On the Redemption of Jason Todd

I have no interest in writing for comics.

This admission may come as some surprise to people who know me, especially those who know what I do for a living. I’m surrounded by comics. I read comics voraciously. But! No interest in writing comics.

With one exception.

I would love to write a Jason Todd series.

Jason Todd, as Batman fans know, was the second Robin, the one who died in the famous telephone vote. A few years ago, Jason “got better” and he showed up in the Batman comics as a new vigilante on the streets of Gotham. He had all of Batman’s methods, but taken to their ultimate extreme. Like Batman, but without the moral core.

Jason hasn’t really had a role in the DC Universe. No one’s really sure what to do with him. He had a nice role in Countdown to Final Crisis that seemed to be building toward something like redemption, but after that he turned into a brutal asshole, and recently he took on the Batman costume as a gun-toting, armored Batman who may have met his death.

That’s okay. I’d still love to write for Jason. I can’t believe that Jason Todd is dead, now that they brought him back the first time.

So, what would I do with Jason?

Let’s just say that I have a very specific vision. Ideally, I’d put Jason in the Red Robin costume, so he can establish his own identity, but it appears that Tim Drake is the new Red Robin. I would also get Jason out of Gotham and on his own.

Sort of.

Jason needs to be redeemed. I think Jason can be redeemed. The trick is, how do you do it?

There are two things I would want to do. (And I’m keeping this kinda vague, on the off-chance that Dan Didio gives me a call, y’know?)

First, Jason needs to discover responsibility, and he would do that by taking someone under his wing. Like Batman has Robin, Jason needs someone. Not only to keep him in check, but to also give him perspective. If Jason is responsible for someone else, he can learn some maturity, and learn to temper his anger.

Second, Jason needs to find his place. In Gotham City, Jason doesn’t fit. There’s not a niche for a vigilante that takes the extreme measures that Jason takes. (Okay, there’s apparently a new Azrael, but let’s set that aside for a moment.) Jason’s methods are anathema to the rest of the Batman family. He will always fit Gotham uncomfortably. Jason needs a different city, with a different status quo, where he can establish new, and hopefully productive, relationships with the superhero community.

Of course, we’re talking ideals here.

It’s so much better, dramatically, when things go horribly wrong. 😆

Which is precisely what I would do.

First, we establish the new status quo. There would still be links back to the Batman family, but Jason’s on his own, he discovers his charge, and he makes his debut on the local stage.

Then, we see a tumble. Jason’s past comes back to haunt him, as that brings him into conflict with other local heroes. Things end on a harrowing note, and Jason realizes he has to pull his fecal matter together because he doesn’t have anything else to fall back on. He has to learn to rely on his skills — not to mention how to rely upon others — to extricate himself from the situation.

Finally, Jason triumphs over his public enemies and his private demons, and he discovers that he has a role to play, a niche to fill in this superhero community around him.

The ideas are still rough as I’ve not done a great deal to develop them. And truthfully, I still really want Jason in the Red Robin costume. Maybe when Tim is done with it, maybe? There’s time, this can wait a year or two.

Redeeming Jason Todd. This would be a fun story to tell. Promise. 🙂

Published by Allyn

A writer, editor, journalist, sometimes coder, occasional historian, and all-around scholar, Allyn Gibson is the writer for Diamond Comic Distributors' monthly PREVIEWS catalog, used by comic book shops and throughout the comics industry, and the editor for its monthly order forms. In his over ten years in the industry, Allyn has interviewed comics creators and pop culture celebrities, covered conventions, analyzed industry revenue trends, and written copy for comics, toys, and other pop culture merchandise. Allyn is also known for his short fiction (including the Star Trek story "Make-Believe,"the Doctor Who short story "The Spindle of Necessity," and the ReDeus story "The Ginger Kid"). Allyn has been blogging regularly with WordPress since 2004.

4 thoughts on “On the Redemption of Jason Todd

    1. I can see that.

      One interesting thing about Battle for the Cowl #3 is that the Jason Todd Memorial in the Batcave post-resurrection now makes complete sense. It’s a symbol of Batman’s failure, based on the content of Bruce’s post-mortem message to Jason.

      And, to my everlasting joy, the message makes the premise I have in mind for Jason Todd work even better. 🙂

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