Comics, like other creative mediums, offers writers and artists the chance to be experimental and provide different takes on established characters. Thinking outside of the box can help to keep characters relevant and inspire fans to see them in a different light. One of the most interesting reinterpretations I’ve come across recently is the presentation of Red Hood as a Japanese warrior.
An alternative take
I’ve written extensively about Jason Todd and why he’s such a fascinating character. From a fan perspective, seeing artists like Dexter Soy build on Red Hood’s legacy is refreshing. Soy received praise for his work on Red Hood and The Outlaws, and since then he’s continued to add his own style to Jason’s costume. His Red Ronin paintings are a stunning mix of Japanese culture and urban grittiness.
In Soy’s art, Red Ronin’s costume consists of sci-fi styled armour with Japanese influences. He carries a katana on his back and two smaller swords on his belt. His sleeveless jacket is reminiscent of a traditional kimono jacket called a Haori. This type of clothing was considered fashionable for Japanese men during the Edo period.
Red Hood in feudal Japan
Red Hood was also turned into Red Ronin in Batman: Ninja. During the film, Batman and his allies were transported back in time to feudal Japan by Gorilla Grodd. The animated Red Ronin’s costume consisted of a traditional kimono, face mask, urn-like helmet and dual flintlock pistols. While I’m not the biggest fan of the costume, I can appreciate that it was designed to mirror the clothing of the time period.
Batman: Ninja is an entertaining film and Jason had a standout scene that involved him tracking down Joker and Harley Quinn. When he found them masquerading as farmers, Red Hood assaulted Joker, demanding he reveal his true identity. However, Joker had lost his memory, which caused Batman to step in and restrain Jason.
Despite Red Hood following Batman’s rules in the film, I could imagine him choosing to walk his own path if they had stayed in Japan. With his lethal approach, he’d break away from his mentor’s teachings and become a true ronin – a masterless samurai.
Are there any classic comics characters that you’ve come across that have been redefined in interesting ways? If so, feel free to let me know in the comments!