This December, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Robin, DC will be launching the ROBIN WAR. This crossover will involve all the Robins, new and old. To build up to this event, ComicsVerse will be spotlighting each of the Robins in DC history and their status leading up to ROBIN WAR.

Robin wars tie in comic

This recap will be focusing on the New 52 version of Jason Todd/Red Hood, but will make some references to the character’s pre-52 storylines.

New 52 Origin Story

Jason is raised in a broken home with an abusive father and a drug-addicted mother. Eventually, Jason’s father is sent to jail, where he is killed, leaving Jason to take care of his mother. Jason is taught how to survive on the streets by his father before he left. Jason uses these skills to become a low-level criminal in Gotham City. It is revealed that Jason meets Talia al Ghul during the ZERO YEAR storyline, but at the time he is only fifteen and does not know who she is. During that encounter, Jason masquerades as a member of the Red Hood Gang and witnesses the debut of the Joker for the first time.  He also demonstrates skills that not even Talia possessed, prompting her to keep a close eye on Jason’s future.

The most popular origin story for Jason Todd that most fans are aware of is the stealing of the Batmobile’s tires. There were some changes in the New 52 origin story- this time Jason is caught stealing medical supplies from Leslie Tompkins after she cares for his injuries. Batman eventually takes the troubled youth into his home and reveals himself to be Bruce Wayne.

Robin 2

As Robin, Jason has many adventures with Batman and the two slowly learn to trust one another. However, as time goes on, Jason feels himself growing apart from Bruce and disagreeing with his style of crime fighting. Looking for a sense of belonging, Jason finds out that his mother is somewhere in the Middle East and decides to find her. What happens next is almost exactly what occurs in the iconic graphic novel BATMAN: DEATH IN THE FAMILY. Jason finds his mother only to be double-crossed by her. She hands him over to the Joker in exchange for drugs. The Joker ends up killing both of them.

READ: Our review of BATMAN AND ROBIN ETERNAL #7! 

Jason’s New 52 origin story matches the one in the animated film BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD, based on the graphic novel of the same name. There are some slight differences; instead of Jason learning from various teachers from all over the world, he is taught by the League of Assassins and the All-Caste.

The All-Caste

The All-Caste was founded by Ducra, an immortal who drank from one of the first Lazarus Pits (The Well of Sins), in an attempt to combat the Untitled. The Untitled are a group of supervillains who also drank from the Well of Sins, but were corrupted by it. The All-Caste make an agreement with Ra’s al Ghul’s League of Assassins. Part of this deal is to train the newly resurrected Jason Todd to be an assassin. Once he is fully trained, he returns back to the League of Assassins, where he is taught by individuals such as Bronze Tiger and Lady Shiva. Jason leaves the League a seasoned killer, ready to exact revenge against Batman, having seen that his death at the hands of the Joker has gone unavenged.

Falling Out with the Bat-Family

Red Hood and Nightwing and Batman

That plan is ultimately thwarted by Batman and Nightwing, and the two heroes basically shun Jason from the Bat-Family. After this, Jason becomes a mercenary, and he finds himself crash landed on an island. On the island Jason meets the Tamaranean named Starfire. She initially mistakes him for Dick Grayson, as she’s apparently lost her memory. The two share a sexual relationship for a short time, until Jason sees that his old friend, Roy Harper, is stuck in a Middle Eastern Prison. The two decide to break Roy out of prison and have him join their little group of outlaws.

RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS

Red Hood and the Outlaws

Initially the trio have no intention of battling the forces of evil, but they are almost forced to get involved once Essence contacts Jason. Essence is also a member of the All-Caste with Jason, and she is able to communicate with only him; she is invisible to everyone else. She informs Jason that the Untitled have slaughtered every member of the All-Caste and that they are the only two left. Upon hearing this news, Jason heads to the All-Caste headquarters and sees that his former friends and teachers are becoming zombies! Forced to kill them, Jason becomes motivated to take down the Untitled to avenge his fallen comrades.

LISTEN: Our podcast on Jason Todd/Red Hood!

So the trio seek the “Chamber of All” to learn more about their opponent. Here, they must give S’aru (a four-millennia-old proctor) a cherished memory. The Outlaws fight a large creature named Crux who is trying to rid the world of aliens, and they dispose of him quickly. When they decide to leave, S’aru offers Todd his cherished memory back, but he chooses to leave it behind. Later, they find and destroy a member of the Untitled in Middleton, Colorado. Essence returns, revealing to Jason that she betrayed the All-Caste in favor of the Untitled due to her mother, Ducra, who was possessed by them.  Essence is defeated by Red Hood.

Red Hood Attacks Essence

The Outlaws eventually face a woman from Jason’s past in Hong Kong named Suzie Su. Jason once killed everyone in her family except for her and her father, though he did end up mortally wounding Suzie. Her father sends her to Gotham City to be healed, but once she is there, she threatens the hospital’s children ward. The Outlaws saves the children, and Jason takes her out with a bullet to the head.

NIGHT OF THE OWLS

Shortly after defeating Suzie Su in Gotham, Jason receives a transmission asking all Bat-Family members to help in taking down the Court of Owls. Jason reluctantly agrees and saves Mr. Freeze from a Talon attack. He tracks down a Talon to an empty Haly’s Circus lot, where the two have a heart-to-heart, which ends with the Talon asking Jason to end his life. While that is going on, Starfire and Arsenal defeat Mr. Freeze, and Jason delivers him to Batgirl, who is still bitter towards him. Jason and the Outlaws then leave Gotham.

DEATH OF THE FAMILY

Joker death of the family

When Batman finds out that the Joker has discovered the true identities of all of the members of the Bat-family, he calls them together. Certain members of the Bat-family show their concern with inviting Jason, but Dick defends him. Batman lets the family know that Joker plans to target each of them individually, so they need to watch each other’s backs. Jason and Tim Drake are soon ambushed and abducted by the Joker. The two are trapped in an undisclosed location and need to rely on their team members to figure out how to work together to save them.

READ: The analysis of the Joker in DEATH OF THE FAMILY!

It is here that Jason learns that the Joker has been influencing his entire life. Joker apparently wanted a Robin who would cross the line Batman was unwilling to cross. The Joker knocks the duo out, and they awaken with the rest of the Bat-Family inside a cave. The Joker makes it seem that he has removed their faces, like he had done to his own.  Alfred, meanwhile, is under the influence of Joker serum. It turns out it is all a sick joke, and none of them really had their faces removed. Batman chases the Joker, but the Bat-Family soon becomes infected with Joker gas and begins to attack one another. Batman seems to have beaten the Joker, but the rest of his Bat-Family are scarred by what they learned about Bruce by the Joker.

Damian’s Death and Jason’s Reconciliation

Jason todd face

In the aftermath of the DEATH OF THE FAMILY storyline, Jason becomes injured by a chemical that had been put into his mask by the Joker. Jason and Bruce finally reconcile their differences after Jason learns that Bruce waited by his bedside and took care of him. For a short time after this, Jason works with Batman Incorporated under the codename “Wingman”. He also allies himself with Damian, who works under the codename “Redbird”. The two infiltrate Leviathan, the organization headed by Talia, who has put a bounty on her son’s head. The Wingman and Redbird identities are short-lived, and the two eventually go back to their original code names.

READ: Our review of BATMAN: EUROPA #1! 

It is shortly after the events in DEATH OF THE FAMILY that Damian actually dies at the hands of Heretic (an adult clone of Damian created by Talia). Batman and Jason team-up once again for a mission in Ethiopia to take out some other would-be assassins of Damian. While there, Batman takes Jason to the place of his death and asks him to provide some insight to his own death and resurrection. Batman wants to use the same method on Damian to bring him back to life. Jason is hurt that Batman would manipulate him like that, and their recently new-found relationship is seemingly destroyed. However, when Jason learns that Batman has gone to Apokolips to save Damian, he joins Batgirl, Red Robin, and Cyborg to aide him.

Batman and Robin2

Saving Damian from Apokolips

Damian’s body is taken by the Darkseid minion, Glorious Godrey, to Apokolips. Batman goes there with his “Hell Bat” suit, determined to get his son back alive. As soon as the Bat-Family finds out, they suit up in Robin-inspired versions of their usual outfits. The group of Red Hood, Batgirl and Red Robin have Cyborg take them to Apokolips (against his will) to aide Batman. Eventually, Batman has to face off against Darkseid himself, and he ultimately defeats him through the use of teamwork.  Batman and the others return to the Batcave using a Boom Tube. Once home, Batman uses the Chaos Shard to heal Damian. The shard not only revives Damian, but it also gives him new super powers, as well.

Red Hood and Arsenal pic

Eventually Red Hood and the Outlaws disband; Starfire goes to Florida to live her own life while Arsenal attempts to operate solo. After a transaction of a Senator for a ransom goes awry, Red Hood comes back into Arsenal’s life. A shady businesswoman named Battleworth sees the duo’s skills and hires them on as staff freelance workers. They do some jobs for her until deciding to break away and start their own freelance problem solvers/investigators/butt-kickers business. They eventually find their way to Gotham to take on Underbelly, a creature which feeds off the evil of people around it. Once there, they also go up against the new Jim Gordon/Batman, who is unhappy to see the two criminals.

READ: Our review of RED HOOD AND ARSENAL!

The three put their differences aside and take down Underbelly as a team. Eventually Jim Gordon/Batman agrees to leave the duo alone if they leave Gotham immediately. Red Hood and Arsenal accept, but Jason decides to track down Bruce to see if his former mentor is alive. Jason ultimately finds out that Bruce is still alive, but he has lost memory, due to the events of BATMEN ENDGAME.  The two share a moment of reconciliation. While Arsenal watches from above, he feels motivated to take on his own personal demons just like his friend Jason. Suddenly the Joker’s daughter appears and shoots Arsenal in the head, seemingly killing him.

However in the next issue, it is revealed that the Joker’s daughter was using a red paintball gun when she shot Arsenal. Apparently a team of supervillians that Jason and Roy have defeated in the past have joined together to kill the duo. It is not revealed how some of these villains are even alive, but Red Hood and Arsenal are able to evade them.

Robin Wars tie in

Oddly enough, Joker’s daughter seems to know everything about this movement and will probably fill Jason in on what’s happened with these young vigilantes as she joins Jason and Roy’s group.

There you have it, folks- everything you need to know about Jason Todd before diving into ROBIN WAR. Be sure to check out the War this December!

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