It truly is too good to be true. After DC released a sequel to its fighting game classic Injustice: Gods Among Us, the collective jaws of comic book readers around the world dropped. The brand-new Injustice 2 has awesome graphics, smooth game play, and a great selection of DC comics mainstays to do battle with. It was easy to sit back and think “How could this game be any better?” Then DC upped the ante by adding the most DERANGED member of the Bat-Family to its playable roster. They finally added the vigilante known as The Red Hood.
Even though Jason Todd has been around in continuity for close to 30 years, we are finally given the chance to walk a mile in his hood. After the success of the animated movie Batman: Under the Red Hood, and praise for his inclusion in Batman: Arkham Knight, Jason Todd has been the talk of the town. Given a second chance at life, Jason Todd as The Red Hood has soared in popularity. He adds a dynamic and unpredictable element to any story he is in, and for good reason. Red Hood is one SAVAGE S.O.B. Don’t believe us? Check out these 15 reasons he is the most BRUTAL Bat Family member!
15. DEAD ROBIN
The world was unkind to young Jason Todd. After being violently killed by the Joker in the comic story line Death in the Family, it seemed like Jason Todd was set to go the way of Ben Parker and The Waynes. He was the first Robin to die, and the very first mainstream comic book character to die by popular vote. His popularity had dropped as most fans felt the young Todd was just “another Dick Grayson” and maybe they were right.
Five years later, when a vigilante challenges Batman’s role in Gotham, it turns out to be none other than Jason Todd, now going under the moniker of The Red Hood. Now back from the dead (thanks to Superboy Prime punching a hole in the universe — it was a whole thing), Jason got a second chance at life and now spends his time search for his ultimate purpose.
After Dick Grayson quit as Robin, Batman didn’t want another partner. Things don’t always go as planned, however, and one night after paying his respects to his parents in crime alley, Batman returns to find that his Batmobile has a tire missing. Impressed by the guts it would take to steal from the Dark Knight, Batman laughs. Later, a young Jason Todd returns to continue his work, tire iron in hand and Batman demands that he return the tire he stole. Todd strikes Batman, and quickly runs home.
Batman uses his detective skills to locate the junior offender, and when he does, he finds Todd living in a condemned building smoking cigarettes. He forces Jason to not only return the tires, but to start going to school, or he will call the police. Soon after he recruits Jason as the second Robin, and Todd’s life was never the same again.
13. BLACK MASK FACE OFF
When Todd returns to Gotham, it is firmly in the hands of a sadistic kingpin going by the name Black Mask. Mask is a dangerous man, making his money from drug trafficking and gun running, and he doesn’t fight fair. For years, Mask was able to accumulate power through fear and intimidation, crushing all opposition. This takeover by force worked for a while… until Jason Todd came to town.
Jason goes out of his way to make Black Mask’s life a living hell, all to prove a point to the would-be villains of Gotham City. He blew up his drug shipments, confiscated packages, and drove Mask to the deep end. Black Mask even tried to recruit Mr. Freeze to help catch Red Hood, but to no avail. Jason was always one step ahead of Mask, eventually convincing the villain to kill all of his top associates. Hood 1, Mask 0.
12. DATING THE DEMON’S DAUGHTER
Jason had no idea why he awoke in a casket, buried alive. He desperately clawed his way out and was found wandering the street. Ra’s al Ghul, with the help of his daughter, Talia, kidnaps Jason and holds him in their care for a year. During this he is trained by the league of Assassins and tested for strength and durability.
Ra’s and Talia argue over the usefulness of Jason and during one of The Demon’s visits to the Lazarus pit, Talia, angered, pushes Jason into the pit as well, unleashing and empowering a new, stronger, more violent Jason. Talia then smuggles him out of the estate and away from her father. Todd vows to kill Batman with his own hands for failing him. Talia funds this mission of vengeance and one night they decide to consummate their partnership. The worse part? They both did it to spite Batman.
11. THE ART OF HIS WAR
Vengeance is a strong motivator. Accusing Batman of not having what it takes to put The Joker down for good, Jason vowed to take the Dark Knight himself, but there was an issue. How do you stay one step ahead of the man who trained you? To ensure victory over The Caped Crusader, Red Hood had to be well-versed in several kinds of martial arts. Not content with Batman’s teachings alone, he traveled the world, learning every form of martial arts he could, just as Batman once did.
Todd’s fighting style focuses on strength, speed, and brutality. He has studied multiple fighting styles and has proven to be a master of Aikido, Capoeira, Karate, Ninjutsu, Savate, Krav Maga, Kickboxing, and Tae Kwon Do. He has even bested some of the world’s greatest fighters (like Ra’s Al Ghul) in hand to hand combat. Red Hood is no joke when it comes to fisticuffs.
10. HIS SADISTIC PLOTS
Upon returning from the dead, Jason was obsessed with ruining the life of Bruce Wayne. For months, all he did was carefully plan and plot ways to traumatize the Batman. One of these plans in particular involved Clayface, an empty grave and some acting chops.
First, Jason hears of a new villain, Hush, who, coincidentally is going out of his way to enact his own revenge on Bruce Wayne. Hush agrees to partner with Todd in exchange for information to get inside Batman’s head. Once Todd exposes Batman’s identity to Hush, the two partner with Clayface and convince him to impersonate Todd, believing the image of his once dead protégé would be enough to destroy Bruce. They empty Todd’s grave and await Batman’s arrival. Clayface then kidnaps Tim Drake, and holds him hostage pretending to be Todd. The plan works, until Batman figures out it isn’t Jason, and easily defeats Clayface.
9. A RED LEGACY
Finding a post-sidekick name is hard. Dick had Nightwing, Roy Harper chose Arsenal, and Tim Drake became Red-Robin. For his new name, Jason pulled something out of Joker’s playbook. Before Joker’s iconic spill into dangerous chemicals, he was approached by the Red Hood Gang. The gang wanted him to lead them through a chemical plant he worked at, so they could pull a robbery next door. He hesitantly accepted the offer, and the gang gave him the Red Hood costume, consisting of a tuxedo, cape, and a large red helmet with no facial features.
The outfit, they said, had been worn by many others, and will help hide his identity. Unbeknownst to Joker, the gang had set him up to be caught by Batman as a distraction. Batman hits Joker, Joker falls into chemicals — that old riff. Years later, Jason uses the name and iconic hood as a reminder of Batman’s biggest mistake.
8. ROUND ROBINS
It’s always an awkward situation, coming back to an old job and seeing the guy they replaced you with. It’s got to be even harder when you have just come back from the dead. That was the case when Jason Todd first met Tim Drake, Batman’s third Robin. Drake, a member of the Teen Titans, held the mantle longer that Todd, a fact that didn’t sit well with Jason.
In Teen Titans #29, Jason Todd, breaks into Titan towers, subdues the rest of the titans through non-lethal methods and challenges Tim Drake to a sparing session. Tearing off his Red Hood garb, and revealing a full Robin costume underneath, Jason goads Tim into a fight. The two trained warriors battle it out, with Jason taunting Drake the entire time. When the topic of being a better Robin comes up, Todd beats Tim to a pulp and rips the “R” off of Drake’s Robin costume, disgracing The Boy Wonder.
7. A DARKER KNIGHT
When Bruce Wayne is presumed dead, Gotham City is primed for a new vigilante. While many qualified applicants expressed interest in taking up the cape and cowl, Red Hood took a more direct approach. Showing up in a custom Batsuit equipped with a mouth guard and two pistols, Todd outright stole the iconic persona for himself.
Claiming “I Am Batman,” Hood deals out his brand of justice, which means some broken bones and exit wounds. This doesn’t impress Nightwing and Bruce’s son Damian, who chase after this rogue Batman, hoping to find out his identity. After a scuffle, Jason shoots Damien Wayne and retreats to his Batcave, located in a subway station. He also stabs Tim Drake with a batarang (man he hates Robins). Fed up with his bloodshed, Dick Grayson dons the Batsuit and is able to stop Red Hood and his masquerade once and for all.
6. SEEING RED
Despite his failures trying to BE Batman, Jason’s actual goal when he first reemerged was to replace him. To Todd, letting people like Joker live is a mistake. Jason vowed to prove that The Red Hood could be Gotham’s savior, and when Bruce gets in his way, he sends him on a wild goose chase for his identity. In his prime, Red Hood wrested control from the top crime families in Gotham, while keeping Batman at bay.
When Dick Grayson become Batman, Jason is bitter he couldn’t. Sticking to his plan of showing up The Caped Crusader, he befriends a deranged victim of Professor Pyg named Scarlet. The two resembled a funhouse mirror version of Batman & Robin. They murder criminals in their path and actually win over the citizens of Gotham, until Damien and Grayson stop them in their tracks, putting the end to the murderous duo.
5. HERO FOR HIRE
What does a ruthless and highly trained killer do for extra cash? Lend out his crime-fighting services for a substantial fee, that’s what. Such was the case when Roy Harper, aka Arsenal, approached Todd about becoming a hero for hire, in Red Hood & Arsenal #1. He tries to convince Jason to use his specific talents for good. Roy even has a catchy name for the service, “Rent-A-Bat.” Jason was hesitant at first, but believes that it was the best of both worlds: he gets paid to beat bad people up.
The brothers at arms work together to expose the criminal underbelly of Gotham, and stop villains in their tracks. Equipped with the best firearms and trick arrows, Roy and Jason make a formidable team, even when they are arguing with each other. Roy also brings out Jason’s comedic side, making the poetry of two former sidekicks joining forces to destroy evil is worth the read.
4. SON’S OUT, GUNS OUT
Jason always thought he could be a better Batman. As Red Hood, he spends his time killing criminals and playing mind games with the Dark Knight. His takes his vendetta against Bruce out on Gotham and the two battle seemingly for the right to rule the city. The fight ends when Jason, who kidnapped the Joker, forces Batman to kill one of them. Batman refuses, Joker detonates a bomb and Jason disappears in the explosion.
After Bruce’s disappearance, Red Hood, angered by Dick Grayson taking up the Batman mantle, returns with a vengeance as Gotham’s newest hero. Again he tried to replace Batman. As always, he lives a pile of bodies in his wake, claiming to get the job done more effectively than even Grayson himself. Grayson defeats Todd, once Jason comes to his senses, but his happy trigger finger is something that can never be stopped, no matter how hard you hit him.
3. THE OUTLAW
What do you get when you cross alien royalty, an archer who’s a recovering addict, and a once dead mercenary who sees morality as shades of grey? You get Red Hood and the Outlaws, who made their debut in Red Hood and the Outlaws #1. In the story, Roy Harper, Jason Todd, and Starfire (of Teen Titans fame) decide to join forces for the greater good. Considering they are not affiliated with any government agencies or superhero teams, no one has jurisdiction over them. This allows them to do job other heroes can’t.
Striking out on their own, The Outlaws have done battle with gangsters, cults, space aliens, and even took down Lobo the intergalactic bounty hunter. More recently there has been a new iteration of the Outlaws consisting of Jason Todd, Artemis and Bizarro.
2. FRIEND OR FAUX
In the comic book story line One Year Later, Dick Grayson moves to New York City. Once there, he notices headlines in the newspaper reporting that Nightwing is in town, and has been murdering criminals. Later, Grayson is confronted by the fake Nightwing and deduces that it is Jason Todd, The Red Hood. Grayson is livid and the two fight. After knocking Grayson off a building, Todd slices his hand and allows him to fall. Jason then tells Dick that the people of New York prefer his take on Nightwing.
As Nightwing, Jason goes back to shooting, stabbing, and killing New York’s criminals. Later, Grayson confronts Nightwing and the two get into another fight that Jason wins again. He doesn’t stay Nightwing for long and the two eventually join forces to defeat a common enemy. Although it was short lived, Todd stealing the Nightwing mantle was surely memorable and downright SAVAGE!
1. JAIL HOUSE ROCK
In most circles, Jason Todd could be considered a villain or an anti-hero. Grant Morrison must have seen Todd as a villain because his portrayal of Jason in Batman & Robin is the most savage yet. Locked away in Arkham Asylum, Jason vows to escape, stating he will not held in the “kennel of freaks” Batman has kept him in. He explains he is simply homicidal, not crazy and that he passed every psych evaluation, multiple times, and how it would only be a matter of time before he is out.
Batman states it’s for his own good. Todd foils several attempts at his life, and kills each of the men who tried to kill him. Days later, he manages to poison food in the prison cafeteria, killing over 80 men and injuring one hundred. Horrified, Batman realizes this was Jason’s plan all along, cementing Todd as a master manipulator.
What’s your favorite Red Hood story? Let us know in the comments!