Kara here. Today I’d like to talk about one of the little-mentioned characters who appears on Young Justice (well, sort of): Jason Todd.
That event catapulted him into history as one of the most memorable of Batman’s right-hand vigilantes. And that is where we find him in Young Justice. A deceased figure who’s only known by his glowing holographic monument in the team’s headquarters. But Jason’s story didn’t begin there—and it most certainly didn’t end with his death.
When Jason donned the cape as a Robin, he did so for justice. For hope. But he never imagined it would be his end. Maybe he would have tried a little harder had he known how short his term under the cowl would be—after all, he did have awfully big shoes to fill. Those of Dick Grayson, the original Robin. After Dick left to head his own team—the Teen Titans—Batman found himself missing the brightly-colored and clever-witted young man who added a sense of hope and humor to Batman’s quest.
Now, this is where things get interesting. In the earlier issues when Jason was first introduced, he shared an almost identical tragedy and origin to Dick—having been acrobat who’s parents died. Other than having strawberry blonde hair, Jason was—for all intents and purposes—Dick.
Then, his origin story was rebooted later on in the Crisis on Infinite Earths comic arc, and saw Jason as a much, much darker character…a foreshadowing for what would follow. He was a young street orphan living in the east end of Gotham who first encountered Batman while trying to steal the wheels off the Batmobile (and Jason thought that was a good idea because…?). Bruce ends up making sure the boy finds a roof over his head in a school for troubled teens—but the school ends up being a home to a gang of criminals. Jason then earns the mantle of Robin after he helps Batman subdue the gang.
While Bruce notes that Jason does not have the natural athleticism and flexibility that Dick had (let’s be honest—can anyone have the skill set that Grayson had? A freaking acrobatic crime fighter. No. 🙂 ) the boy does have something else—rage. An intense anger that gives him the drive to move past being a novice. I’m sure Bruce sees some of that rage a reflection of his own hardships, but he also knows that if he can’t give Jason a way to channel that anger, the boy will only join the wave of criminal filth Bruce is so desperately fighting. So he trains Jason for months before finally letting him don the red and yellow suit.
And then, the tragic moment. Jason’s death, at the hand’s of Batman’s arch nemesis, the Joker. Beaten profusely while Batman can do nothing to save him, Jason is eventually left in a building that the Joker causes to go “BOOM!” All without Batman being able to jump in and save him. Save the day. Save the boy.
And that plagues him.
Blaming himself for Jason’s cruel death, Bruce constantly battles within himself, finding it hard to ever take on another partner—but eventually deciding to do so in the bright young man, Tim Drake.
However, as I said, Jason’s story does not end there. Oh no. You see, through a serious of events (which are different depending on various arcs, and the comics/movie) Jason is brought back to life by Talia Al Ghul and her father, Ra’as Al Ghul, through the Lazarus Pit. This resurrected Jason is far more violent and angry than the boy that Bruce trained. Obsessed by the notion that he has not been avenged, Jason decides to start taking out the crime in Gotham his own way—ending them permanently. Donning the persona of Red Hood, Jason begins his reign of vigilante terror, during which Batman, Robin (Time Drake) and Nightwing struggle to understand who this new player is. For a time, Jason even attempts to take out Batman, blaming the man for failing to save him. However, he soon realizes that there is nothing truly about that.
Though his intentions to take down the crime syndicate may align with Batman and Robin’s, his violent methods most certainly do not. And when Batman and Red Hood finally have a confrontation, Bruce is shocked with the hood is shed to reveal a familiar face—a face that has haunted Batman’s nightmares. The boy he couldn’t save. Jason Todd.
But Jason still needs saving—this time from himself.
That intricate theme continues to narrate the relationship between Batman and Red Hood. At times, Jason is an ally, and has even donned the mantle of Nightwing and Batman for a bit. At other times, an enemy. Always deeply involved in the goings on in Gotham and the BatFam. No matter what side Jason takes, one thing is always for sure—it will certainly be interesting.
Would you like to see more of Jason Todd in Young Justice Season Three? Are you a fan of the character and all his intricacies? Why or why not?
Thanks guys! Till next time 🙂