We all know the story of Jason Todd. He was the second Boy Wonder after Dick Grayson left the Batcave to become Nightwing. Young and haughty, Jason Todd proved to have great potential, much like his predecessor. Despite his tendency to disobey orders, the Batman had a great love for this Robin, which made it all the more heartbreaking once the Joker got his hands on the young ward.
The Clown Prince of Crime kidnapped the young Jason Todd and beat him to a pulp before leaving him to die in a building explosion. This led to the famous panel of an agonized Batman holding a dead Robin in his arms. From that point on, Batman was never going to be the same, and neither was the legacy of Robin. For better or worse, though, that would not be the last we saw of Jason Todd.
After some time, Todd was eventually resurrected by the League of Assassins throwing him into the Lazarus Pit. Once he gained his senses, he decided to take on a new name: Red Hood. Becoming a hired gun rather than a heroic vigilante, Red Hood terrorized Gotham and Batman. He was eventually redeemed, but Jason Todd was never going to be as he once was. He has since appeared in numerous comics, and we already know a lot about him.
Despite this, we've still discovered 15 things that fans may not know about Red Hood.
15 The Joker Was the First Red Hood
We all know the story of how Bruce Wayne decided to become Batman. He wanted to inspire fear in criminals and thus took the persona of that which he feared the most. Despite hating the Dark Knight after his resurrection, Jason Todd took a similar approach when he developed his own secret identity.
In Batman: The Killing Joke, it was revealed that the man who would become the Joker was wrapped up in a crime gang that made him disguise himself as the Red Hood. It goes without saying that he was haunted by memories of the Joker beating him to death and torturing his mind. Because of this, the thing he feared above all else was the Clown Prince of Crime himself. However, taking the appearance of a clown would cause problems, so Jason opted to become the Red Hood instead (albeit a much more combat-oriented, militaristic one). This choice definitely served to his benefit, as his costume was much cooler and less creepy than it would've been had he decided to become a clown. Not to mention that it would've also been a little counterproductive.
14 Originally a Criminal
While it's common knowledge that the Red Hood isn't the most morally upright individual, his life before ever going down the path of a vigilante is lesser known. As it turns out, Jason Todd was a kid living on the streets (both of his parents dead) and often resorted to stealing in order to get what he needed or wanted. Fortunately (or unfortunately?), this put Todd right in the sight of Batman, though not in the way you would expect.
One day, Bruce parked the Batmobile in an alley to take some brute down. By the time he returned, he discovered a young boy attempting to steal the tires off of his sweet ride. After confronting the young man, Wayne grew compassion for him, desiring for the boy not to have to live like he was. That was how his connection with Jason Todd began. It wasn't long before Todd was shown the Batcave and made the official second Robin in the wake of Dick Grayson. Perhaps this life of crime for Todd was an early foreshadowing of the path he would take much later in life. Whether the writers intended it or not, the character himself went full circle.
13 He Blames Himself for His Mother's Death
As stated earlier, Jason Todd doesn't have the friendliest of childhoods. His parents were gone by the time he resorted to a life of crime, and he was never quite the same since. The New 52 delved into this concept a bit more and how it shaped Todd's character for the rest of his life.
Jason's mother, Catherine Todd, was a rich family's daughter who fell in love with a bad boy at her local school. It wasn't long before they began a relationship and Catherine became pregnant with Jason. After he was born, Catherine and the bad boy got married, but this union wasn't the happiest of times for her. Apparently, her husband didn't treat her very well, and Catherine turned to drugs in order to cope with her life. Eventually, her reliance on these substances caused her early death, leaving Jason to deal with it. Sadly, he never quite recovered, having blamed himself for his mother's overdose. He wished that there was more he could do for his dear mother, and it has haunted him ever since. Think of how different his life would've been if he hadn't lost his mom.
12 He Was Very Intelligent
Jason Todd's backstory is one that many people can relate to. Unfortunately, as is the custom in today's culture, a background like that comes with its fair share of stereotypes. Even comic book characters like Jason Todd aren't immune to this. Because he grew up on the streets and resorted to stealing to get what he wanted, it was and still is heavily assumed that Todd wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed. However, this is far from the truth. (He was taken in by the legendary Bruce Wayne, after all).
When Todd was in school, he actually held very high grades. He had the capability to understand things that many people his age couldn't. This served him well when he became the sidekick to Batman. He was simply much more intelligent than what people anticipated. When he was later reborn as the Red Hood, Todd carried much of that intelligence over when he began hunting down the Joker and terrorizing the Dark Knight. Using that in perfect harmony with his combat skills, Todd became one of the most effective and feared assassins that the DC Universe has ever known.
11 Jason and Alfred Book Club
Another misconception about Jason Todd is that his arrogance and foolhardy actions led him to treat everybody around him with disdain. While that might be the case after his resurrection as an assassin, he still held a lot of favorable attributes while he was still the Boy Wonder. During that time, he built a few relationships that would shape the course of his life. He grew particularly close to the butler of Wayne Manor, Alfred.
As stated in the previous entry, Todd was a very brilliant young mind. He actually valued the benefits of learning and read many books as a result. Because of this, he and Alfred bonded over literary material and formed a unique book club of sorts. This was only confirmation that Todd was much more intelligent than everyone assumed, and this love for learning and literature definitely aided him when he took to the streets as the Red Hood. Considering the fact that Alfred is one of the most prominent father figures in Batman history, this was also a way for Todd to be properly raised without worry of drug abuse or anything of the sort. Alfred raised Batman, so how hard could taking on another child be?
10 His Relationship with Nightwing
Seeing your successor or predecessor is always an awkward situation. So it was definitely an interesting circumstance when Jason Todd first met Dick Grayson, known as Nightwing by that time. At first, the two quickly despised each other, both of them trying to outdo one another in the vigilante department. However, Batman's no-nonsense attitude led to them putting their rivalry aside for the greater good of Gotham City.
After Todd became Red Hood, he and Nightwing hated each other once again. The two of them have even fought on a few occasions. Eventually, Red Hood went back to the side of the good guys, and he and Nightwing grew a mutual respect for one another. No longer are they bitter rivals, but brothers in arms, having both been trained by the Caped Crusader and going off on their own. Numerous times, the two have helped each other out as the circumstances called for it. Since the Bat-Family was established, they have still remained quite fond of one another. The two of them are closer than any of the other Robins that have trained under the tutelage of Batman.
9 Rides the Single Train
It's a tradition among Robins that they must all be attractive and willing to be ladies' men of sorts. Dick Grayson definitely takes the top spot on the list with his willingness to help and his desire to do good going hand in hand with his physique and personality. Tim Drake is no slouch either, having dated a few women in the DC Universe. Jason Todd is also quite impressive on his own. With excellent combat skills and the resemblance of a moral compass, it seems like he would be a prime candidate for someone like Huntress or Ravager.
That being said, Jason Todd hasn't ever really had a girlfriend. By the time he was taken in by Batman, he was far too young. When he was killed by Joker, he died alone. After he was resurrected, he spent a lot of his time trying to figure himself out and making good on kill contracts. Due to his screwed up life and mind, there wasn't any time for Jason to ever get a proper love life. There were one or two women that he grew close to, but no one ever officially dated him. Perhaps he's meant to be alone.
8 First Adopted Son
Bruce Wayne is known to have a tortured past that affects how he operates as the Batman. He tends to push people away and lock them out. He doesn't like relationships and doesn't want to be close to anyone. However, times changed once he decided to take on Robin. He and Dick Grayson formed a very close bond during their years. Eventually, Grayson carried on the legacy of his mentor as Nightwing. Then Batman took on Jason Todd.
After seeing Todd trying to steal the tires of the Batmobile, Batman decided to take in the young boy as a way of improving his life. Not only did he let Todd live with him, but he adopted him, making Jason Todd the first Robin that Bruce Wayne ever adopted. He did eventually adopt Dick Grayson, but only after he became Nightwing. Jason was adopted first. Bruce also seemed to really open up to Jason Todd and genuinely cared for the young boy, which made it all the more tragic for his character after Jason was killed by the Joker. Since then, Batman has had a harder time growing attachments to other people.
7 Joker's Memory
The Clown Prince of Crime isn't known for having the best of memories. As a matter of fact, while Batman: The Killing Joke does everything it can to give us a backstory to the Joker, it was later stated by the villain himself that even he doesn't remember how he became such a psychotic villain. He often makes up multiple stories and changes things around as a result of this.
Due to his mental instability, Joker forgot much more than just his origin. He doesn't know his name, he doesn't remember the day he met Harley Quinn, etc. However, what a sick twist it truly is that the Joker does remember one day: the night that he tortured and killed Jason Todd. This was clearly Joker's greatest moment of triumph: when he captured the Boy Wonder and tormented him until he brutally ended his life, leaving the Batman to pick up the pieces. It was a gut-wrenching move worthy of an archrival, and it speaks volumes on what the Joker truly values in life. Comparing that to Jason's fear of the Joker, this becomes a tale that makes you think about the dark aspects of life.
6 His Life Was Orchestrated by the Joker
Keep that very last entry in mind. Joker only remembers the day when he killed Jason Todd.
The Jester of Genocide isn't exactly known for making elaborate plans, but when he gets an idea in his head, you bet that someone is going to experience the ultimate pain. Joker noticed how close Batman and Robin were, and he decided that he wanted to give the Dark Knight a Robin that he could then rip from his arms. It wasn't long before he discovered the young Jason Todd. Todd was an orphan when found by Batman. Todd's mother had been incarcerated and was believed to be dead. Then after a while of Todd serving as the Boy Wonder, Joker was biding his time to create the plot that would result in Jason's death. The villain used Todd's mother to lure the young hero to the warehouse where he would eventually be killed.
This was an example of an evil plan going perfectly. Joker had planned it for years, and the fact that it worked flawlessly brings a twisted grin to his face every time.
5 Trained by the All-Caste
Jason Todd is an excellent fighter, and he only became greater after he was revived as the Red Hood. However, this wasn't due to his training with the Dark Knight. Instead, he was given special training from a different source.
After he was resurrected by the League of Assassins, he was given some lessons from Talia al Ghul. Unfortunately, the Pit had some negative effects on Todd's mental state. In order to deal with them, she took him to a group called the All-Caste. Apparently, the Caste was another group of assassins that had been living in hiding for thousands of years, only taking the time to perfect their mastery of combat. This was where Jason was taken and trained.
Talia took Jason to the leader of the All-Caste itself: a man named Ducra. In their brief exchange, it's implied that Ducra has been around longer than the League of Assassins and even trained Ra's al Ghul himself. Because of this, Jason ended up as one of the most skilled Robins ever. While it's true that Nightwing, Red Robin, and Damian Wayne all have their impressive abilities, it was Red Hood who got the best training altogether.
4 Leader of the Outlaws
After Jason was resurrected, he quickly resorted to life as a mercenary. He eventually found his way to Gotham City, where he still managed to be beaten by his old mentor. Since that day, Todd wondered what he was meant to do in the world. He decided to no longer be some ruthless killer, but he knew that he could never go back to being a boy scout. This led him to form his own team with Red Arrow and Starfire called the Outlaws.
This team is similar to the Suicide Squad in a lot of ways, showcasing the trio taking down criminals after something terrible happens to the All Caste. Needless to say, that comic wasn't received very well but has been restructured since. The trio of Red Hood, Bizarro, and Artemis (not the Green Arrow sidekick) now headline the team. They have also been dubbed as the Dark Trinity as a contrast of sorts to the Trinity of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. Despite his time as a villain, Red Hood's exceptional skills and training make him very well suited to the position of a leader, and there are some who are willing to follow him.
3 He Was Ra's al Ghul
As I stated before, Red Hood and the Outlaws isn't the greatest comic that DC has to offer. Yet, it does hold some events that are worth looking into. As the trio attempts to discover what is targeting the All Caste, they come across a group known as the Untitled. Eventually, the League of Assassins came into the mix and went to war against the Untitled. One casualty of this fight was Ra's al Ghul. With his death, the League needed a new leader, one who would take them to victory. Jason Todd was given this position, and he became Ra's al Ghul for a short time.
Due to his training under three different combat masters, Jason was able to bring the League to an amazing victory against the Untitled and rob the villains of their powers. Unfortunately, Ra's al Ghul's death was nothing more than a trick by the Demon's Head to win the fight without lifting a finger. He was the last member of the Untitled and took back his position and locked up the Outlaws, much to Jason's chagrin. If you think that such a move isn't characteristic of Ra's, you'd be right. Again, the comic wasn't the best.
2 The Fans Despised Him
When Jason Todd was put into the comics, he was originally intended to be a carbon copy of Dick Grayson. Even his parents were part of a circus act called the Flying Todds. Needless to say, this didn't sit very well with the fans, and DC decided to restructure the character completely into a young orphan boy living on the streets. After Jason Todd became the second Robin, it seemed that the writers didn't quite know what to do with the character, because he was brutally annoying. His tendency to break the rules and defy Batman didn't sit well with the readers. The backlash caused by the character was so severe that DC began a poll to see whether Jason Todd should live or die.
By a small margin, the fans decided that they would rather see Jason Todd die and no longer be Robin. This led to the famous scene with the Joker beating the young boy to death. It's really twisted to know that Jason Todd experienced this horrible death because the fans decided it. However, his character has become much more interesting now that he has become Red Hood.
1 Doesn't Hate Batman Anymore
Jason Todd, while defiant on many occasions, did love Batman as a father. He was there for the Dark Knight on tough occasions and would often stick his neck out for his mentor. Unfortunately, this kind of love only goes so far after you've been tortured by the Joker. Jason was in the villain's clutches for a long time, and he was persuaded to think that Batman had forgotten him for good, especially considering that Tim Drake had replaced him.
After he became Red Hood, Jason wanted revenge on Batman for leaving him behind and not killing the Joker to avenge him. It took a lot of coaxing from Batman to convince Jason that he had gotten it all wrong, but the damage had already done. Their relationship would never be the same. Yet, Red Hood eventually became a member of the Bat-Family and has worked with his mentor many times since then. It's clear that the two still respect one another, and Batman values the old Robin's help. Red Hood is also willing to die for the Dark Knight despite being on the fence when it comes to morality.
Sources: Comicvine, DC Comics