Batman Reveals What the Animated Series Joker Did to Jason Todd
In Batman: The Adventures Continue #12, Tim Drake finally learns what the Joker did to Jason Todd in the world of Batman: The Animated Series.
You Are Reading :Batman Reveals What the Animated Series Joker Did to Jason Todd
WARNING: The following contains spoilers from Batman: The Adventures Continue #12 by Alan Burnett, Paul Dini, Ty Templeton, Mark Morales, Monica Kubina and Josh Reed, on sale now.
In any version of the DC Universe, Jason Todd’s time as Robin never ends well. In Alan Burnett, Paul Dini, and Ty Templeton’s Batman: The Adventures Continue #12, Tim Drake finally learns what happened to Jason Todd, the second Robin in the DC Animated Universe that began with Batman: The Animated Series.
As revealed in previous issues, Jason, who by that point had been a particularly aggressive Robin, had been captured by the Joker and Harley Quinn. Tied to a board and helpless, Jason was forced to listen as Harley and Joker made a demented “diagnosis” for him, with Joker citing Jason’s violent actions against the likes of Penguin, the Clock King, and Killer Croc as justification for the crowbar beating that came next.
Jason, ever the scrapper, only made threats in response to this. Unfortunately for him, this only reinforced the Joker’s belief that this had to be done. Slipping out a crowbar, he began to beat Jason with it, intending to kill the boy in order to prevent Jason from potentially killing any of Gotham’s rogues. However, Harley had her misgivings. Beating the boy to prove a point was one thing, but killing a child seemed excessive in her eyes. Infuriated by this perceived weakness, Joker had her tossed out of the warehouse they were hiding in.
That was a mistake on his part. The instant Harley was out of his sight, she went and found Batman, leading the Caped Crusader back to the warehouse to save Jason. Batman arrived just before Joker could finish his partner off, but his psychotic foe couldn’t pass up the opportunity to kill both Batman and Robin in one night. The Joker ordered his men to open fire even though the warehouse was full of hydrogen tanks. The warehouse was quickly engulfed in flames, and Joker was knocked unconscious by a car falling on top of him. While Batman freed his partner, the battered Jason urged Batman to kill the Joker as vengeance and to prevent future deaths.
For a moment, it seemed as though Batman would honor this request. He took the bloody crowbar that Joker had been using to torment Jason, but instead of killing his nemesis, Batman used it to lift the car off Joker. Unable to accept this, Jason tried to stop Batman but ended up setting off more hydrogen tanks, before seemingly perishing in the flames. Batman spent months trying to find Jason’s body or a hint of where he went but eventually had to accept that Jason was probably dead.
Although they share many of the same elements, there were several key differences between this story and Jason Todd’s original death in Batman: A Death in the Family by Jim Starlin and Jim Aparo. First and foremost, Jason’s mother Sheila Haywood was forced to watch as her son was beaten senseless by the Joker. In Batman: The Adventures Continue #12, Harley Quinn and two goons are present in addition to the Joker. This is the key to another significant departure from “A Death in the Family, as Harley’s opposition to killing a child got her kicked out of the warehouse and allowed her to lead Batman to Jason. This helped him arrive in time to stop Joker from killing the boy, whereas he arrived too late to do anything in the original tale.
The final key difference is the manner in which Jason Todd seemingly perished. In both scenarios, Jason was caught in an explosion, but the causes of these detonations were different. In “A Death in the Family,” Joker intentionally set off the bomb that killed Jason, but Batman: The Adventure Continues’ Joker unwisely had his men fire on hydrogen tanks, and the resulting explosions almost killing him along with everyone else. In that instance, Jason may very well have escaped if had he just accepted that Batman was trying to help everyone. But in his rage-fueled state of mind, he accidentally set off more hydrogen tanks, seemingly killing him in the process and making Jason indirectly responsible for his injuries.
While it’s not entirely clear how Jason survived the explosion or evolved into the Red Hood, Batman will likely get the second part of Jason’s story in the very near future. But regardless of the specifics, it seems like Jason Todd can never truly escape the violence of his death, even in the ostensibly kid-friendly DC Animated Universe.