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Red Hood draws closer to the Batman family with a major decision

Batman: Urban Legends #6
image from Batman: Urban Legends #6 (Image credit: DC)

Tim Drake isn't the only former Robin that reached a personal crossroads in August 10's Batman: Urban Legends #6.

Batman: Urban Legends #6

cover to Batman: Urban Legends #6 (Image credit: DC)

Spoilers for Batman: Urban Legends #6.

In the anthology's first story, part 6 (of 6) of the Red Hood and Batman story 'Cheer' by writer Chip Zdarsky and artists Eddy Barrows and Eber Ferreira, Scot Eaton and Julio Ferreira, with Oclair Albert and Marcus To, Batman's second Robin Jason Todd tells Bruce that he is giving up guns, apparently along with his more violent ways that have often put him at odds with Batman and the rest of the Batman family over the years.

Making it clear he's been contemplating the change for a while (revealing he's been using rubber bullets for months), that he didn't make the decision for Bruce, and that and he's come to his own realization, Jason acknowledges he still believes some criminals should die and that he still wants to hurt them, he just no longer wants to be involved in the ripple effects on the innocents when he takes a life.

"I'm just figuring out some new ways," he tells Bruce, rejecting Bruce's attempts to give him his approval.

He and Bruce part ways with their often-fraught relationship still somewhat tense, but later Jason finds a box with a handwritten invitation from his former mentor to a "family dinner" at Wayne Manor along with a new Red Hood costume inside with a Bat-symbol on its chest, but "only if you want it," the note reads.

image from Batman: Urban Legends #6 (Image credit: DC)

Jason responds to himself, "Heh. Maybe, old man. Maybe," as the story concludes, suggesting a thawing of their relationship and that Jason will likely become more of an established member of the rapidly-expanding Batman family in the coming months.

Jason is often included in storylines involving the family, but his personal history has always made him something of a wildcard in the group.

Returning from the dead after being violently murdered by the Joker (with help of the comic book reading public who essentially ordered his execution in 1988's 'A Death in the Family'), Jason's career as Red Hood began as a full-on villain but eventually evolved to that of more of a vigilante than crimefighter, and his more aggressive methods and willingness to kill makes him a different brand of superhero than most of Batman's partners and protégés. He's the only member of the inner circle who regularly used handguns in the field.

But that's now apparently in the past ... at least for now.

The subtext of Zdarsky's story also seems to imply a source of the unresolved tension between Bruce and Jason and their hot-and-cold relationship is Batman's unwillingness to finally kill the Joker once and for all. 

If Jason does fully embrace less violent methods in the coming months and years, it'll be interesting to see how the character is distinguished from what again is a constantly growing network of heroes headed by Batman, which currently includes Nightwing, Batgirl/Oracle, Tim Drake/Robin, Damian Wayne/Robin (although he's on a bit on the outs at the moment), Harley Quinn, Spoiler/Batgirl, Orphan/Batgirl, The Signal, Batwoman, and more.

Harley Quinn's recent incorporation into the Bat-family will particularly be fascinating to observe in contrast to Jason's new path, as they're both seemingly on similar hero turns from more villainous-then-anti-hero pasts. 

Jason Todd is NOT highly-ranked on Newsarama's list of Batman's best Robins. He's on there, but just barely...

I'm not just the Newsarama founder and editor-in-chief, I'm also a reader. And that reference is just a little bit older than the beginning of my Newsarama journey. I founded what would become the comic book news site in 1996, and except for a brief sojourn at Marvel Comics as its marketing and communications manager in 2003, I've been writing about new comic book titles, creative changes, and occasionally offering my perspective on important industry events and developments for the 25 years since. Despite many changes to Newsarama, my passion for the medium of comic books and the characters makes the last quarter-century (it's crazy to see that in writing) time spent doing what I love most.