For most superheroes, resurrection is just another perk of the job, but in Red Hood’s case, the experience was horrifying for Jason Todd.
While Red Hood has been through his fair share of tragedies, none have been more horrific than his resurrection. As the former Robin once revealed, Jason Todd was not exactly thrilled to return to the land of the living. In fact, he can confidently say he would rather have stayed dead.
Serving as Batman’s second Robin, Jason Todd was brutally murdered by the Joker in 1984’s Death in The Family. Later revived by Talia al Ghul as a disastrous gift to Batman, Jason returned as the Red Hood. Despite Jason Todd and Batman being more alike than either will ever acknowledge, Red Hood was introduced as a villainous figure, often at odds with the Bat-Family. However, DC Rebirth saw Red Hood develop into an anti-hero, as he struggled to make sense of a new hesitance to kill. At one point, Jason ran with a rebooted version of the Outlaws, consisting of Artemis, an Amazon, and Bizarro, a Superman clone.
Red Hood first meets his teammates during an undercover mission that has him working for Black Mask. In 2016’s Red Hood and the Outlaws #3 by Scott Lobdell and Dexter Soy, Jason is forced to witness Bizarro’s gruesome birth. As he watches the clone nearly drown, Red Hood can’t help but reflect on his own unhappy reanimation, stating, “Not everyone wants to be alive.” Given the violent nature in which he was resurrected and his powerlessness to stop it, Jason’s rebirth is not a moment to be celebrated but is instead a traumatic and horrifying memory.
Watching Bizarro come to life in such a similar way hammers down the trauma of Red Hood’s origin. The issue depicts Bizarro’s birth alongside moments from Jason’s resurrection. The parallels begin as Talia gently lowers Jason into the Lazarus Pit. However, the following panels show Jason panicking in a haze of green water, blind to everything except his pain and Talia’s fearful expression as he surfaces. Jason states that Talia’s terror may have been caused by what he had become, pointing towards bitterness at how his rebirth changed him.
Unlike other superhero resurrections, Jason Todd’s return as Red Hood was a destiny forced upon him. It is important to understand that Jason did not get a say in his rebirth. Like Bizarro, Jason was violently awoken against his will, scared and confused as he drowned in Talia’s arms. As Jason has said, he does not wish to be alive, which is reflected in how he views his reanimation and his memories of Talia.
Given the horrific way he was resurrected, it makes sense that Jason Todd is not content with being alive again. Although fans of the anti-hero may disagree, it appears that for Red Hood, staying dead may have been a kinder fate.
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