Some will argue the gimmick to kill Jason Todd was in poor taste. I’ll agree with that on principle. But when you look at the death of Jason Todd it had such profound impact on Batman and his mythology it should have never been undone by HUSH.
One of the best things about the death of Jason Todd showed Batman was fallible and could make mistakes. In today’s Comic book world Batman has become a Cipher for whatever writer wants him to be. But when Batman was his own character with his own personality and “voice” the death of Jason Todd humanized him and showed the world that there was a man behind the mask who could actually be wrong.
The decision to make Jason Todd Robin was based on Batman’s emotions, not his logic. Yes, Jason was similar to Dick in that he was an orphaned kid. But whereas Dick had structure from their Two-parent household and the Circus he traveled with, Jason grew up in a dysfunctional household with an unstable father and a sickly mother. So his core values were off from day one.
But because Bruce was emotionally vulnerable after Dick Grayson left to become Nightwing and his own man, he made Jason Robin to fill the void in his life. And while he struggled with his feelings he tried working with a partner with a bad fit from day one. Yes, Jason Todd could be physically trained for the role of Robin. But he was never mentally ready to take on the job of being Batman’s partner.
Jason started out following Batman’s lead. But whereas Dick grew into a detective the equal of Bruce and a leader capable of handling tough situations in The Titans, Jason’s emotional issues made him more violent and out of control. When he let the rapist fall to his death it was clear he had no understanding of Batman’s mission. Batman is about Justice, not vengeance.
A Death in the Family was a story designed to show readers why Jason Todd was a bad fit in the Batman family. And it was designed to correct the mistake Bruce made. Jason’s rebellion and defiance led to that confrontation with the Joker that eventually led to his demise. He died a hero and readers learned that sometimes even Batman can be wrong. Not everyone is cut out for a life of crimefighting.
Second it showed he was human and had to deal with things like grief. Those two things allowed the Batman character to grow and become more relatable to readers. Death came to the Batman family and Batman had to deal with a loss like every other family out there.
Moreover, it helped readers appreciate Tim Drake’s role as Robin and the significance to Robin’s role at Batman’s side. Many thought Batman didn’t need a Robin after Jason Todd’s death. But the subsequent solo stories where Bruce was on his own showed readers the limitations he had working alone.
Batman having Robin at his side connects him to people. And it allows him to focus on his primary reason for being Batman. So that no other child will go through what he went through losing his parents. It takes the right person to keep Batman focused on his mission.
And Jason Todd just wasn’t the right person for the job. He was too emotionally and mentally unstable to be a hero. He should have stayed dead.
Unfortunately, Jeph Loeb decided to bring him back to the land of the living during HUSH. And other writers turned him into the Red Hood, a stain on the Batman Mythos.
The fact that he carries GUNS is a slap in the face to his mentor and his mission. The Gun killed Bruce’s parents. And Bruce swore never to use one. Every time Jason suits up with his pistols he spits in Batman’s face.
And the Red Hood character spits in comic fans’ face. By disrespecting the legend of one of DC’s Icons. Making a mockery of his mission and his core values. Sure some comic fans like him. But the way I see it Jason Todd should have stayed dead.
Some see Jason Todd as edgy and angry antithesis to Batman. But the way I see it he’s a character who better serves the Batman mythos six feet under. A dead Jason Todd shows the world that Batman’s work is dangerous. That it requires a person to have the right mental faculties and core values. And not everyone is cut out to for the job being at the side of the Dark Knight. That’s a lesson I believe readers, writers and comic creators could have benefited from having remained canon. And it’s the main reason why I believe Jason Todd should have remained dead.