Friday, 28 February 2014

A New Boy Wonder for Batman Part Four ...... An Unhappy Reunion for ROBIN and a lesson from the JOKER

After returning to his old home in Crime Alley, Jason discovers that the person who believed was his Mother, Catherine Todd was NOT his true biological Mother. Catherine had died many years before from a drugs overdose, now Jason believed that it was possible that his real Mum was still alive. And if so he was going to find her.

Determined to find his birth Mother, Jason sorts through his late Fathers papers and discovers various leads and names in his Dad's old Diaries and address books. This confirmed that his Willis Todd had been his father, but Jason was a result of an affair with another Woman. Using this information along with more leads obtained via the Bat Computer, Jason narrows the list down to three names, and ultimately one.  a Sheila Haywood !
Jason discovers the location of Sheila Haywood..... his Mother ?

Dr Sheila Haywood had been a Doctor working in Gotham City, she had fallen in love with Jason's father Willis Todd and had had a child Jason.  Willis was already married at the time and would end up taking the child to be raised as his and his wife's own.

The main reason that Sheila abandoned her infant child was due to her having to leave Gotham after she caused the death of a young girl whilst performing an illegal back street abortion.  Where she went was a mystery to all, including Willis Todd, who appears not to have any further contact with sheila.

In a story that includes Bruce-Batman aiding Jason's search for his Mother, and visiting the 2 other "MAYBE" Mothers just in case, Jason and Bruce arrive in Ethiopia where  Dr Sheila Heywood was now residing and working as for a medical aid charity.

Bruce Wayne, as himself, introduces himself to the Doctor, but as he is known to Sheila from her days in Gotham she tells him he needs no introduction, BUT is puzzled why he was there. Bruce  then introduces Jason Todd to her, and from her reaction Jason knows she is his mother.

Mother and son Reunited. Could this be a Happy Ending ?

But like all good stories there are many secrets still to be relieved. After Jason tells his Mother about his life including that  he is Robin, Sheila confesses about her past  and the Death she caused as a illegal abortionist.  However what she does not tell Jason is that she has been embezzling monies from the organisation she now works for and that she is now being blackmailed by Batman's greatest foe....... The Joker !

It turns out Mummy Dearest Sheila is not the nice person Jason believes she is, and when  she betrays her son to the criminal madman as part of a deal to cover up her embezzlement, she believes that she will again be able to get away from her past sins.

On orders from The Joker, Sheila lures Jason, dressed as Robin into meeting with her at a warehouse. What Jason does not know that this is a trap orchestrated by her Blackmailer.... The Joker !

Arriving at the warehouse Robin is set upon by the Jokers Goons, but then The Joker steps in to administer his own brand of personal punishment. He wants to teach Robin a lesson he will remember for the rest of his life........

The JOKER comes to Party in his own peculiar manner 
ROBIN meets the Jokers NEW Friend     MR CROWBAR !

 Jason is beaten nearly to death  by the Killer Clown and his trusty CROWBAR !, whilst his mother watches on without attempting to intervene. This shows what a cold  hearted person she really was, but it is unclear if this behaviour is the result of her real character or how low she has sunken  over the years.

The Joker not wanting just to cause maximum pain to the now near death Boy wonder, now decides to make Robin's death monumental. He traps both Jason-Robin and  Sheila (who he has double crossed) in the warehouse with a Bomb. At the same time lures BATMAN to the same location, but as Batman arrives at the Warehouse the bomb explodes.

This was how the story finished in the Third Issue of Death in the Family. This is where the readers of DC got to choose what happened next. Two Voting Lines were set up.  One Line for Robin LIVES and other for Robin DIES.

Next time we will learn the out come of the vote, and what effect this had on the readers, media and BATMAN himself.

Until then    ENJOY !

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

A New Boy Wonder for Batman Part Three Jason Todd, a problem solved ?

The Year was now 1988, Batman had a new Robin in the form of Jason Todd.  Unlike the Former Boy Wonder Dick Grayson, Jason  Todd was a meaner version of this well known hero.

Initially, Jason was in all sense and purposes a copy of Dick Grayson, a former acrobat who had been orphaned when his Circus performing parents were killed by crooks. However, after the event called Crisis on Infinite Earths, the editors at DC decided to re write Jason's back story and re make him with a bit more of an edge.

The "NEW" Jason was a Street Punk, who had lost both of his parents. His Father had "disappeared" after failing to successfully complete a contract for his boss Two Face. Even though his body was never found, the word was he had been killed for his failure.  Jason's Mum had died after overdosing on drugs. This meant that Jason had spent many years on the street in the area of Gotham called Crime Alley. Here he learnt what he needed to do to survive.  Right and wrong did not matter, It was about survival at any cost.

Once Jason had been taken under Bruce Wayne's wing, Bruce aka BATMAN thought that with his guidance he could help mold the teenage tearaway into a positive person. Use the youngster rage in a constructive way. Bruce believed that Jason could be molded into an Allie in his war on crime.

At first this seemed to work, but as the months went on Batman noticed that his new Robin did not always play fare. The lines between good and bad, right and wrong seemed blurred to Jason. He liked being Bad Cop too much. Batman could frighten his enemies just with his presence , Batman would hit hard and fasts when the need arose. Batman knew when enough was enough..... Go too far and Batman could become what he hated the most..... Just as Bad as those he fought !   BUT  this new Robin lacked any control. He used excessive force at every opportunity. He was not just happy using his fists and the tools from his Utility belt, as had Dick before him.  but Jason would be happy to use Clubs, Knifes even Firearms on crooks or anyone that got in his way. Batman was convinced that Jason had even  caused the death of a villain.

Did he fall or Was he pushed ? Only Jason knew for certain

 As a result he asked Barbara Gordon to help train Jason. Barbara had retired from Crime fighting, but as a favour to Batman became Batgirl again to help teach Robin some self control. However, Barbara informed Batman that after working with Jason , she at times was frightened by him and his actions. Furthermore  Alfred also expressed his own concerns about young master Jason and his attitude.

Bruce tempts Barbara Back into costume to help his angry young ward.

As the months moved on Jason's behaviour began to get worse. Batman realising that Jason was too much of a loose cannon to allow him to continue as his partner. After exploring all avenues, Batman came to the only decision he could......... Jason could no longer be ROBIN.

Jason was angered by Bruce's decision and stormed out of Wayne Manor and headed back to the only other place he had ever called home........ the Crime Alley District of Gotham.

Here he re acquainted himself with many of the people he had known whilst he was living on the streets.  But a chance meeting with a former Friend and neighbour of his parents would end up making Jason question who he really was.

This question about his own identity would ultimately lead Jason down the path of his own redemption or his destruction

Next Time its Death in The Family !


Monday, 24 February 2014

A New Boy Wonder for Batman...... Part Two How do you solve a problem call JASON TODD ?

It was now 1987. and the fans of the BATMAN comics were split about Jason Todd and the "NEW" meaner ROBIN. The editors at DC realised that the character did not work as well as they hoped. Fans did not like many of the aspects of Jason after his  "reboot" and readership was falling as a result.


The Editors at DC then came up with a plan, they would allow the readers a say in what happened to Jason Todd.  This would be a mini series called " Death In the Family". Unlike today when via the social net work etc,  everything is known about future story lines, or is leaked months before a comic is even published , this story would remain top secret. The final chapter would not be known until the date of publication. It had worked in Soap Operas in the past with cliff hanging season finals which ended in final scenes being recorded  many times when the Hero did not either .....Get Married or did not , or went to Prison or did not, or came back from the Dead or did not....... or Even DIED ! or was saved  at the last minute. Who Shot JR had had  the public guessing for months !.

 If this could work on TV this could work in a comic. Marvel had killed off Jean Gray aka Phoenix of the XMEN...... but had written two endings to the tale, so that the story could have had a happier ending. Jean would live on minus the Phoenix Force... However, where Marvel had made the decision of to Kill or not to Kill a beloved character, DC would leave the choice to its readers......... BUT the readers would not know about the choices until before the final issue was about to hit the presses.

The current story line was adapted to have Batman start to question what Robin needed to represent. A balance of Good verses Evil. The Dick the old Robin had been Good, and was liked........ however, Jason the new Robin was not !.   Batman needed to make a choice.... and his readers would help !

Good Robin or Bad Robin 

Next Time we will see what happened to Jason Todd

Until the ENJOY !

Sunday, 16 February 2014

A New Boy Wonder for BATMAN Jason Todd Part Two

It was now 1983 and with The Original Robin, Dick Grayson aka Nightwing now spending all of his time as leader of the Teen Titans, and with Jason Todd now established as the NEW Boy Wonder, life in the Bat Cave went back to normal.

However, when DC decided to revamp their Comics and the whole DC Universe with the Crisis on Infinite Earths mini series it gave the editor a chance to remold both Bat-man's back story and with that Jason Todd's too. Past members of the Batman Family were also changed for ever, whilst some stayed the same. There had been a Bat-Woman, aka Kathy Kane, but she had been killed. Bette or Betty Kane had Not become the first BAT-GIRL as she had modelled herself on Nightwing and had taken the name Flamebird. Ace the Bat hound never existed, Barbra Gordon had become BAT-GIRL and had STILL been crippled by the Joker.... and Alfred was still Alfred but he now had been in The Wayne Family as Butler before Bruce had been born, and had helped bring him up after the tragic murder of  Bruce's parents.

Batman basically stayed the same, He had become BAT-MAN to help revenge his parents who were killed when he was young. Bruce would adopt orphaned Dick Grayson, who would later become Robin. Same story more or less. BUT after instead of Dick deciding that he had outgrown the Robin identity, his leaving the Bat Cave was after a result of many a disagreement with his mentor Bruce. Which ended up with Batman firing Dick as Robin. Sounds funny, but that is what happened. Dick went off and became Nightwing, he and Bruce would later on settle their differences, and would become part time partners when the need arose. But the relationship was more of a equal partnership, or that was what Dick thought anyway.

Anyway, back to the subject of Jason.  His back story changed from that of a red headed orphaned son of circus acrobats to a young street kid with dark black hair who encounters the Dark Knight whilst he was trying to steal the wheels off of the Bat Mobile. Jason "mark 2" 's  back story was much more grittier than his original pre crisis history. Jason's parents were not very nice, they lived in the seedy part of Gotham called Crime Alley. Jason's mother had been a drug addict who had died from a over dose. His father had been a member of Two Faced Gang who one day had just disappeared after failing  his boss the psycho  Harvey Dent aka Two Face. This left Jason alone, and an orphan on the streets of Gotham surviving by turning to petty crime.

Batman, via his Bruce Wayne identity ensures that the boy Jason come off of the streets and has him placed in a special school for troubled youths, however it turned out that this school was run by crooks, and used the children placed with them is their criminal activates.

Eventually, Jason aids Batman in helping capture the gang of thieves operating out of the school. Jason begs Batman, who his knows is Bruce Wayne, to be his partner. And Batman agrees and trains him as he did in the original version of Jason's life pre crisis. Jason again would not wear the Robin costume , instead   again a costume similar to that Jason pre crisis had worn. The main change was the mask, but this was more to do with the change of the artist than by design I believe. The hair was the biggest change, no more red headed Jason.

Again after training Dick offers Jason a copy of his original Robin costume, and his blessing as his successor as The Boy Wonder.

So Batman had a new Robin , but this was not a carbon copy of the Dick's Robin, Jason's Robin was not a trained acrobat, nor was he a natural athlete..... and he deferentially did not have Dick's sense of humour..... but what Jason had was an edge, a hardness a rage within. Many of the elements that Bruce processed himself. Bruce knew if he could teach Jason how to control these natural abilities, channel his internal rage, he would become an ideal successor to him...... The BAT-MAN.... or if  Jason was allowed to control his own destiny could evolve into his greatest enemy.

Bruce and Jason's relationship was difficult at first. Jason had spent years looking after himself, and did not always like the idea of answering to anyone. Jason Todd was a rebel after all.

Jason would not think twice about using excessive violence to get the bad guy.  This would included the use of firearms or blades.  At one point Batman wonders if the death of a serial rapist was an accident. Did he fall or did Jason in fact push him off of a roof top.
This ROBIN had an Edge..... A HARD EDGE

This new mean version of Jason did not sit well with many of the fans of  the Batman comics. Batman knew the difference between Right and Wrong, Good and Evil, Black and White.... he knew that he could not allow himself to become like the villains he hated. However,   the new Robin did not care. Fight Fire with Fire, An Eye for an Eye get the Job done and sod the consequences.  Kill or be killed was Jason's motto.  Batman realised that Jason was starting to over step the mark too often.  He needed to do something.

Next time we will look at what turned out NOT to be a very happy end of   Jason's time as the Boy Wonder.

Until then ENJOY !

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

A New Boy Wonder for Batman ...... JASON TODD Part One

When Robin aka Dick Grayson gave up the identity of  Robin to become Nightwing in the early 1980's this gave the editors at DC a chance to invent a new BOY WONDER to partner BATMAN. The Batman character worked well as a solo act, BUT now Dick was gone, and Barbara was no longer BAT-GIRL, Batman's only sounding board was Alfred. And as Alfred was never in the field of play, their conversations were only by Radio or back in the Bat Cave, therefore divorced from any real connection with the action.. Batman needed more interaction, Batman needed a new Boy Wonder ! This new Dick would be called Jason.

Jason Todd was the name that the new Robin would be known as was not a lots different from the original boy wonder. Jason's back story was nearly completely identical as Dick Grayson's. They were both orphaned sons of Circus Acrobats, who would be adopted and would live with Millionaire Bruce Wayne.

The main difference between the characters was basically where Dick had Black hair, Jason was a Red Headed boy. Plus Jason was younger than the outgoing Robin, But older than Dick when he became Robin. The original Boy Wonder had been a pre teenager when he became Robin and this was the 1980's and the idea of a little boy fighting crime was not acceptable. Jason would be a young teen. Also he would originally be shown as a happy go lucky teen with a sense of humour and witty vocabulary . Just like the original Robin Character. In fact the writers at DC had NOT invented a New Robin, they had just re created a younger version of the Grown up Boy Wonder.

Like Dick, Jason discovered that Bruce was BATMAN, and tried to convince him that he could be his new partner. Bruce refused at first but relented and decided to train the boy.

Originally Batman did not want Jason to be the new Robin, BUT did allowed Jason to wear a costume that was made up of elements of both Dick Grayson's old Circus attire similar to that his late parents wore as the Flying Graysons.

Although Jason aided Batman, who was still then "working" sometimes with Dick, Jason's Hero character did not have a name.


After a few months of training alongside BATMAN and with a little help from Nightwing, Jason was allowed to become Batman's official partner. With the Blessing of Dick Grayson and a present of a copy of his own Robin Costume Jason became the  New Boy Wonder.

Nightwing gives his blessing to his successor. 

So not to look out of character, Jason decided to dye his hair Black, so to look like the original Robin.
The Batman Family Alfred, Jason Bruce Dick & Babs.

Jason Todd the NEW BOY WONDER .

Next Time we will look at the changes that happened to the New Robin after the Crisis on Infinite Earths saga !

Until then ENJOY !

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

The Many Lives and Times of Robin The Boy Wonder Dick Grayson

Already in my blog I have detailed the tale of how in 1940 Bat-man obtained a partner called Robin.

As we know Dick Grayson was the first in a long line of Crime Fighting Robin's that help the Caped Crusader and his war on Crime in Gotham City.

Originally I was not going to continue my BAT-MAN FAMILY to include the replacements Robin's, BUT as I had already included everyone from Bat-Mite to The Original Bat-Girl ,   The Huntress to Ace The Bat Hound, I felt it was not being fare not to included the whole of the Robin Clan.

So next time we will look at what happened when Dick handed over his cape to a New Boy Wonder.
Richard "DICK" Grayson from Circus Boy via Robin to Nightwing !

Until then ENJOY !