In DC’s new Batman: Urban Legends # 1, Little Red Riding Hood proves that he can be a hero in a way that the Dark Knight cannot due to his dark past.
Warning! Spoilers ahead for Batman: Urban Legends # 1, “Batman and Little Red Riding Hood: Animate”
In the new DC Comics series Batman: Urban Legends, the Red hood shows that he can be a hero in a way that Batman cannot. Gotham City is in crisis, and this new series serves to highlight all of the city’s heroes, not just Bruce Wayne. As such, each issue will exist as a collection of stories from a cast of stellar writers, with the first tale showing Red Hood investigating a new drug on the streets. However, things are starting to get a lot more complicated and personal for Gotham’s deadliest vigilante.
While all of Batman’s former Robins have dynamically complex and troubled pasts, Jason Todd arguably has the darkest origins, having lived most of his childhood as an orphan before Bruce Wayne took him in and set him on the path as the second Robin from Batman. However, the darkness of Jason’s troubled upbringing came with him, turning into aggressive tendencies under the tutelage of the Dark Knight, who worried Batman. Ultimately, Jason was killed by the Joker, and his subsequent resurrection by Ra’s Al Ghul unlocked more of Jason’s darkness, leading to his transformation into Little Red Riding Hood. While he now believes that lethal methods are the only way to achieve true justice, Jason has since worked to manage his darkness into an outlaw trying to do good.
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Now the Red Hood story in Batman: Urban Legends # 1 Writer Chip Zdarsky with art by Eddy Barrows sees Jason working in Gotham, agreeing to a compromise with Batman to use only rubber bullets in his weapons. It has also been revealed that Jason has been researching a new drug known as “Cheerdrops” that brings one’s biggest dreams to life (while endangering them in their hallucinations and causing them to overdose). Naturally, drugs are taking the city by storm, and Red Hood is looking to stop it once and for all. However, his investigation puts him face to face with a boy named Tyler, whose mother is in a coma from an overdose and his father is nowhere to be found. Seeing that Jason himself was an orphan whose own mother died of an overdose, Red Hood takes it upon himself to protect the boy and find the boy’s father.
Thus, the motivation and mission of Red Hood have changed, and now he is only motivated to protect and prevent this child from having a broken and dark childhood like he did. If Batman had been the one to find Tyler, he probably would have made sure the boy was in good hands and that would be it. Instead, Jason goes further and tries to find Tyler’s father. This is because Jason is thinking about 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 Gotham’s drug production, who didn’t give a damn about his wife or son. When he admitted to giving some of the drugs to the boy, Red Hood could no longer contain his darkness. Without thinking, he shot and killed the man. Sadly, this probably means that murder is all Batman will worry about, and he will no doubt come looking for Jason to bring him. However, it is equally doubtful that Red Hood will not go down without a fight. At the very least, Jason will want to make sure the boy is safe before turning himself in to the Dark Knight. Regardless of Red Hood’s lethal tactics, his choice to protect Tyler was the heroic thing he could do, and killing his abusive father is arguably an extension of that (dark albeit). Here is hope Red hood you can fulfill your new mission of keeping the child safe Batman: Urban Legends continues from DC Comics.
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