While Red Hood recently decided to reject lethal weapons such as guns, his choice to wield a crowbar has very specific motivations.
Warning: spoilers ahead for Nightwing 2021 Annual #1!
In DC Comics’ Nightwing 2021 Annual, Jason Todd’s Red Hood confirms the real reason he switched from guns to a crowbar. While part of his decision comes from a newfound desire to be more non-lethal in his efforts to serve justice, there’s also a tragically brutal explanation for why he’s specifically chosen a crowbar as his primary weapon of choice now that he’s no longer using firearms. Not only does it involve his surrogate father Batman, but it also involves his lasting trauma caused by the Joker.
In Nightwing 2021 Annual #1 from writer Tom Taylor and artist Cian Tormey, Dick Grayson watches surveillance footage of Red Hood seemingly opening fire and killing a collection of criminals and FBI agents. However, rather than immediately condemning Jason right away, Nightwing decides to confront his brother directly to hear Red Hood’s side of the story, despite the overwhelming evidence. After hearing Todd deny his involvement, Dick decides to believe Jason, especially considering Red Hood’s recent decision to stop using guns (even those with rubber bullets).
Furthermore, when Dick asks Jason to elaborate more about why he is now using a crowbar, Jason confirms that the decision was very much intentional. Firstly, a crowbar was what Joker used to kill Jason years ago during the “Death in the Family” arc. Batman was unable to save Jason, who was beaten to a pulp before dying in a warehouse explosion. While he was later resurrected to become the Red Hood, it seems as though the trauma inflicted by the beating has never quite gone away. As such, Jason has seemingly chosen to take a page out of Batman’s book when it comes to fear, revealing that his choice of weapon is a way of facing his demons – logic which Nightwing can’t help but point out should have inspired Jason to actually dress as a crowbar.
Nightwing’s jokes aside, it certainly seems as though Red Hood’s crowbar follows the same logic as Bruce Wayne’s bat obsession. However, it seems as though that’s about as far as Red Hood’s Batman emulation goes. While Dick says that Batman is proud of Jason for no longer using guns, Todd was very clear in Batman: Urban Legends when he first made his choice to ditch guns that he was doing it due to his own desire not to hurt the innocent through the ripple effect of death, not because he wants to start obeying Batman’s rules.
In any case, it’s clear that Red Hood using a crowbar isn’t simply a fun replacement for his guns. It’s a serious callback to his darkest day, and his traumatic death at Joker’s hands. As a result, it appears as though using a crowbar allows Jason to face and control his fears while also overcoming his trauma. However, while this annual issue of Nightwing shows that Red Hood can use the crowbar without killing his foes, that doesn’t mean he’ll be any less brutal as his journey in the DC Universe continues.
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