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Jason Todd: 1990 - 2005

Jason was born on August 16, 1990, as the son of two troubled drug addicts. He almost did not survive his first few months of life due to health conditions and parental neglect, and was once nearly sold to Carmine Falcone's criminal organization to settle his parent’s debts. After his parents were killed by Sal Maroni for failed attempt to steal from one of the crime lord's warehouses, eight-year-old Jason was forced to live on the streets of Gotham.

Jason got by though pickpocketing and low-level theft, but as his skills improved he was frequently hired by a band of bank robbers who would use Jason to help them case their potential scores. This band later became known as the “Red Hood” gang, but the crew did not last long after Batman began working in Gotham, with its leader taking a nose dive into a vat of chemicals. Supposedly Jason saw this incident happen and was smart enough to get out of there as his time as an accomplice to the bank robbers was over and done. He ran back to the hideout and removed all traces of his association with them. 

After this, Jason spent the next three years or so wandering the streets of Gotham, occasionally running with a gang of street kids but mostly keeping to himself. Eventually, eleven-year-old Jason met Natalia Mitternacht shortly after her arrival in Gotham. The vampire mistress needed someone to help her navigate Gotham and so she took the boy in as he was street savvy and easily controlled by her psionic powers, and provided a steady food source in a pinch. Supposedly, Natalia intended to turn Jason once he came of age, having smell great potential in his blood (I wonder: does potential smell like 'Big Belly Burger'?), but after years under Mitternacht's spell, Jason eventually came to his senses and fled from the vampire rather than provide her with another snack. Trusting the streets and his wits to keep him safe, Jason became a homeless street rat.

Shortly after escaping the vampire's control, a fifteen-year-old Jason awoke in the middle of the night to find the Batmobile parked in the alley he had been sleeping in. Being both dumb to attempt such a thing and smart enough to pull it off, Jason actually managed to bypass the Batmobile's security measures and steal the mobile fortress. The joy ride didn't last long as he was quickly caught by Batman when Jason failed to notice the remote override device.

Impressed with the kid's resourcefulness, Batman took Jason to see Dr. Leslie Thompkins at her clinic, hoping she could find a place for the boy in social services. Batman left Jason in the care of Dr. Thompkins, but that very night, a trio of junkies broke into the clinic. The criminals held Jason and the doctor at gunpoint, attempting to steal the clinic’s cache of drugs. Having no tolerance for junkies, Jason snapped. By the time Batman had returned, Jason had already foiled the robbery (and put two of the junkies in the ICU). Impressed once more by the boy's strength and resolve, Batman decided that Bruce Wayne would be a more fitting guardian for the wayward boy.[1]

Robin II: 2005 - 2006

Jason underwent some anger management courses and endured many a lecture from Bruce and his butler, Alfred. It was Bruce who decided that Jason could not be rid of his anger and instead would need to channel it. Bruce Wayne had just the treatment Jason needed and began training Jason to be the next Robin… but Jason had something to say about the outfit.[2]

Having undergone just six months of training to become the second Robin, Jason proved he was a natural crime fighter. I even heard chatter that suggested some criminals were more afraid of the new Boy Wonder than Batman. Jason was such an intense Robin who fought with such a fervor that he almost seemed to have no regard for self-preservation in the pursuit of catching his man. Of course, this meant Jason took a lot more lumps than Dick ever did as Robin and it showed.

Enrolled into Brentwood Academy, Jason was an outcast among the elitist children that surrounded him. He became good friends with another outcast, Helena Bertinelli and the two began a childhood romance. When Helena became concerned with Jason's injuries, she confronted Jason about it and when he refused to discuss it, she threatened to report Bruce Wayne to Child Protective Services. In order to keep Helena quiet, Jason agreed to help her with her investigation (which I'm sure caught Helena off-guard as she had not told Jason she was conducting any investigations). With Jason's help, Helena was able to get her first break in the case of her true father’s identity which led the two to suspect that Helena’s father was Santo Cassamento, one of Falcone’s men who at the time working for Black Mask. As it turned out, Cassamento was also a suspected serial rapist. 

While there was no denying that Jason was always a bit excessive in his violence, it was especially bad after learning that Helena's father was likely a criminal that had possibly raped Helena's mother. When Jason informed Batman of what he had discovered, the Dynamic Duo went to confront Cassamento but other False Facers interrupted their interrogation and a fight ensued. While Batman was dealing with Black Mask's goons, Jason chased after Cassamento. The pursuit would result in Cassamento taking a swan dive from a thirteen story building's rooftop. Jason later claimed it was a simple accident, but Bruce suspected it was intentional. Jason was also continually being unfairly compared to Dick and so Bruce's judgment of his actions infuriated Jason to no end. The tension in the ranks became suffocating.

Robin (Jason Todd)

The Second Robin

It did not take Helena long for her to connect the clues and come to the conclusion that Jason Todd was Robin. When she confronted him, he admitted it and even took her to the Batcave (knowing Jason it was most likely an attempt to get in her pants). Alfred caught them… and it made for a really long, awkward dinner at Wayne Manor that night, I know, I was there… After a really long and brutal conversation, Helena somehow managed to convince Bruce to let her join our Bat-Club… on the condition that I train her. Shortly after this, both Jason and Helena joined up with the Titans.

In the Titans, Jason and Helena sort of stopped dating. Helena still constantly flirted with Jason, but I think he had become more attracted to Karen Kent, aka: Supergirl. Another factor in Jason's sudden lack of interest in Helena was the bromance he fostered with Roy Harper, with the two becoming great friends in a short amount of time. Some highlights of their friendship included them working together on an undercover operation that led to them founding the band 'Great Frog' and street racing the Batmobile and Arrow Rod through the streets of Washington, DC.

One day, Jason stumbled upon a tip about the League of Assassins smuggling equipment into Gotham while out on patrol as Robin. Rather than reporting this to Batman, Jason felt the need to pursue this lead on his own, maybe intent on proving his worth to his adopted father and smoothing over the relationship which was still on edge from the Cassamento incident. Jason ended up finding plans to import a stolen LuthorCorp prototype meant to be used for a massive destruction of Gotham infrastructure. He also found correspondence between the League and a man called “El Penitente” concerning the training of assassins meant to “discredit, break, destroy, and replace Batman”. If Jason would have been able to deliver this information, we could have saved thousands, Unfortunately, Jason did not.

The Death of Jason Todd

The Death of Jason Todd by Midnightowl07

 Jason had not counted on the League of Assassins having hired the Joker to oversee the smuggling operation. Captured by the criminal clown, Jason was tortured and beaten with a crowbar on a live webcam broadcast set up by the Riddler. The Joker even held a sadistic poll where viewers could vote for Jason’s fate. When it was over, Joker left Jason’s broken, lifeless body strapped to the Bat-Signal, with a “J” branded on his cheek and bright green paint sprayed across his chest-plate reading “HaHaHa. The Joke’s On You, Batman!”  Carrying Jason's limp and bloodied body away from the Bat-Signal remains the only time I’ve seen the Batman cry.

This death would serve as a catalyst for a wide variety of happenings: The disbanding of the Justice League of America and the second generation of Titans; me creating the identity of Oracle; and Bruce taking up drinking after his engagement to Julie Madison fell apart in the aftermath..[3]

Red Hood: 2006 - Present

After the death of Jason Todd, Ra's al Ghul dispatched Cheshire to retrieve Jason's body from his grave. While digging up the corpse, Cheshire was interrupted by Roy Harper. Rather than stop her, Roy decided to assist her after she informed him that it was her intent to bring Jason back to life. After digging up the body of Jason Todd, Cheshire further convinced Roy to come join the League of Assassins. 

Under the care of the League’s scholar, El Penitente, Jason’s body underwent arcane experiments and was bathed in the Lazarus Pit. Roy was actually allowed to be the one who lowered Jason's body into the Lazarus Pit, but after that Roy was kept from seeing Jason while the League indoctrinated Jason, taking advantage of his fragmented memories and muscle memories to make him into one of their own. When Roy Harper caught on to what the League was doing, he tried to kill Ra's al Ghul but was foiled. During Roy's trial, Jason was ordered to kill Roy. Given a blade, Jason hacked off Roy's right arm and presented it to Ra's al Ghul. Maybe brainwashed Jason would have ended up killing Roy if Roy had stuck around long enough to find out, but Roy promptly fled into the desert.

Dumah

Jason as Dumas

After this show of loyalty, Ra's had El Penitente further subject Jason to mental re-programming and had Jason replace Gabriel Santo as the third Horseman for their upcoming strike on Gotham. After another month of mental conditioning, Jason Todd was ready to assume his role as the third Horseman of the Gotham’s Reckoning and thus returned home, a changed and broken man. Jason's role in the Cataclysm was to be a tormentor of a captured Bruce Wayne and had his face concealed behind an iron mask, instructed to only reveal his identity during the course of his torturing of Bruce Wayne. However, Jason never got to fulfill this role. When Batman was nearly killed by the second Horseman (Bane) and put out of action before Jason could play his part, Jason's brainwashing buckled a little and he was able to reject the League's plans for him. Seeing his adopted father brutalized in such a manner allowed some of Jason’s memories to return.

Uncertain of how to proceed but recalling his death at the hands of Joker, Jason took over a biker gang called “the Order”, took on the identity of a masked man named “Dumas” (a reference to the author of “The Man in the Iron Mask”, a story Alfred encouraged him to read), and began to undermine the criminal gangs of Gotham, hoping to lure both Batman and Joker out of hiding. When Jason managed to take the Joker prisoner, a Batman did confront him… but it was not the Batman Jason had expected, this new Batman also had a new Robin

The three brothers fought at lengths, almost equally matched, with the eyes of Jason's biker disciples upon them. When Dick Grayson prevailed, Jason ordered the Order to attack the Batman; but instead, the Order declared themselves the “Sons of Batman”. Enraged, Jason lunged at Dick and did something Bruce would never have done, he grabbed one of Jason's guns and shot him in the iron mask at point blank, stunning Jason long enough to be unmasked. When Dick reeled away in shock, Jason shot him in the leg with his other gun and fled.

It took the Outsiders three years to track Jason down after that and bring him back into the fold. We found him hunting down criminals in Europe and it took Roy Harper to convince Jason to return completely, supposedly as a way to "repay" Roy for having taking his arm. While his memories have returned, I fear we may have lost the Jason we once knew forever, what is left may be nothing but a brutal, vengeful shell. Still, we have to say, it's good to have Jason home.

Since his return to the "family", Jason began dating Helena Bertinelli with a renewed zest for life. Recently, Jason has defected from the hero community and become an 'Outlaw' with Roy Harper, Helena Bertinelli, Koriand'r, and Donna Troy after their discovery of the Level 7 protocols.[4]

Threat Assessment

Resources

  • Acrobatics: In his training as Robin, he has been taught acrobatics. He further practices his abilities as the Red Hood. While nowhere near Dick's raw talent or Damian's considerable skill, Jason is a better acrobat than either Tim or Stephanie on account of his athletic physique.
  • Criminology: Possibly the most street savvy member of Batman, Inc., Jason has proved himself time and again as being highly capable of predicting criminal behavior and effectively countering it. He built the foundation for this talent by living on the streets of Gotham as a child and enhanced it further with training by Batman.
  • Demolitions: Taught by a world renowned bomb expert in Russia during his time spent off the grid being pursued by the Outsiders, Jason is able to assemble and defuse a wide variety of conventional explosive devices, from improvised to military-grade designs.
  • Driving: Jason has driven a variety of vehicles from cars, boats, planes, helicopters, and motorcycles. As far as past Robins are concerned, Jason is the best of the bunch in vehicle maneuvers. Batman himself has remarked that Jason is an exceptional driver of land-based vehicles and in passing has commented that Jason may be the best wheel man in Gotham next to Roxy Rocket.
  • Educated: Jason has received excellent education and tutoring from Batman and thus has extensive knowledge of various subjects, which include Science, Mathematics, Forensics, Medicine, Geography, History, and Leadership. He has also proven to be a highly efficient criminal strategist and organizer as Saint Dumas. Of course, just because he is a highly intelligent young man, doesn't mean he applies himself.
  • Firearms: Having been trained by Batman and possessing superb natural eye to hand coordination, Jason has near-perfect aim when using firearms. Trained in the use of firearms during his time with the League of Assassins and having privately refined his skill further, it is likely that Jason is a better marksman than Bruce Wayne or most other members of Batman, Inc. Jason has shown himself capable of shooting a grapnel line while he himself is diving off a rooftop.
  • Multilingualism: Taught by Batman, Jason is fluent in several languages having spoken English, French, German, Italian and various others with Russian and Spanish being his weakest.
  • Investigation: Jason has shown some skill as a detective but gladly admits Forensics are not his forte and usually solves his personal investigations through instinct and dumb luck rather than deduction.
  • Martial Arts: Jason Todd is a highly skilled combatant, showing his skill in fighting by besting Nightwing and even Batman on occasion, usually by resorting to dirty techniques and cheap blows. Jason can easily overpower Tim Drake in a spontaneous match, but Tim has shown recently that he can best Jason if he is given enough time to develop any sort of strategy. Jason's fighting style focuses on brutality, strength, and speed; he is shown to have studied over half-a dozen fighting styles and has proven to be a master of Aikido, Capoeira, Karate, Ninjutsu, Savate, Krav Maga, Kickboxing, and Tae Kwon Do. He has received extensive training from Batman, and after his resurrection had not only been trained by the League of Assassins but also traveled the world, learning every form of martial arts he could, in a style very similar to what Bruce Wayne himself had done.
  • Surveillance: Although contradictory to nature, Jason's learned to survey his targets before attacking. He spends long hours scouting targets and assuring that they deserve his brand of justice.
  • Swordsmanship: Jason has shown to be skilled enough to hold his own against the Green Arrow in a sword fight, something that Bruce Wayne claims even he can't do.
  • Throwing: Jason is an expert marksman and highly skilled with throwing weapons, such as batarangs and knives.
  • Weaponry: Jason is highly skilled in the use of many weapons, including rocket launchers and mounted artillery.
  • Strength: Jason has proven himself to be just as strong, or at least of comparable strength, to Bruce Wayne. Personally, I feel that Jason may have the edge due to being in his prime and having Lazarus Pit rejuvenated muscles.
  • Red Hood Costume: Following his resurrection, Jason took on the mantle of the Red Hood. His interpretation, however, involved denim jeans, biker boots, a t-shirt, and a biker's jacket. He later upgraded to a full-body armored suit and a leather jacket. Jason wears two masks, the first being a red-domino mask, fixed in place with spirit gum, and includes a built-in radio transmitter/receiver and Starlite night-vision lenses. His second mask is a metallic red hood or helmet, which offers many of the same functions as his domino mask, though also adds better protection for his face.
  • AmerTek Armory: Jason often uses his handguns in battle and has shown access to firearms of high-caliber, including RPG's. Due to Bruce's disapproval of such weaponry, Jason buys his own (or acquires them through other means) and stores them somewhere that remains a mystery to us.
  • Flaming Blade: A mystical blade made out of copper designed to kill magic-based threats, given to him by Ra's al Ghul when ordered to execute Roy Harper. The blade is powered by the soul of the wielder and believed to be indestructible. Jason mostly uses this weapon as a last resort despite it being proven to often be a more effective weapon than his guns.

Weaknesses

  • Rage: Jason's most notable weakness is his rage. Batman and numerous others have told him that his rage blinds him in battle to the point of leaving physical and mental weak points open for attacks. Recently, Jason has made steps to putting the past behind him and has become a more disciplined and controlled fighter but his efforts have been hampered due to residual League of Assassins programming that sends him into a berserker rage when angered enough. Some of his triggers are rape, drug use causing the harm of children, and the Joker's voice.[5]

Trivia and Notes

Trivia

  • During his time with the League of Assassins and the subsequent time as Dumas, Jason racked up no less than 80 confirmed kills, most of them being drug dealers, rapists, and murderers. Since joining the Outsiders, Jason has only killed three times while enraged and in the defense of others.
  • Jason's favorite food is a Bellybuster Burger from Big Belly Burger with extra onions.
  • Jason's interest in Big Belly Burger may actually be more about the name itself rather than the food as he has admitted to having a belly fetish, which Helena has chosen to exploit unrepentantly.
  • Jason's death was the reason for many important events in E27: The disbanding of the Justice League of America and the second generation of Titans; Barbara creating the identity of Oracle; Roy joining the League of Assassins; and Batman becoming more brutal, alcoholic, and isolated, to name a few. Batman also considers Jason's death as his biggest failure.
  • Actually, the Joker killing Jason set the League's plan back considerably. Ra's was concerned that Joker may have compromised their smuggling operation so they abandoned it altogether and revised their plan, striking almost a year after Jason's death. This is why Ra's used Jason's corpse as a means to enact revenge on Joker.
  • Being trained by Batman and the League of Assassins, Jason Todd is a world class martial artist. But he lacks the patience and discipline to utilize that and often prefers just plugging people with his guns or resorting to the tactics he picked up on the streets. It could also be explained that its his form of rejecting both Bruce and the League, who he probably sees as two entities who sought to use him for their own purposes.
  • Thanks to the Lazarus Pit and minerals contained within it Jason is immune to many effects of Kryptonite.
  • Jason is a closet classic literature buff. He especially loves The Three Musketeers, The Man in the Iron Mask, and The Count of Monte Cristo all by Alexandre Dumas.
  • Jason owns a hideaway in a container that he stole from some drug dealers. The whole place is an armory and he also has other shipping containers for explosives, heavy weapons, and backup weaponry.[6]
  • He and Roy Harper partake in a lot of stupid games, including one which involve punching each other in the genitals.
  • He has a Caper account.
  • People who were indoctrinated by the League would lack identity and try to find and latch onto something. When Jason started to fight the League brainwashing he took the name Dumas, as a way to step away from the League's name Dumah. He then started calling himself Red Hood.[7]

Notes

  • The vote the Joker held online for Jason's fate is a homage to the real life vote DC comics did during the storyline "A Death in the Family", when readers where asked to call a phone line and vote for Jason to either live or die at the end of the story. Comics fan voted for Jason to die, as they did in Earth-27.
  • In the comics Oberon Sexton was a British novelist, specializing in the 'true crime' genre. At some point, he killed his wife and rigged the crime scene to look like a gang attack. However, he was almost immediately killed by the Joker, who buried him in next to his wife and went to Gotham City in his identity.

Links and References

  1. Oracle Files: Jason Todd (1/4)
  2. Oracle Files: Jason Todd
  3. Oracle Files: Robin II
  4. Oracle Files: Red Hood
  5. Deluxe Oracle File: Jason Todd
  6. Earth-27 Living: Jason Todd's Hideaway
  7. VOX Box: Heretic Saga Epilogue
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