Batman: The Animated Series Managed to Create an Even More Tragic Version of Jason Todd
In Batman: The Animated Series, the list of Robins goes from the OG Boy Wonder Dick Greyson to third Robin, Tim Drake, with my personal favorite, Jason Todd, being skipped over. Jason’s fate (being murdered by the Joker) has always been one of the darkest moments in the Batman mythos and too dark for even a show like Batman: The Animated Series, which struck a balance between the dark stories and children’s audience. Now, with the comic book mini-series Batman: The Adventures Continue, we get to see the in-BTAS universe backstory of what happened to the second Robin.
**Spoilers for Batman: The Adventures Continue #12.**
Within this incarnation, they keep that Jason was always the more temperamental and prone to violence of the Robins. He is kidnapped by Joker and Harley Quinn as they discuss the violent beatings he gave the Penguin and other members of Batman’s Rogues’ Gallery. Joker decides that he has to kill Jason in order to keep him from killing any of them, which is a very interesting rationale for all of this.
Harley doesn’t agree with killing a child and is thrown out by the Joker, and she decides to tell Batman what’s going on, giving the caped crusader a chance to save his ward before the end comes. Joker attempts to kill both of them and has gunfire erupt in the warehouse they’re in, despite it being full of hydrogen tanks. Naturally, Joker ends up knocked out at some point, and the now-freed Jason tells Batman to kill the Joker out of revenge for what he tried to do.
As we know, that is a line Batman doesn’t cross, and he actually helps to save the Joker from perishing in the flames. Jason tries to stop the rescue and ends up causing more of the hydrogen tanks to explode, and it’s implied that Jason dies, but Bruce says that he could never find a body.
This story, by Alan Burnett, Paul Dini, Ty Templeton, Mark Morales, Monica Kubina and Josh Reed, proves a really sad version of Jason’s story. Unlike in the original “Death in the Family” story, he is killed because of his own rage and inability to let go of vengeance. The fact that he is seen as such a threat by the Joker that he needs to be eliminated shows how, even in comparison to the Batman, Jason is seen as a force more threatening because he does not have a code. Having that be the reason for his downfall makes his story more tragic and more about who he is/was as a character than just the sad results of a narrow phone poll.
Jason Todd is one of my favorite DC characters and my favorite Robin, so I’m glad to see he has finally made it into the best version of the DC universe.
(via CBR, image: DC Comics)
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