Jason Todd – Wrong Number (Blue)


Art by Ramon Villalobos


*BZZT!* Wrong answer! Man, I’d be embarrassed if I were you.

Let’s face facts: Jason Todd dying is the best thing that ever happened to the guy.

Allow me to explain.

Jason Todd was essentially a placeholder developed after Dick Grayson started hanging out with the Teen Titans full-time as Nightwing. He was about as exciting as a loaf of bread. Following Crisis On Infinite Earths, he got a new, more intriguing origin as a street urchin recruited by Batman after he attempted to steal the hubcaps off the Batmobile. This Jason Todd couldn’t have been more different! He disobeyed Batman, he’d seen some real ugliness; he even killed (depending on your interpretation of Batman #422).

And everyone hated him! Who was this guy??

When the votes were tallied and the decision was made to kill off young Jason, this resulted in something we’d never really seen before in a Batman comic: for the first time, it felt as if Batman truly and utterly lost. Just as Spider-Man had with Gwen Stacy and Captain America had with Bucky Barnes, the Caped Crusader was now faced with a very real trauma that wouldn’t go away by the time the next issue shipped.

Jason Todd is Batman’s greatest failure, the reminder that he is simply a fallible man.

Even though it got to be overused, there was something haunting about the glass memorial case containing Jason’s Robin costume that loomed in the background of the Batcave. While the giant penny or T.Rex are merely cool set dressing, this was visual shorthand for Batman’s grief that stuck around for a surprisingly long time.

When they inevitably brought Jason Todd back (in a series of events frankly too stupid to recount), you’d think this effect would be undone, but Batman’s failure came to take on a new meaning. Now alive, Jason became the black sheep of the Bat-family. Bouncing back and forth between blood-thirsty vigilante and out-and-out villain, the now jaded Jason Todd, alias The Red Hood, was no longer “the partner Batman couldn’t save from death” but the corruption of everything he stands for, his mission. An even greater failure, you could argue.

While his current appearances in Batman Incorporated and his own title, Red Hood and The Outlaws, suggest a Jason Todd more on the side of angels than ever, he remains damaged – a troubled man adopting the former identity of the man who murdered him, a hero who wears the bat insignia on his chest but wields guns. A young boy who Batman has lost to the darkness, maybe forever. For all this to happen, Jason Todd had to die.

So… want to change your answer?

Ramon Villalobos is an artist that doesn’t like to talk about himself. He is a creative genius and standard bearer for future generations. Look at his work on tumblr and buy his work here. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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