Who Is Jason Todd? Batman’s Infamous Robin Explained

Titans season 3 is going all-in on Jason Todd and the Red Hood, as the show’s first three episodes reveal one of the most gruesome deaths in comics history. Fans of the comics know though that it’s only one part of the story, and there is plenty more to come throughout this season. If you’re unfamiliar with Jason Todd though, this might have come as quite a shock, but that’s why we’re here to give you a breakdown of who Jason Todd is, what led to him becoming the Red Hood, and why he is probably the most infamous Robin ever.

Jason Todd made his first appearance in 1983 and was created by Gerry Conway and Don Newton. He is the second person to hold the Robin role and was brought in after Dick Grayson had become a major character in Teen Titans. He would make his first appearance in Detective Comics #524, and his introduction to Batman was quite memorable.

Jason had a difficult early life, as he was the son of a criminal named Willis Todd, who was sent to prison. He was eventually released, but he never returned home, leaving Jason with his mother Catherine Todd. Catherine was, unfortunately, dealing with severe drug addiction, but Jason would later learn that she was not his biological mother. She would later die from an overdose while Willis eventually disappeared, and it’s thought that Two-Face was the cause. Because of his home situation, Jason made ends meet by taking apart cars and selling the parts for money, and that’s what led to him meeting the Dark Knight. Jason was attempting to steal tires off of the Batmobile when Batman found him, and after one option for care fell through Bruce took Jason in and decided to train him as the next Robin.

(Photo: DC Comics)

Jason was quite different from Grayson. He was angrier overall and his use of force was above Bruce’s accepted threshold. After some time as Robin, there was a vote hold by DC to determine Jason’s fate, with fans voting via a phone number whether he should live or die. It was close, but the winning vote was for death, and so he did in fact die in an absolutely brutal way in Batman: Death in the Family.

Jason would learn that his biological mother was in fact alive, and the only clue he had was three names in his father’s address book. He would track the first two down, but they didn’t turn out to be his mother. The third was named Sheila Haywood, and she turns out to be his mother. Unfortunately, she was being blackmailed by the Joker, and after Jason ignores Bruce’s orders to wait for backup, Jason finds her. She tells him that Joker is gone but that is a lie, and when Joker ambushes Jason he beats him brutally with a crowbar.

He then leaves a beaten Jason with his mother next to a bomb. Jason is semi-conscious before the bomb goes off, and he attempts to shield her from the blast when it finally explodes. Batman gets there right after the blast, and he pulls out Jason’s dead body.

(Photo: DC Comics)

Crazily enough Jason’s story wasn’t over, as thanks to Superboy Prime’s reality meddling Jason was brought back to life, digging out of his own grave. He had suffered brain damage from Joker’s attack, however, and wandered the streets, surviving on his instincts. He was eventually discovered by Talia, who submerged him in a Lazarus Pit. The Pit healed his mind, and after leaving he would discover that Batman had not killed the Joker after his death. This would send him into a rage, especially since he was still coming to terms with his death and sudden revival, and he would head to Gotham to make Batman pay.

(Photo: DC Comics)

He would eventually start making a name for himself under his new guise as The Red Hood, and he would make a statement by finding The Joker and beating him brutally with a crowbar just like Joker had done to him. He didn’t kill him, but the beating was just one step removed from death, and he then made an impact on the local drug trade and mob scene. This would lead him to a confrontation with Batman, and he would then reveal who he really was. He would continue his fight against Bruce by taking on the new Robin Tim Drake. He would encounter Batman and Joker one more time, where Jason asked Bruce why he didn’t kill Joker, and the two would battle until Joker set off explosives.

(Photo: DC Comics)

After that he would travel to various places and continue his violent brand of justice, even at one point becoming Nightwing and then Batman for a period of time, the latter of which was during Batman’s death (Batman R.I.P.). He would then get a new style of costume and even a costume after Dick Grayson took on the cape and cowl, and then later he would get his own team in Red Hood and the Outlaws. Since then Bruce Wayne came back and Jason has been accepted into the Bat-Family, though there’s always some keeping at arms length regarding the other members of the team. He continues to utilize deadlier weapons and his more violent vigilante methods, but in recent times he’s switched over to non-lethal methods. He didn’t do it for Bruce, something he made clear in the most recent finale of Cheer, but instead for himself and his own journey.

Granted, that’s not everything, but it’s a pretty good glimpse at who Jason Todd is and what defined him over the years, and now you’re all ready for Titans season 3?

Let us know what you think in the comments, and as always you can talk all things Titans and DC with me on Twitter @MattAguilarCB!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *