Former Robin Jason Todd was pretty much known for one thing: dying. This Dick Grayson-replacement didn’t seem to resonate well with fans; they hated him to the point that the majority of fans called a 900 number in 1988 to make sure that he died at the end of the A Death In The Family storyline.
Well, maybe he wasn’t that hated. The final vote on whether he would be killed off was 5343 to 5271. But what made comic readers more upset was how he was brought back from the dead. Violating any sense of scientific (or science fiction) laws of physics, Superboy Prime’s punching his way through the cosmic walls to get back into the DC Universe proper wound up resurrecting Jason Todd. Don’t ask…if you think too much about it, you will be driven mad.
What Judd Winick attempts to do in Red Hood: Lost Days is explain what the newly reborn character has been doing since his resurrection. Jason was discovered and taken in by the League of Assassins; Ra’s al Ghul is intrigued by how he cam back from the dead while his daughter Talia wants to take care of him, as she is a connection to his beloved Batman. After he becomes enraged that Batman never avenged his death, Talia winds up bankrolling his new obsession of training to kill the Batman.
The complexities of this story all revolve around the relationships between these three characters. Talia is obsessively in love with Batman; she took Jason into her custody, as she knows that the revelation that he was alive (and pretty murderous) would destroy Batman. Unfortunately, she has wound up arming and funding Jason’s quest of killing the Batman. Things get weird romantically between Jason and Talia, with the two getting intimate. Apparently obsessing over Batman is an aphrodisiac. Unfortunately, Jason finds out that this budding romance–and all the training Talia is providing–is just meant to be a distraction to sidetrack him from his plan to murder Batman.
But as vengeful minded as Jason is, he literally can’t pull the trigger. There’s a scene where Jason is waiting for Batman to get in the Batmobile so he can detonate a trunk full of explosives. But he just can’t do it. This scene reminds me a lot of when Batman first met Jason years prior, as a kid trying to steal the tires off of the Batmobile. Jason attributes his hesitation to wanting Batman to see who killed him, but really it’s that he can’t bring himself to do it.
By the end, Winnick establishes that Jason’s death and subsequent rebirth have left him pretty emotionally unstable and sets the tone for what the character would do and did in later appearances.