superman, Tales of the Sinestro Corps: Superboy Prime. The "Tales" comics aren't necessary to the series, but they help add some background to the events.

    Damn, thanks for that horrifying visual... Now every time I walk into another room I'm going to be looking all over the place to see if Grant is hiding somewhere...

  21. I definitely want the SB Prime and Sinestro Issues but I'll grab the other two as well. I may call my friend because he's the big GL fan and hopefully he'll have them or at least a few of the GLCorps.

    Well I'm sure you'd see his long beard before you even walked in the room, plus if you offer him so food he'll probably take it and run back to his cave.

  22. Yeah, I'd definitely recommend trying to borrow those books, because like I said, most CB shops sell those Sinestro Corps War tie-ins at pretty steep prices.

    I think first thing tomorrow I'll lay out open candy bars all around my apartment. That way if I find any of them missing I'll know that crazy hermit is on to me!

  23. I'm picking them up tomorrow from my buddy, called him about it today, and the Rage of the Red Lanterns arc, soon as I leave the comic book shop.

    Lmao @ open candy bars. So you think Grant just lives off of Candy Bars and Twizzlers?

  24. Sweet, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

    Well, I figure Grant must be living off of candy and what ever small animals he can manage to ensnare in his beard!

  25. Already finished Sinestro Wars and like two issues of Rage of The Red Lanterns, today was a huge reading day for me.

    Lol @ Small animals, I can so picture him at a type writer with a roasted pidgeon and an old half eaten Nestle crunch bar beside a Damien Wayne action figure.

  26. How awesome was the final battle between Hal and Sinestro in GL #25? That goes down as one of my fav fight scenes ever because of how "real" it seemed. It was basically a street fight!

    "I can so picture him at a type writer with a roasted pidgeon and an old half eaten Nestle crunch bar beside a Damien Wayne action figure." BEST... VISUAL... EVER!!!

  27. Lovely!
    Definitely spoken for truth on taking Jason seriously. I actually enjoyed Morrison's Jason for the most part, however, the red hair thing is forever going to bug me so hopefully they just forget that stupid retcon.
    Pre-crisis Jason was an entirely different character, with a different origin, personality and to amalgamate the two (pre- and post- crisis) for symbolism is just silly.

    I don't think Jason is Damian's father, though. Jason is only like 19 or 20 years old, and that would have meant he and Talia got it on when he was 10, which is pretty much next to impossible. (Not to mention the squicky child sex abuse there, Talia!) I know she made out with him before pushing him off that cliff, but I don't think their relationship is a sexual one. I think it's more of a manipulative mommy kind of thing.

    As for Jason, I like the anti-hero route. Anti-hero is a direction and there's few of them in DC's world anyways. He can be an antagonistic guy. (Doesn't mean that he's irredeemable or evil though!) It also keeps him unique in the Bat-world and there's a lot of potential for good stories. He's never even met with Babs, Huntress, Steph or Cass since his return. Barbara would be especially interesting since she worked with him when she was Batgirl and she attended his funeral.,

    As for whether he can regain glory? Well, I'd love to see stories of him working towards good. I thought the Outsiders #44 and #45 showed that well. Jason seems to have a deep self-loathing and this need to be almost a martyr, which I think would translate very well into showing a sympathetic side.

    I'd much rather see him try and be a hero and fail if that's what it came down to, than become an "irredeemable and evil" villain with no shades of grey because a certain writer can't write his way out of a paper bag.

  28. Funny thing is, Jason being like ten when that happened never even crossed my mind haha, man... I feel dumb now.

    Lol, but seriously, I agree on all of your points, especially how Morrison wants to combine the Pre and Post crisis characters of Jason. It just seems like something he's doing just to do it, other than having a rhyme or reason. I think that was the real reason I couldn't get behind Grant's writing, and the whole reveal of him being the Red Hood was lackluster because we already knew it was Jason and he's been revealed before, it just seemed... lazy to be honest. That's why I'm excited to see Judd write Jason again because he's one of the best writers if not the best for Jason.

    You're right, I hadn't even thought about how he hasn't run into any of those people yet. I always thought a Huntress/Jason team up or relationship would work with them being so similar, and I'd love to see Jason and Cass team up, even if it was to fight Tim and Steph. I'd also be interested in seeing him meet up with Babs again, for the reasons you listed.

    I'm shocked to meet another big Jason fan like yourself because you clearly have the same feeling I do as to why he hasn't been written well for the most part when he has so much potential, especially for recounting the Outsiders stories. And I agree, seeing him as a failed hero makes him come off so much more human and relatable, because the hero doesn't always save the day. That's why people feel close to Spider-Man because he makes mistakes and the same could be said for Jason.

  29. As a big fan of Jason Todd myself, I agree with many things. First, the hair... The goddamn hair... I understand the reason to stop dying them, in order to cut from his past, but really, it's not him anymore!
    Besides, I agree they should reform him by making him save the whole bat family. If Jason joins the bat family again, it would be amazing!