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 !

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