In comics, characters are often thrown together and forced to coexist. It provides the chance for some fun interactions, as the characters need to settle their differences. This is exactly what happened when Jason Todd was put with Bizarro and Artemis to form Red Hood and The Outlaws. All three characters came from different backgrounds and they started off fighting each other. Over time, they learned to work together and become friends.
Red Hood benefited from a lot of character development through his interactions with Artemis and Bizarro. His relationship with Artemis is interesting because they’ve had similar experiences. I’m taking a closer look at Red Hood and Artemis’ relationship to see how it’s developed.
From rivalry to friendship
Jason first met Artemis when he was infiltrating Black Mask’s organisation. To gain the villain’s trust he planned on stealing a package that would help Black Mask take over Gotham. Artemis showed up at the same time, looking for a weapon called the Bow of Ra. Their first interaction involved them insulting each other and getting into a fight. Artemis easily overpowered Red Hood, though they were forced to work together against Black Mask’s goons. They managed to stop bickering long enough to beat their opponents. The package they’d both come for turned out to be a Superman clone that would later call himself Bizarro.
The early stages of Jason and Artemis’ relationship can be characterised as antagonistic. Red Hood saw the Amazon as an overbearing pain in the ass, while Artemis viewed Jason as a child that couldn’t fight his way out of a paper bag. Yet they were able to develop a grudging respect for each other that blossomed into friendship.
I think this happened because they both sensed a kindred spirit in the other. Jason grew up on the streets, needing to fight to survive. He was an outcast that Batman took in, but even among the Bat Family he felt out of place because of his approach to crime-fighting. Artemis was born to the Egyptian tribe of Bana-Mighdall. Her community separated from the main Amazons centuries ago, so she grew up in the shadow of Wonder Woman. Artemis had to fight to distinguish herself from her sisters, to prove that she was worthy of becoming Shim’Tar, the chief warrior of her tribe.
Jason and Artemis have both lived in someone else’s shadow. They’ve felt they needed to prove something and find their own way through life. Artemis tied her worth to finding the Bow of Ra and becoming Shim’Tar. Red Hood agreed to help her find the Bow in Quarac. Along the way, Artemis reunited with her old friend/lover Akila.
Artemis needed to make the choice of siding with the Outlaws or fighting with her sisters. In the end, Artemis picked Jason and Bizarro, showing how much she valued their friendship.
The bond between Jason and Artemis became stronger when they looked after Bizarro. The Superman clone had an innocent outlook, not knowing his own strength. His child-like mentality made him dangerous, so Red Hood and Artemis decided to watch over him. It could be argued the two of them acted as parents to Bizarro. Jason and Artemis cared about their friend deeply enough to be heartbroken when Bizarro defended them against Solomon Grundy.
When Jason found out about Penguin’s involvement with his father, Artemis was there to comfort him. Even though Red Hood broke his promise to Batman, Artemis didn’t turn her back. In their final moment together, Jason and Artemis revealed their attraction.
Red Hood’s dynamic with Artemis is realistic because of how it was constructed. It took them time to get to know each other. They developed from rivals, to friends, to people who loved being around each other.
In the final video of The Life And Times of Jason Todd series, I talk about Red Hood’s relationship with Artemis and Bizarro. I also give my thoughts on his development throughout the New 52 and Rebirth universes.
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