So, with Batman Arkham Asylum 2 coming out presumably this year, I’ve been contemplating which baddies should be included to go up against good old Bruce Wayne. Black Mask, The Penguin, Catwoman, and Two Face were all hinted at in the teaser trailer. I take issue with these though; they’re not good for a video game format. For one, Catwoman can hardly be considered a villain anymore; she’s pretty much neutral. What’s the Penguin going to do? Sit on you? The Black Mask is hardly a fighter, his MO is more guns and torture. And at best you Two Face might hold his own in a fight, but not for long.
So with that, as a fan of Batman, I am going to post a few blogs on villains I think (yet, doubt) should show up in Arkham Asylum 2. I’ll give some history and why they should be in the game. The first is my favorite, so I’m going to have a lot to say, so here we go.
Who is The Red Hood?
Well, if you want to be technical, The Red Hood was a “villain” working for the mob early in Batman’s career. He was a different person during each “job,” the most famous of the Red Hoods was the man who would eventually become the Joker. But that’s not who I’m talking about, I’m talking about Jason Todd, the second Robin.
After Dick Grayson leaving the shadow of Batman and eventually assuming his own identity as Nightwing, Batman came across a young street punk trying to jack the wheels of the Batmobile. This street punk was a young Jason Todd. Seeing potential in the boy, Bruce took him under his wing and trained him to take up the mantle of Robin. Bruce would soon come to find, Jason Todd was no Dick Grayson, he was too rash, angry, and violent. There’s debate as to whether or not Jason actually killed a serial rapist by pushing him off a 22 story building, (his explanation to Bruce was that he spooked him, and he slipped.)
In pre-crisis (crisis being “Crisis on Ifinite Earths” an event in the 80s that organized all of DC’s shitty continuity) Jason Todd was introduced due to DC being worried they’d lose readers with Dick Grayson assuming the roll as Nightwing, and Batman not having a Robin. In post-crisis, the reader’s views on Todd were the exact opposite of his original intention. Readers saw him as an annoying brat who was far too rash and violent to be Robin. So then comes the most definitive Jason Todd stories, A Death in the Family.
While in search for his mother, Jason Todd is brutally beaten with a crowbar by the Joker (who was blackmailing his mother) and is left for dead next to a time bomb. At the end of the issue, DC gave the readers a choice. By phone, they could vote if Jason would live or die. And due to someone who REALLY didn’t like Jason voting an extrodinariy amount of times (yet the vote was still close) Jason died.
So why suggest a dead character to be a villain? BECAUSE THIS IS COMIC BOOK LAND, BITCH. No one fucking dies. Hell, Bruce Wayne just died, but not really cus he be traveling through time, and shit. Anyways, in DC’s next “crisis” Infinite Crisis, there was the “Super Boy Punch” a dimension shattering punch that “fixed the wrongs of the past” IE, stuff that wasn’t supposed to happen. To this day, writers in the DC universe use “the punch” as an excuse for when their stories contradict older stories.
One of the wrongs? Jason Todd was supposed to live. So nearly six months after Jason’s death, his life is restored. After digging himself out of a coffin and wondering for miles he is found by police and shortly slips into a coma for years. After waking up he eventually makes his way to live on the streets until he is found by Talia al Ghul, Ra’s al Ghul’s daughter. Keeping him for another year or two, Talia eventually slips Jason into one of her father’s lazarus pits, and his memories come back to him. Her father angry, Talia helps Jason escape and gives him money/resources as to look into what happened after his death.
Jason finds that his death was never avenged. Countless times the Joker has been captured by Batman, only to shortly escape soon there after. So Jason teams up with Hush, an enemy close to Bruce (that’s for another blog) to investigate further. Thinking Bruce had no regret caused by his death (where at the time, Bruce thought he was fighting clayface, who took Jason’s place shortly after his escape) Jason decided to take his own revenge.
Jason dawned the same identity his killer had originally worn and showed up in Gotham as a murderous vigilante “finishing the job” that Batman couldn’t. It all leads up to Jason throwing the Joker in between himself and Batman, demanding Bruce kill him or else he will. Bruce being Bruce, beats Jason who retreats.
Ever since then Jason has shown up through out the DC universe, fighting for “good” but doing it in his own murderous way. He assumed a copy cat role of a murderous Nightwing, dawned the identity of Red Robin, acted as a murderous Batman, and most recently re-assumed the role of the Red Hood to act as the antithesis of Dick Grayson (the current Batman.)
So why would Jason be a good candidate for a villain in Arkham Asylum 2? Well, to counter my previous points of the other semi announced villains, he can fight, he can fight well. Ask Tim Drake, the Robin after him, whose ass he has kicked multiple times, Jason nearly took his life while under the mantle of Batman. The original Arkham Asylum never had a boss that was actually as good as fighting fist to fist as Batman was, so having a gameplay mechanic where you actually have to fight some nearly as trained in the art of fighting as you are could be a welcome change.
Reason number two is the setting. Gotham seems to be in chaos, this is hardly surprising. A No Man’s Land sense of anarchy seems to be running through the streets, and of course it is left up to Batman to fix everything. So, I propose this: Jason Todd isn’t necessarily trying to stop you, he’s just trying to beat you. He could be a recurring character through out the game that tries to beat crime in his own way. Assuming the game is a little more open world this time around, there could be missions where you have to race across Gotham in order to stop The Red Hood from offing someone. In Grant Morrison’s “Revenge of the Red Hood” arc in Batman and Robin, Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne are tasked with trying to protect The Penguin from getting two bullets to the face delivered by Jason Todd.
The third reason is emotional effect, the big ticket word in games today. Bruce Wayne is a deeply disturbed man. When the Joker “jokes” he deserves to be in Arkham Asylum as much as anyone else, its not that big of a stretch. Bruce is haunted by the demons of his past, and if you exclude the murders of his parents, the death of Jason Todd is what he feels was his greatest failure, and when it came to sidekicks he constantly doubted himself when it came to Tim Drake and Stephanie Brown assuming the role as Robin. Bruce feels that it was through his failure that Jason didn’t receive the training he was meant to receive, and therefore Bruce feels responsible for his death.
Jason on the other hand is really not all that evil. Sure he was rash as a child, but now he is nothing short of a very disturbed, confused, and misunderstood individual. He is the classic middle child. He felt he could never live up to Dick Grayson, and after his return he felt that Tim Drake was given every chance he didn’t receive. He’s a victim of circumstance, he wanted to be the best Robin he could have been, but his emotions got in the way. And when he hears of Bruce referring to him as his “biggest failure” he feels that its him who failed, instead of Bruce. Jason's frustration to Bruce is illustrated on this page
from Battle for the Cowl
So naturally, this could all conclude in a final fight something along the lines of both of them on top of a building at night, rain falling, Jason yelling about how he tried as hard as he could blah blah blah failure, blah blah blah. It could end in the classic Todd hanging off the edge of the building, Bruce tries to save him, but he lets go sort of thing. Because god knows that hasn’t happened enough, hell Tony S. Daniel even did that recently with the final fight between Dick Grayson and Jason in Battle for the Cowl
Anyways, thats my two cents for Jason Todd/Red Hood. If you actually feel compelled enough to read into the character here are some stories that would help...
- A Death in the Family
(to an extent, the ending was detailed in...)
- Under the Hood Vol. 1 & 2
- Batman and Robin 4-6, Revenge of the Red Hood read