In DC’s new Batman: Urban Legends #1, the Red Hood proves that he can be a hero in ways the Dark Knight can’t due to his dark past.
Warning! Spoilers ahead for Batman: Urban Legends #1, “Batman and Red Hood- Cheer”
In DC Comics’ new series Batman: Urban Legends, the Red Hood proves that he can be a hero in ways Batman can’t. Gotham City is in crisis, and this new series serves to put a spotlight on all of the city’s heroes, not just Bruce Wayne. As such, each issue will exist as a collection of stories from an all-star cast of writers, and the first tale sees Red Hood investigating a brand new drug on the streets. However, things start to get much more complicated and personal for Gotham’s most lethal vigilante.
While all of Batman’s former Robins have dynamically complex and troubled pasts, Jason Todd arguably has the darkest origins, living most of his early childhood as an orphan before he was taken in by Bruce Wayne and set on the path as Batman’s second Robin. However, the darkness of Jason’s troubled upbringing came with him, turning itself into aggressive tendencies under the tutelage of the Dark Knight, which concerned Batman. Eventually, Jason was murdered by the Joker, and his subsequent resurrection by Ra’s Al Ghul unlocked more of Jason’s darkness, leading to his transformation into the Red Hood. While he now believes lethal methods are the only way to achieve true justice, Jason has since worked to manage his darkness to where he’s become an outlaw trying to do good.
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Now, Red Hood’s story in Batman: Urban Legends #1 from writer Chip Zdarsky with art by Eddy Barrows sees Jason working in Gotham, agreeing to a compromise with Batman to only use rubber bullets in his guns. It’s also revealed Jason has been looking into a new drug known as “Cheerdrops” which bring one’s greatest dreams to life (while also endangering them in their hallucinations and causing overdoses). Naturally, the drug is taking the city by storm, and Red Hood is looking to stop it once and for all. However, his investigation brings him face to face with a young boy named Tyler, whose mother is in a coma overdose and his father is nowhere to be found. Seeing as how Jason himself was an orphan whose own mother died of an overdose, Red Hood takes it upon himself to protect the kid and find the boy’s father.
Just like that, Red Hood’s entire motivation and mission have changed, and he’s now solely driven to protect and prevent this kid from having a broken and dark childhood as he did. Had Batman been the one to find Tyler, he probably would have made sure the kid got into safe hands and that would be that. Instead, Jason goes further and tries to find Tyler’s father. This is because Jason is thinking back to his own past with social services and the system, and he doesn’t want that for the boy. Jason’s levels of sympathy in this regard are unique, allowing him to be a better hero in this situation than Batman would have been.
Unfortunately, Tyler’s father ended up being a major part of the drug’s production in Gotham who couldn’t care less about his wife or son. When he admitted to giving some of the drugs to the boy, Red Hood could no longer hold back his darkness. Without thinking, he shot and killed the man. Sadly, this likely means that the murder is all Batman will care about, and he’ll no doubt be coming for Jason to bring him in. However, it’s equally doubtful that Red Hood won’t go down without a fight. At the very least, Jason will want to be sure the boy is safe before surrendering to the Dark Knight. Regardless of Red Hood’s lethal tactics, his choice to protect Tyler was the heroic thing to do, and killing his abusive father is arguably an extension of that (albeit a dark one). Here’s hoping Red Hood can fulfill his new mission to keep the boy safe as Batman: Urban Legends continues from DC Comics.
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