Mister Todd’s Wild Ride

October 7th, 2009 by | Tags: , , ,

So, in the last issue of Batman and Robin we found out that Jason Todd is the Red Hood.  He took off the mask and revealed some inside information that was, I think, something only Jason Todd would know.  What threw me was the character had a new hairdo, which was red hair with a white streak in it.  He gave a long and fairly convoluted speech about how his hair got that way. 

Honestly, the whole incident was someone confusing.  I can think of a few reasons for Morrison to include it, which I will list below.

1.  Pre-Crisis Jason was an upbeat acrobat who traveled with a circus until his parents were murdered.  Does that sound like anyone we know?  Originally he was drawn as strawberry-blond, although he leaned more towards the blond in all the comics I’ve seen.  When he became Robin regularly, he dyed his hair black.  The new red hair could be a sign that he’s a Jason Todd from another dimension.

2.  It could be a big fake.  Why would Red Hood tell an elaborate story to someone who never knew his hair color in the first place.  A tell-tale sign of a lie is putting in so many details that it’s ‘realistic’.

3.  It could be just so we didn’t know who he was the moment he took off his mask.  So many times, taking of the mask establishes identity.  Morrison could be trying to work around that cliche.  The problem is, my reaction was as follows:

“Oh!  It’s not Jason Todd! . . . Oh.  It’s Jason Todd.”

Ideally, you would want the exclamation points reversed.

4. Is it me or does he look and act uncannily like Rorschach?  Could it all be a shout-out?

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7 comments to “Mister Todd’s Wild Ride”

  1. Uzumeri agrees with you on the Rorshach thing.

    I think that at some point, a fake just becomes too complicated. While he doesn’t need to tell Sasha about his hair, it didn’t feel like he was laying it on very thick. He really has no benefit to pretending to be Jason Todd. Even his motivation (make Batman obsolete) fits with Resurrected Jason.

    Also, I can’t believe that you brought this up like a month before it actually happened in the comics!

  2. Just read it at lunch, and it was certainly an odd moment. In his post-crisis debut in Batman 410 (right? do I mis-remember? This was actually one of the first comics I owned . . .) his hair was black. So unless something happened in some subsequent crisis or another the whole bit just didn’t make sense to me.

    Also, how did Penguin not die falling out of that window? I think this was probably not meant to look as dire as it did. I’m afraid to say this Phillip Tan guy is dropping the ball in a big way. It probably wouldn’t be as pronounced if he weren’t following Quitely, but the bit with Red Hood slamming Damian on the table showed that he is, to his credit, reaching, but will likely never grasp.

  3. I thought it was just that it was supposed to be Jason II, but Morisson stole something from Jason I’s origins because he liked it and thought it was a good way for Jason to voice his resentment of Bruce without saying “Bruce wanted me to be like Dick. But I am not like Dick. I feel if I were Dick he would like me more.” (Though he does come pretty close.)

    But it’s hard to reconcile with the actual character who’s had black hair since Bruce met him and would hardly have been dying it up until now for no reason, would he?

    Maybe he also likes that it makes him more Rorshach, though.

  4. @Finite Mike: Philip Tan’s a terrible artist, mainly.

    And Jason having red hair ties back into Morrison’s “All Batman stories are true, in some way, shape, or form” idea. That includes pre-Crisis. I think it’s pretty neat, but I really wish someone else were drawing it.

  5. @david brothers: Yep. Tan is good, but…he’s not that good.

    I imagine the Rorschach thing ties in to Morrison’s continuing theme for Jason – as a poster boy for the angry, gritty elements that have pervaded comics throughout Marvel and ever since TDK and Watchmen.

  6. As a big Quitely fanboy ever since his Missionary Man work, I don’t mind Tan’s issues so much apart from the odd panel where it’s unclear what’s happening, though this is less Tan’s failing than that of the editor who has the final word on what sees print.

  7. *sighs* this is so confusing and disappointing. He’s now officially the red-headed stepchild. (Why does it feel like character bashing writing instead of…actual unbiased writing…)