Although Jason Todd is eventually resurrected after the Joker killed him in cold blood, it turns out that the Harlequin of Hate is well aware of how deeply he has wounded the boy who will become the Red Hood, summarizing his lingering trauma in an outrageously heartless way.
Jason Todd was the second Batman Robin killed during Deaths in the family (from Jim Starlin and Jim Aparo) when the Joker beat him almost to death with a crowbar and then planted a bomb that eventually killed him. Of course, readers played a role in this horrific ending—the fan vote chose to kill Jason by a small margin — but even after he came back to life, the Red Hood retained a constant hatred for the Joker, which prompted him to kill criminals so that the innocent would be killed. to spare. While Jason has recently abandoned deadly tactics and reunited with the bat family, his rage remains, and the Joker is very happy about it.
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In “The Three Jokers”—from Jeff Jones and Jason Fabock —Red Hood, Batman and Batgirl investigate the claim that there are secretly three versions of the Clown Prince of the underworld. It turns out there are a lot more of them, as the Joker has developed a plan to create the “next” Joker, turning Joe Chill, the killer of Bruce Wayne’s parents, into his last nightmare. In addition to the Dark Knight, the Joker admits that Chill wasn’t the only candidate he considered, saying he was also thinking about transforming the “cripple” and “child”—Barbara Gordon and Jason Todd.
Both nicknames that the Joker gives Batman’s allies are disgusting, but they are also a fascinating window into his psyche. The Joker injured Barbara Gordon’s spine after shooting her in her home, forcing her to retire as Batgirl, and killed Jason when he was still a boy. It’s terrible, but the Joker’s nickname immediately points to the sad truth that Jason was never able to truly heal or grow up after that moment. In many ways, he is still a broken, desperate child who died like that, lashing out at the father who could not save him, and at the same time playing out his trauma on anyone who even slightly reminds him of the Joker.
Although the Joker could not take Red Hood’s life forever, he distorted it forever, leaving Jason Todd trapped in a state of psychological adolescence that causes him constant pain and makes him unable to maintain a romantic or platonic relationship without destroying it. him. Jason is a “child” not because of his innate personality (although he has always been cocky), but because the Joker locked up a part of him as a child. The Joker’s nicknames for Batgirl and Little Red Riding Hood correspond to what he thinks he did to them—the only meaning they have when viewed solely through the prism of his rivalry with Batman.
Of course, the irony is that Jason Todd, continuing the cycle of recriminations with Batman, is experiencing exactly what Bruce Wayne was struggling with after the murder of his parents. Each of them has suffered a childhood trauma so devastating that it seems impossible to ever pass by. Fortunately, even though he can be insightful, the Joker also ends up being wrong, letting his ego and cynicism fool him into believing that the Red Hood will never outgrow his darkest moment—in fact, thanks to his friends and allies, Jason has already started it. process.