|The Red Hood|
|First appearance||The Man Behind the Red Hood!|
|First comic appearance||Detective Comics #168 (February 1951)|
|Team affiliations||The Red Hood Gang|
Fictional character biography
The Red Hood first appeared in Detective Comics #168, "The Man Behind The Red Hood!" (which was published in February 1951). In the original continuity, the man later known as the Joker was a master criminal going by the Red Hood alias, claiming to be a lab worker intending to steal $1,000,000 and retire. His costume consisted of a large domed red helmet and a red cape. While attempting to rob a chemical plant, his men were dispatched and then he was suddenly cornered on a catwalk by Batman. Left with no alternatives, he dove into a catch basin full of chemicals and swam to freedom, surviving because of a special breathing apparatus built into the helmet. The toxins in the vat permanently disfigured him, turning his hair green, his skin white and his lips red. Driven insane by his reflection, he recreated himself as "The Joker" and became Batman's greatest foe.
In Batman: The Killing Joke, Alan Moore wrote an alternative origin of the Joker, and thus the Red Hood; the man who would become the Joker is portrayed as a former chemical engineer, now a struggling stand-up comedian with a pregnant wife. He is approached by the Red Hood gang, who want him to lead them through the chemical plant he once worked at so they can rob the card factory next door. He accepts in order to make enough money to start a better life for his family. The gang gives him the Red Hood costume, which has been worn by many others; unknown to the engineer, the gang plans to use him as a patsy in case they get caught. The day of the proposed robbery, police inform him that his wife died in a freak accident. He attempts to back out of the robbery, but the gang strong-arms him into keeping his commitment. During the robbery, the plant's security men spot the intruders and shoot the other criminals dead. The engineer tries to flee, but Batman appears and corners him on the plant's catwalk. Terrified, the engineer jumps off the catwalk into the chemical basin to escape. As in the previous origin story, he goes insane after discovering what the chemicals have done to his face and becomes the Joker. The Joker himself is reluctant to admit that this iteration of his story is definitive, stating: "Sometimes I remember it one way, sometimes another...if I'm going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice!"
A retroactive continuity change appears between the Batman #450-451 story line The Return of the Joker and the graphic novel one-shot Batman: The Man Who Laughs. In The Return of the Joker, the Joker resurfaces after apparently being killed at the end of the Batman: A Death in the Family storyline. In this story, the Joker rummages through his belongings, finds the Red Hood costume and wears it for a robbery in order to regain his confidence and become the Joker again. The Man Who Laughs is a retelling of the Joker's first appearance, a few months after the Red Hood's plunge into the chemicals, tying the story into both Batman: Year One and The Killing Joke. In this story, Batman is in possession of the Red Hood costume, presumably having discovered it on the banks where the Joker washed up after his swim in the chemical basin.
A new Red Hood appears in the Batman: Under the Hood storyline running through Batman comics, written by Judd Winick. Jason Todd, the former Robin killed by the Joker in Batman: A Death in the Family, is revealed to be resurrected by Talia al Ghul in the Lazarus Pit. But the pit changes him and his emotions and he becomes the new Red Hood. His debut culminates in a fateful confrontation with those he feels have wronged him. He beats the Joker with a crowbar (mirroring the way the Joker had tortured him before killing him with a bomb) and later kidnaps him. The new Red Hood assumes control over various gangs in Gotham City and starts a one-man war against Black Mask's criminal empire. He actively tries to cleanse the city of corruption, such as the illegal drug trade and gang violence, but in a violent, antiheroic way. He eventually comes to blows against Batman and other heroes' allies, including the new Robin (Tim Drake), Onyx, and Green Arrow.
In the second story arc of Batman and Robin by Grant Morrison and Philip Tan, Jason retakes the Red Hood mantle. With the goal of making the very concept of Batman obsolete, he puts a lot of effort into public relations: he drastically alters his Red Hood costume to look more like a traditional superhero outfit, recruits his own sidekick known as Scarlet. In their war on crime Red Hood and Scarlet freely kill criminals, villains and anyone who gets in his way, even the police. After all his killings he leaves behind a calling card which states "let the punishment fit the crime". He describes his vendetta against Dick Grayson as "the revenge of one crazy man in a mask on another crazy man in a mask".
After Barry Allen's involuntary tampering with the continuum, Red Hood is shown, along with Arsenal and Starfire, as one of the Outlaws, a close knit group of anti-heroes. Still not above killing, and still angry at the world, Jason has now reverted to the street clothes costume, forgoing his feud with Batman for stealthier, more cloak and dagger missions.
In an interview for the Infinite Crisis hardcover, Jeanine Schaefer states that Geoff Johns originally planned to reintroduce Red Hood as the Jason Todd of the Earth-Two universe, but such plans were discarded.
Red Hood Gang
In The New 52 (a reboot of the DC Comics universe), a gang called the "Red Hood" appears in issue zero of Batman. A young Bruce Wayne, not yet Batman, had recently returned to Gotham to start his crime fighting career. One of Bruce's early targets was the Red Hood Gang, which he managed to infiltrate undercover. Unfortunately for Bruce, the leader of the Red Hood Gang knew his group had been infiltrated and managed to weed out a disguised Bruce as the culprit. Though the Red Hood Gang attempted to kill him, Bruce manages to escape into the sewers after the police show up to break up a robbery. The Red Hood Gang eventually follows him into the sewer system, but a prototype motorcycle hidden in the tunnels allows Bruce to escape. The Red Hood Gang is later seen outside of Bruce's apartment, scoping it out for their next hit.
The Red Hood Gang subsequently reappeared in the first story arc of the "Zero Year" event, "Secret City", where five months prior to the birth of Batman, Bruce gets involved with the Red Hood Gang to spoil their plans to sink a pickup truck full of men who refused to join their ranks. During this encounter, it is revealed that the Red Hood Gang's ranks have expanded. It turns out their leader had since begun blackmailing innocent Gotham citizens into joining the group, threatening violence against them if they refused to be his henchmen.  They eventually steal an airship belonging to Penguin and several weapons from Wayne Industries. Bruce discovers that the Red Hood Gang has been doing business with Bruce's uncle, Philip Kane, who was selling them weapons after being forced to join the gang. When Bruce discovers this, he goes to tell Alfred, but a bomb from the Red Hood Gang to "welcome him back to the city" blows up the apartment.
The motivation of the Red Hood Gang comes to light, and it was revealed that they had been inspired by the impact that the murder of Bruce's parents had upon the city. The murders of the famous and beloved Doctor and Mrs. Wayne had made the residents of Gotham fearful, since if even the rich and powerful could be gunned down by a random criminal, no one was safe from being harmed by crime. Embracing nihilism, the Red Hood Gang killed, robbed, and caused suffering in order to make the average citizen know their lives are worthless and can and will be murdered at any given moment.
The culmination of the Red Hood Gang's campaign of terror was their plan to take over the Axis Chemical Plant and use its resources to create a flesh-eating bacteria. Bruce Wayne, as Batman, lures the Gotham City Police Department to the plant. During the battle that ensues, Phillip Kane is mortally wounded by the leader, who accuses him of betrayal. The police raid the plant and the gang is arrested, while Batman goes after the leader, who ultimately falls into a container of chemicals rather than be taken alive. A few days later, police discover the body of the assumed leader of the gang, Liam Distal, stuffed into a barrel of lye. The lye had dissolved the better part of his remains, meaning there was no way to tell when he was killed and placed there. Bruce surmises that the Red Hood Leader he encountered was an impostor and had killed Distal and taken his place, but there was no way to confirm it or know when the impostor murdered Distal. Afterwards, the remaining members of the gang were then killed in an explosion by the Joker. It is assumed that after the event, the Red Hood Gang is officially extinct.
Unrelated to the Joker and Jason Todd incarnations of the Red Hood, is Red Hood from the limited series Kingdom Come. The Kingdom Come Red Hood is Lian Harper, daughter of super-hero Roy Harper and villainess Cheshire. A skilled archer much like her father, her costume and name are modeled after both the fictional Little Red Riding Hood character and possibly Robin Hood. Lian's costume is also at least partially modeled after Centaur Publications' Arrow
An animated version of the character appears at the end of The Batman Adventures #8. It was meant to be a subplot to be resolved later, but the cancellation of the ongoing series prevented that. Though the creative team (Dan Slott and Ty Templeton) behind the story are hoping for a chance to resolve it, they have yet to do so. It has been stated that this Red Hood is someone crucial to the DC animated universe.
Dan Slott mentioned that the background of the character would tie into a subplot concerning Lucius Fox, the Vellestra Gang (from Batman: Mask of the Phantasm) and the Powers Family (including an infant Derek Powers from Batman Beyond)
Justice League: Generation Lost
A future version of the Red Hood is shown in Justice League: Generation Lost #14. Here, he is revealed to be the partner of the Batman of that era, as well as a member of the Justice League. His real name is stated to be Thomas Grayson, implying that he is somehow related to Dick Grayson.
A version of the Red Hood appears in Batman '66 #3. Here he threatens the city if the Joker is not turned over to him at midnight. Despite Batman's attempts to capture Red Hood, he escapes with the Joker. It's soon revealed that the Red Hood is Professor Overbeck, a doctor at Arkham. His new method of treating the patients by using his brainwaves to correct their minds backfired when used on the Joker. Thus when he wears the helmet, he acts as a villain with all the knowledge of the Joker. Professor Overbeck is cleared and the Red Hood's helmet is locked away for safekeeping.
In other media
- The original incarnation of Red Hood appears in Batman: The Brave and the Bold, voiced by Jeff Bennett. This version is a heroic alternate reality version of the Joker and is shown to be an extremely capable fighter, able to hold his own against multiple members of the Injustice Syndicate. In addition, he wields projectile weapons shaped like spades (a reference to his mainstream counterpart's playing card motif). Like his original counterpart, Red Hood was disfigured after falling into a chemical vat at the Ace Chemical Plant but he was already a superhero and was deliberately thrown in by Owlman, leaving his sanity 'Bent but not broken'. In the episode "Deep Cover for Batman!", Red Hood tries to rally his world's heroes (alternate versions of the villains from the "normal" universe) against the Injustice Syndicate but they are defeated. Red Hood escapes and tries to use a device to recruit help from the 'mainstream' Earth but he is captured by the Injustice Syndicate. After Batman is attacked by Owlman (sent to Batman's universe on a reconnaissance mission), he journeys to Red Hood's dimension. During scenes in this episode, Red Hood's face is shown albeit in shadow which shows a bit of green hair and a wide grin that clearly resembles Joker. After the heroes are freed and the villains defeated, Red Hood thanks Batman and hopes his counterpart can return the favor. Sure enough in the next episode "Game Over for Owlman!", Batman is forced to team-up with Joker in order to defeat Owlman (who has been impersonating Batman and ruining his reputation in his absence).
- The Red Hood Gang appears in the Gotham episode "Red Hood". The group consists of Gus Floyd (portrayed by Michael Goldsmith), Clyde Destro (portrayed by Jonny Coyne), Trope (portrayed by Peter Brensinger), Regan (portrayed by Regan T. Collins), and Haskins (portrayed by Peter Albrink). The Red Hood identity is conceived by gang member Gus Floyd who made the red hood mask to wear over his head. The Red Hood Gang are first seen where they rob a bank. A security guard tries to stop them only to be knocked out. The Red Hood Gang makes off the money and the red-hooded member throws the money to the crowd as a diversion for the police. The Red Hood Gang then plan their next move at Kleg's Auto. After Gus mentioned that the wearer of the Red Hood should lead the Red Hood Gang, gang member Clyde Destro shoots Gus Floyd and takes his red hood mask to lead the Red Hood Gang. James Gordon and Harvey Bullock find the body of Gus at Kleg's Auto. The Red Hood Gang then raids another bank claiming that they want the bank's insurance by stealing it's vault money. Clyde is later approached by one of his operatives named Trope wanting the red hood mask to impress his girlfriend. Upon arriving at Clyde's apartment, Bullock finds Clyde on the ground with a bullet wound on him while the Trope has gotten away. As Bullock wants the names of the Red Hood Gang members, Gordon found the denied loans where Clyde is revealed to be a baker wanting money from the banks that rejected him. Upon finding a clue of the next bank heist, the three remaining members of the Red Hood Gang are confronted by the police which leads to a shoot out where Trope, Regan, and Haskins are killed. While the police officers still at the bank weren't looking, the red hood mask is later found on the sidewalk by an unknown young boy. According to the "Gotham Chronicle" website, Clyde survived the gun wound and is in police custody.
- The Jason Todd incarnation of Red Hood appears as the main antagonist in the 2010 animated film Batman: Under the Red Hood, voiced by Jensen Ackles. The original version of Red Hood was alluded during a flashback. It's also implied that several people have used the Red Hood persona.
- At the end of Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, a statue of the original Red Hood can be seen inside the Batcave.
- The original version of Red Hood is alluded in Batman: Arkham City. Hugo Strange's interview tape mentions that the Joker got his Red Hood outfit from Carmine Falcone's men to rob the Ace Chemicals Plant which led to his transformation during a fight with Batman.
- The original version of Red Hood is again alluded in Batman: Arkham Origins. In an interview with Harleen Quinzel, the Joker has a brief flashback sequence in which the player controls his Red Hood guise. His Red Hood appearance then becomes a character trophy that the player can freely view in the Extras menu.
- The original version of Red Hood is mentioned in Lego Batman: The Video Game as a part of the Joker's biography.
- The Jason Todd version of Red Hood appears in the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita versions of Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes as a playable character.
- The original version of Red Hood appears as Joker's alternate attire released as DLC for the fighting game Injustice: Gods Among Us.
- The Jason Todd version of Red Hood appears as a playable character in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, voiced by Troy Baker.
- In the 2015 video game Batman: Arkham Knight, the titular villain is ultimately revealed to be Jason Todd, once again voiced by Troy Baker. After confronting Batman multiple times, the Arkham Knight reveals his identity to his former mentor. Batman then damages the Arkham Knight's visor, forcing Jason to discard it, revealing a red domed helmet he would later use as the Red Hood. After being defeated by the hero, Jason escapes and dons a white leather jacket, becoming the Red Hood. This interpretation shows that Joker tortured Jason for over a year, before faking his death, prompting him to take up the Arkham Knight supervillain persona. The Red Hood appears as a playable character via downloadable content where he hunts down and eventually kills the crime lord Black Mask .
- An action figure of the original version of Red Hood was released as part of the Justice League Unlimited toyline, included in a six figure set.
- In July of 2014, DC Collectibles released a New 52 version of the Jason Todd as the Red Hood along with his teammates from The Outlaws (Arsenal and Starfire).
- The Killing Joke, Alan Moore & Brian Bolland, p.48 of Deluxe Edition
- Red Hood and the Outlaws #1-#2 (2011)
- Infinite Crisis (Hardcover ed.). p. 258.
Well, Geoff's idea was to have Red Hood be the Jason Todd of Earth-Two. So he'd be this kid, who wanted to be Batman's sidekick. He sneaks into the Batcave, and the first thing he sees as he boots up the bat-computers is...Batman murdered. And so he uses Bruce's stuff, training himself to take over for him. I think there was even talk of his possibly being Deathstroke's Robin.
- Batman #0
- Batman #21
- Batman #22
- Batman #23
- Batman #24
- Red Hood and the Outlaws #25
- Justice League: Generation Lost #14
- Batman '66 #3
- "345552_FINAL_Publicity.jpg (image)". 2.bp.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2010-12-29.
- Moviepilot (4 February 2015). "The Red Hood Gang Comes to Gotham in February". moviepilot.com.
- "Infamous: Gods Among Us: Joker Gets Three New Skins in 'Killing Joke' Pack". Gamenguide.