Jason Todd is an interesting character in the DC Comics world. He was the second character to pick up the Robin mantle and parade around as Batman’s sidekick and, at first, he was hugely popular. After his iconic death in the 1988 Batman: A Death in the Family storyline, Jason disappeared from the scene for a long time. Then, in 2005, he was resurrected and became the second character to be known as the Red Hood. Comic fans have a long and troubled relationship with Jason. He’s one of the most violent heroes but he’s also considered one of the sexiest males. After his initial welcome reception, many fans became bothered by Jason because they felt his storyline was too close to Dick Grayson, the original Robin. It was. But his 17-year absence was long enough to allow fans to forgive and forget. When he came back, fans warmed up to him.
That doesn’t mean that everyone loves Jason. He is still a divisive character. His methods are a bit questionable for a hero and his relationship with Batman has always been rocky, to say the least. He does, however, give fans a nice balance for Batman’s goodness at times. When Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice introduced filmgoers to an older and more cynical Batman (Ben Affleck), we learned and saw that much of what turned Batman into this darker and grittier on-screen version was the death of his former sidekick. Ayer confirmed what we all thought when we saw the vandalized Robin suit seen in the Batcave; it had belonged to Jason. This all but confirms that the movie is following the Batman: A Death in the Family storyline as well. But let’s not cry for Jason yet. This is a hero that lives on the line. With that in mind, let’s catch every one up with some of the most disturbing things about Batman’s sidekick. Here are 15 Chilling Facts You Didn’t Know About Jason Todd.
15. The Reason for Jason’s Death
By now, almost everyone knows how Jason died. The Joker captured him and beat him to bloody pulp with a crowbar. He then set a time bomb and blew up the warehouse with both Jason and Jason’s mother, Sheila, inside. One thing that not everyone knows is that these events from Batman: A Death in the Family were put to a vote for fans of the comic. Since Jason’s character was a lightning rod for criticism, the writers decided to put the character’s fate in the hands of the fans. People called in through a 1-900 phone number and voted whether they wanted to see Jason survive the Joker or die. In the end, the vote was very close, but Jason’s death won. It wasn’t without some controversy though. Information came out afterward that suggested one person had submitted hundreds of death votes on their own using some computer trickery. That means that, technically, Jason should have lived. It all came down to one fan who hated Jason so much that he cheated to have the character killed.
14. Mommy and Daddy Issues
Originally, Jason’s history was virtually a carbon copy to Dick Grayson. When his story was revamped after Crisis on Infinite Earths, Jason’s parents were turned into Willis and Catherine Todd. Though there have been some retcons after this, the Todds are said to have been drug addicts pretty consistently. In one version, Willis tried to sell his newborn son to Carmine Falcone to pay off his debts. Later, when Jason was 13, he snitched on his parents, which led to their deaths. Another version has Jason’s father working as hired muscle for Two-Face. His mother, Catherine, dies of a drug overdose in this version. In Death in the Family, Jason learns that Catherine wasn’t his biological mother and that his real mother, Sheila, is alive. Sadly, she too is a piece of work and she leads Jason right into the Joker’s hands.
13. His Death was Set in Motion Since His Birth
In The New 52, Jason Todd was given a new origin, or, at least, his origins were made more interesting. They went back and showed how the Joker actually had a hand in almost every stage of Jason’s life, pulling the strings that would eventually lead to his death. Basically, the Joker wanted to build and manipulate a new Robin, letting he and Batman grow close, and then kill him, all in an effort to break Batman. The Joker framed Willis Todd and had him put in jail. He also made it seem like Jason’s mother had died of an overdose, but really he just kidnapped her and revealed her to be alive later on in order to lure Jason in. Once Jason was lured in, the Joker killed him and psychologically shattered Batman in the process.
12. Jason’s Burnt Face
So after Jason is revealed to be alive after the events of Death of The Family, he returns to Wayne Manor and has a heart to heart with Bruce. After packing his things, he decides it’s best for him to leave. As he walks out, he puts on his Red Hood helmet. We then see that the Joker has modified the helmet as a contingency plan. Inside, Jason sees a hologram of the Joker, who reveals that this is all part of his master plan. He tells Jason that he is upset with him for having “played a joke” on the Joker. The mask then dispersed acid onto Jason’s face, horribly burning him while he struggles to free himself. When the mask is finally extricated, Jason’s face is badly burnt and he is in critical condition. Though the scars do end up disappearing, Jason did have half his face scarred up for a few storylines. This is just another chapter in the Joker v Jason saga, proving it to be one of the most violent battles in Batman comics.
11. What happened to Felipe?
When Jason was recreated to make him different than Dick Grayson, the writers gave him a mean streak and some questionable tactics when dealing with criminals. The first major event that showcased how different he really was had Jason chasing down the criminal, Felipe Garzonas, a serial r*pist who had been freed of charges because of his father’s connections. Jason didn’t want him to get away so easily for his crimes, so he raced to find Garzonas, beating Batman to the scene. By the time Batman got there, Jason was already up on the top of a building with Garzonas. From his vantage point, all Batman saw was the r*pist fall from the building to his death. While Jason claimed that the criminal just slipped and fell, Batman figured that Jason had a hand in helping him along. We can’t say for sure, but knowing Jason’s methods makes it pretty obvious that he pushed Garsonas to his death
10. Encounter with Flamingo
Flamingo was a weird villain but he really brought out the worst in Jason and showed how cold the “hero” could be. While Jason and Scarlet race to beat Batman and Robin to apprehend criminals, the two sets of duos end up clashing. Jason and Scarlet overpower Batman and Robin and plan to reveal their identities to the world. Before they can do this, Jason, as the Red Hood, is shot twice in the helmet by Flamingo. The two bullets shatter the helmet and allow Batman and Robin to escape. The Flamingo then beats Jason and Scarlet and is about to kill them when Batman and Robin save the day. Then, as Flamingo is distracted with those two, Jason gets in a bulldozer and scoops the villain up along with other debris. He then dumps the Flamingo off the side of a building to his death. Even though the Flamingo’s body is never found, meaning he might not be dead, Jason fully intended to kill him here.
9. Battle for the Cowl
In the Battle for the Cowl, an enraged Jason Todd takes up the mantle of Batman and goes on a rampage. This time, however, Jason isn’t attacking villains; he’s attacking the good guys. He doesn’t just beat them up either. He shoots and nearly kills Damian Wayne, knocks Catwoman unconscious and stabs Tim Drake in the chest with a batarang. After stabbing him, he leaves Drake for dead and goes off to kill Nightwing. We learn that the reason Jason went off the deep end is because Batman described him as his biggest failure. However, in Jason’s inner monologue, we also learn that he has always wanted to replace Batman and that he felt Batman was undeserving of the position.
8. Killing Egon
As Jason travels the world improving his training so that he can return to Gotham and kill Batman, he finds that many of his trainers are vile creatures and unworthy of life. One of his mentors, a German named Egon, who was training him in the arts of assassination, was found to be running a child sex slave ring. When Jason discovered this, he decides to kill him. Rather than confront him and fight him fairly, which wouldn’t have ended well for Jason, he poisons Egon’s drink and then burns his compound to the ground. When Talia al Ghul asks him why he believes he can so freely murder people, Jason said it wasn’t murder; it was putting “down a reptile.”
7. Jason’s Death is the Joker’s Favorite Memory
The Joker ends up losing most of his memories. After all, he’s crazy. Because of his insanity, he doesn’t even remember his own name. But you know what he does remember? The day he killed Jason Todd. Remember that the Joker had apparently manipulated Jason’s entire life to get him to the point where he could kill him and send a shockwave through Batman’s life. Still, in the end, it is the torturing and the killing of Jason that becomes the one savored memory from his past that the Joker latches on to. It’s one of the only things that he holds on to and he wears it like a badge of honor.
6. Suzie Su
We don’t know a whole lot about Suzie Su except that she is a pretty gross looking woman. She and Jason had some trouble in their past, which we learn because, when Jason returns to Hong Kong, Su attacks him out of nowhere. Jason narrowly escapes and shoots her, nearly killing her and sending her into a coma. We learn that Su and her father are the leaders of a crime family, a family that Jason killed almost every member of except for Su and her father. Later, when Suzie’s father sends her to Gotham City to recover, she does get better and then takes an entire children’s hospital ward hostage. Jason saves the day and the children in his own way: by shooting her again. This time, however, he puts a bullet into her head.
5. Revenge on the Joker
One of the major driving forces in Jason’s life is to get his revenge on the Joker. On two separate occasions, Jason inflicts some serious damage on the man who killed him. The first time, in The Lost Days, Jason captures the Joker but the clown doesn’t even recognize him. Jason plans to douse him in gasoline and burn him alive, but he decides against it, if only because it would be too easy and he wants Batman to be there for it. Later, as the Red Hood, Jason finds the Joker again. This time he takes him and beats him to within an inch of his life. He beats him in the same manner that the Joker beat him, with a crowbar, but he lets him live in the end. Jason then uses the Joker to lure out Batman, giving him the ultimatum that either Batman shoots Jason or Jason shoots Joker. Neither thing happens as Batman throws a batarang at Jason instead and the Joker escapes.
4. Revenge of a Different Kind
Even though Jason never did kill the real Joker, he did get some cathartic revenge on someone close. In Countdown to Final Crisis, Jason finds himself on a perfect version of Earth. This Earth has such a low crime rate that many heroes have made their way there and retired, living in complete peace. After he is captured and questioned by that Earth’s Batman, Jason discovers why the crime is so low. Batman, so distraught from the death of that Earth’s Jason, began to kill all the villains, cleansing the planet. Jason decides to stay there and he becomes Robin. Not long after, however, Batman is killed by Ultraman. Jason decides he must leave to Apokolips, but, before he leaves, he finds that Earth’s version of the Joker laughing over the death of Batman. Jason crushes his skill.
3. Jason in Prison
After the events with the Flamingo, Jason is put into Arkham Asylum. While there, he passes all the psychological evaluations and is transferred to Gotham prison. This is a welcome change for Jason. Once in the prison, Jason’s presence magically causes the suicide rate to jump dramatically. A number of criminals are also killed in their attempts to get revenge on Jason, though he attributes the deaths to self defense. Then, he commits his worst crime. By poisoning the food in the cafeteria, Jason causes 82 inmates to die and 100 others are made seriously ill. That’s a hefty death toll for such a short stay.
2. Taking Over the Drug Trade
In the “Under the Hood” storyline, Jason returns to Gotham to get his revenge on the Joker. As part of his multi-step plan, Jason decides to take over the drug trade on the streets of Gotham. He calls all the leaders of the trade together for a meeting and starts laying down the new law. Jason demands that, moving forward, he’ll get 40% of all profits and there will be no drugs sold to any children. Obviously, the criminals don’t take too kindly to being bossed around, but, to prove that he is serious, Jason throws down a duffel bag. Inside is the severed heads of all the top lieutenants from each of the gangs. These are the methods of Jason Todd.
1. Keep Smiling
In The Dark Knight Returns: The Last Crusade, we see Jason Todd at his most sadistic. The guy is totally unhinged and takes everything to an extreme level. Rather than apprehend innocent people who are brainwashed, Jason nearly kills them. Instead of using one of the many tools they have to knock a gun out of a henchman’s hand, Jason rips the dudes arm off. Then, in the craziest of fashions, as a baddie lay with his head lodged between the door of an overturned vehicle, Jason jumps and lands on the door with all his might, crushing the guy’s head. In this moment, Robin looked away from the carnage. However, when Batman looked, he realized that Robin wasn’t looking away in disgust; he was looking away because he was trying to hide his smile.