Till Death Do Us Part...again

by Matt Russell - Posted 1 month ago

I couldn’t believe my mind! It's happening again. History is repeating itself. Please my cult-of-vigilantes, we must band together again to save a life.

Back in 1983, Batman traded in sidekicks. Done was Dick Grayson (the O.G. Robin), and in was a new kid by the name of Jason Todd.

Originally the kid was a carbon copy of old Dickie. Fans were pretty irate over the fact that he was so similar. Then came Max Allan Collins and Dick Giordano, the creative team behind Batman #408 in June of 1987.

This was a brilliant move (in my humble opinion). Rewriting Jason Todd to be more of a “street-punk” was what Batman was missing. Hell, he met the Bats by trying to steal the tires off the Batmobile. Balsy, right!?!

This kid was...well, a kid. He was immature, reckless, fearless, and just plain dangerous. He was such a great opposition to the stern, anti-funloving Batman. It was oil and water that the Bat was constantly trying to mix, to no avail.

Fans eventually got tired of Jason’s schtick and demanded change.

Now in 1998 Dennis O’Neil, a man who I personally knew at the time (I once mowed his lawn and then we chatted for about 4 hours about Batman), decided to make a bold change. The had written a great story that would become a legend!

Inspired by the ever-popular “create your own adventure” books of the day, DC Comics decided to allow Dennis the opportunity to write a story with 2 separate endings; Robin lives, or Robin dies.

All the boy was doing was trying to find his mother.

One of my kid's favorite books was “Are You My Mother?” by P.D. Eastman. This was the comic version of it. Robin realizes that his mother may still be alive. There are only a few people it could be, none of them worthy of being a parent.

Robin travels the world meeting old flames of his Fathers such as Lady Shiva (world’s most deadly assassin) and eventually Sheila Haywood (his actual mother). Don’t worry folks, it wouldn’t be a Batman story if there weren’t more villains…

You see, all this time that Jason Todd is searching for his parents, Batman is searching for Jason. Joker escapes Arkham Asylum and decided that maybe Gotham isn’t the right fit for him. Well, they all end up in Lebanon.

The Joker was blackmailing Sheila (this always seemed too coincidental to me, even as a kid) and Robin tries to sacrifice himself to save his newly found mother.

He beats Robin almost to death and then leaves him stranded with a bob. He has a choice, save his mother and die, or save yourself and leave your “dirty” mother (who never wanted him) to die. He chose to be a hero, and Batman wasn’t fast enough to help.

Long story short, in order to escape justice, the Joker became an Ambassador to Lebanon and Super-Man had to save the Joker from a really pissed of Batman. Yep, it takes Superman to calm down the Dark Knight.

Here lies the rub…

Back in Batman issue #427 there were 2 numbers you could call during a 36 hour period. Each call was a vote. Number 1 was to keep Jason in the mortal realm but in a coma, and the second number sent Jason to that Holy Batcave in the sky.

The poll had 10,614 votes and Jason died by a mere 72 votes. That is a closer spread than a Florida Election. In this case, the Joker finally won, for a bit. In the comics, with Supermans' help, Batman won, but the damage was done.

Turns out all this happened because one guy rigged his phone to downvote him every 90 seconds for 8 hours. (I still can’t identify who it actually was that did it).

Eventually, during Loeb and Lee’s run on Batman during the “Hush” series, it was hinted that Jason was back. It wasn’t until 2 years later that Jason would actually return in the special “Under the Red Hood”.

Deja Vu All Over Again

In the recent hit for the DC Universe, Titans, Jason Todd fans gt to see our hero once again as Robin. Dick Grayson has yet to become Nightwing (as of the time of this writing) and current Bat-Sidekick is none other than Jason Todd.

He was introduced late in Season 1 and used sparingly throughout the remainder of the season. Season 2 opens with Jason on the Titans while Dick, Hawk, Dove, and Donna Troy debate if there is even a team yet.

Jason runs headfirst into trouble (like always) and gets captured by Deathstroke. In the episode where Titans finally went after Deathstroke, Slade Wilson threw him from a building after beating him to a pulp.

On the DC Universe, app fans were given a poll...again; should Robin live or die. I couldn’t believe that they would use that stunt again. I loved it! There was a great feel of nostalgia and a chance to possibly rectify old wrongs.

During the original vote, I had begged my mother to let me vote. I voted for death due to the fact that at the time, I hated Jason Todd. This time, however, I personally voted for Robin to live for several reasons; I personally don’t believe that they have fleshed out an important character as Robin to just kill him off.

Let me explain. Tim Drake was my absolute favorite Robin. He was only introduced due to the untimely removal of Jason Todd. Yes, I would love to see Tim Drake in the Robin role once again, but I don’t want it rushed.

Recently we have witnessed what happens when a television show gets rushed. My therapist has warned me about mentioning the final season of Game of Thrones, so I won’t talk about that. I am loving Titans (the season finally sucked but hey, what are ya gonna do) and I don’t want to see it “jump the shark” this early in a run.

Luckily during episode 6 “Conner” the fans voted to save Jason and Superboy jumped to his rescue. It was great to finally see the vote come back as “Let him Live.” Great episode and I loved how they tied it in at the last moment.

I wonder what other votes we will see in the future.