Seeing the origin of a character can shed new light on their motivations. In the case of Jason Todd, the journey of how he became Red Hood is a dark and bloody tale. I’m reviewing Red Hood: The Lost Days by Judd Winick. Winick has also written Batman: Under The Red Hood, so his grasp of the character is impressive.
The story begins with Talia Al Ghul having located a mute Jason Todd. She found him and took care of him in in the hopes it will get her closer to Batman. Ra’s Al Ghul is interested to know how Jason came back from the dead. A year later, Jason still hasn’t spoken and Ra’s has lost his patience. Talia throws Jason into a Lazarus Pit and it brings back his memory.
Jason plots to kill Batman after learning that his death wasn’t avenged. Talia offers to help him, though is secretly trying to stall Jason until he changes his mind. Jason goes across the world and learns from assassins and bomb makers. Along the way he starts to develop his own code by killing his teachers and criminals. One of these adventures happens in the UK, where he stops a Russian bomb plot in London.
Eventually, Jason comes face to face with The Joker. He drags him into a garage and plans to burn him to death, but decides against it. He tells Talia he wouldn’t have been satisfied with killing him quickly and plans to confront Joker and Batman together. An emotional Talia tells Jason her father is dead and they sleep together.
Later, Jason meets with Thomas Elliot and confirms Bruce Wayne is Batman, which ties into the Hush arc. Talia gives Jason some new equipment and as he begins to set his plan in motion, he holds up a red helmet for the first time.
Winick presents Jason as damaged, focused and ruthless. His relationship with Talia is complex. What begins as a mother and son dynamic becomes something more over the years and it adds to the grittiness of the story.
Pablo Raimondi Jeremy Haun’s art is shadowy and soft. Haun can nail the emotion of Talia comforting a mute Jason and the violence of when he’s beating the hell out of gangsters. If you want to learn more about Jason Todd and what makes him different to his mentor then I highly recommend the graphic novel.
Red Hood: The Lost Days is available on Amazon.
If there are any graphic novels you’d like me to review then leave a comment below.