Batman has crossed plenty of anti-heroes in his time. Catwoman, Azrael, and more have colored the streets of Gotham, but one vigilante has had a greater impact on Batman than any other: Red Hood. Red Hood’s history with the Bat is a complicated one. The mask itself was affiliated with a number of criminals, including the Joker, and the current wearer happens to be Jason Todd, the former Robin who, ironically, was killed by the Joker. Red Hood often served as a foil of Batman's; their confrontations often challenged Bruce Wayne’s ethics as Gotham’s hero. While Bruce swears no killing, Red Hood is willing to forgo a few lives in order to protect the city.
DC is far from shelving the Red Hood. The iconic metallic, red mask has made several appearances in video games, films, and most recently in Gotham. Here are 15 Things You Never Knew About the Red Hood.
15 Red Hood Has Killed 83 People... For Now
The Jason Todd has shed his share of blood. In countless of rebirths and continuity, Jason has been thrown in the ringer and came out either an anti-hero or borderline psychotic. In the past comics, he tried to kill Dick Grayson, and Tim Drake, in the Battle for the Cowl, and always left a calling card for his victims. The anti-hero developed a reputation for killing his targets effortlessly, and that is the biggest of the reasons why Batman hesitated in allowing Jason back into the Bat family.
In Red Hood and the Outlaw miniseries, Jason struggles to move past his dark history, but to understand his past misdeeds, he asks a computer to search for the Red Hood and sees his past reports. This is one of the few times the comics provided a headcount: he's killed 83 people, and doesn't plan on killing anymore.
14 The Red Hood Gang
Before the Joker wore the mask, Gotham was once under the control of the Red Hood gang, an infamous crime syndicate that ruled the streets before Batman established his turf. When Bruce Wayne returns from his training abroad, his first mission is to dismantle the organization.
Batman corners the leader on a narrow bridge and learns the truth about their motives: the wanted to recreate the same terror Gotham felt when Thomas and Martha Wayne were killed. The founders saw the rich and powerful were not even safe from a petty crime and tried to recreate that fear in Gotham. The Red Hood employed fear tactics and blackmailed civilians to fill their ranks.
Instead of turning himself in, the leader throws himself into the vat of chemicals and the last thing Batman sees is the Red Hood’s malicious grin. It's implied that the leader was the Joker.
13 Red Hood and the Outlaws
As part of the New 52 lineup, comic book writer Scott Lobdell brought Red Hood as part of Red Hood and the Outlaws miniseries, featuring Arsenal (Roy Harper), Starfire, in the first series. Initially, Red Hood had no interest in leading the team and prefers working alone. However, after a couple of missions together Red Hood agrees to join the team and faced plenty of adversaries including the League of Assassins, far off alien invasions, and the Untitled.
The new Red Hood mellowed out from his previous incarnations and is less resentful about Batman and the rest of the Bat-family. The Outlaw series would eventually branch off into a second volume that features Jason Todd again, but with Bizarro and Artemis replacing Arsenal and Starfire.
12 Jason Led the League of Assassins
The League of Assassin's not only revived Jason Todd but also gave him the seat as their leader. A few issues back in the Outlaws, Jason asked S’aru to remove his memories that contained darkness. S’aru agrees but removes all of his memories, including his time when he was part of the League of Assassins. So when the League of Assassins kidnaps Jason, he has no recollection and is led to believe that he was destined to lead the league and defeat the Untitled, a group of souls that have lived over 3000 years.
Turns out it was a ruse set up by Ra's al Ghul who planned on luring the Untitled into the Well of Souls so Ra can absorb Untitled's powers. Eventually, the Outlaws managed to defeat them.
11 Red Hood has a Vigilante Hotline: Rent-a-Bat (555) RED–ARSE
Superheroes need income, and while Superman or Batman have their daily jobs cover that, Red Hood and Arsenal, however, don't have that kind of luxury. After blowing through their previous cash, Arsenal decided to set up a hotline and publicize Red Hood/Arsenal service. The hotline caught the attention of Underbelly who hires them as his grunts, but Red Hood refuses and defeats him. They decided to use the hotline to lure villains and establish an information hub.
The phone number combines Roy’s and Jason’s alter egos: RED–ARSE, but British and Thai speakers may get a good kick out of it. Arse is self-explanatory, and (555) actually means haha in Thai slang. Put it together and it’s pretty much (Ha Ha Ha) RED-A.S.S.
10 Jason Todd Prevents A 'Death in the Family' Scenario
Although Jason Todd didn’t get his revenge at the suckers (a.k.a the readers) that voted him dead in Death in the Family, he did manage to save Arsenal from the same fate in the spinoff series Red Hood/Arsenal. When Arsenal gets kidnapped by the Joker’s Daughter, she had the bright idea to hold a voting poll and asked online voters if Arsenal should live or die. Jason, of course, doesn't take the news well given that the DC fans had voted for his death.
Red Hood arrives in time and, in a fit of rage, he kills the crewman and shuts the whole spectacle off. Arsenal calls out Red Hood’s murder spree, but Jason cuts him off explaining that more than 300,000 people voted to kill him just for fun, just because they can. Ouch. The terrible fallout ended their relationship and Jason would continue his missions alone.
9 The Dark Trinity
Although Red Hood and the Outlaws disbanded, Jason would later find another team, nicknamed the Dark Trinity, a foil to the ongoing Trinity series: Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman. The new Outlaws first initial encounter ties to Bizarro, a Superman clone that Black Mask recently acquired on the black market. Artemis, who was under the assumption that the shipment inside was the Bow of Ra, confronts Jason, and after a brief fight, they agreed on stopping Black Mask from controlling Bizarro.
The Dark Trinity is part of DC's Rebirth series and a chance for writer Scott Lobdell to redefine Jason Todd's character. In this iteration, Jason is determined to prove Batman that as the Red Hood, he could fight crime where Batman can never cross. Batman lets Jason off the hook, but warns if Jason kills one person, he'll hunt him down.
8 Red Hood Used To Have Red Hair
Comic retcons and costume changes are normal in the DC universe, but writers were on and off about Jason Todd's hair color. In Batman and Robin: Revenge of the Red Hood, Jason reveals to Scarlet that he's actually a red head. He explains to Scarlet that Batman had him dyed his hair black to make him look like Dick Grayson. That was Red Hood in his more psychotic days, and it's unsurprising if this was just a long list of resentments Red Hood had against Batman.
Not only that, Jason used to have white streaks due to the Lazarus Pit's side-effects. Comic book authors had liberties switching back and forth between red and black depending on the color inks available. They settled to black hair and dropped the white hair streaks because it made the character older.
7 Scarlet was Red Hood's Former Sidekick
Scarlet was part of the new Batman and Robin series that featured former Nightwing, Dick Grayson, as the new Batman in Gotham. In the series, Bruce Wayne is presumed dead. Post Battle for the Cowl, Jason Todd resumed his work as the Rood and found a new sidekick Scarlet, daughter of a petty criminal who crossed paths with Professor Pyg. She and her father were part of Pyg’s dollotron experiments, where victims were subjugated under drugs and psychological torture, and turned into brainwashed servants.
She was almost turned into one until Batman and Robin intervened, but the damage was done, her face was fused with a mask. Jason found her and offered a post as his sidekick. Together, Red Hood and Scarlet tried to supplant the dynamic duo as the new Gotham heroes and went on a killing spree, slaughtering villains in the name of justice.
6 The Joker Wore The Red Hood to Restore His Confidence
In Batman #450–451, the Joker is presumed dead after his latest confrontation with the Batman. Joker's supposed death happened in the same volume that Jason Todd was killed in. It is revealed that he did, indeed, survive the plane crash but his near-death experience left him traumatized that he couldn't operate as Joker. In order to regain his abilities, Joker wears his Red Hood costume to retrace his former days as the Red Hood, subsequently robbing a few bank as his old alter ego. The original Red Hood costume was a flamboyant suit and a large pill-shaped helmet.
The costume's appearance is a retroactive continuity change since the original Red Hood costume is stored in the Batcave after the Joker fell into the chemical plant years ago.
5 Baby Lian Harper is the Red Hood?
In the main canon, Lian Harper is depicted as Roy Harper and Cheshire’s daughter. In the multiverse, however, Lian appears as the Red Hood in Kingdom Come, a miniseries written by Mark Waid and Alex Ross. The miniseries is a deconstruction, a story about the older generation of superheroes fading away in place a new generation that isn't held accountable for its actions.
Among the many groups in the story, Lian is part of Batman’s faction, trying to stop the superheroes from going into an all-out war amongst each other. Her alter ego, Red Hood, was given because she wears a Red Riding Hood cloak. She apparently inherited her father's archery skills.
4 Red Hood's Costume Had Multiple Changes
Jason regularly modifies his costume, and as the Batman’s former Robin, he implemented a few gadgets to make it more of a superhero costume, equipped with retractable blades and a built-in taser in one of his suits.
In total, not counting the Joker’s costume, there are at least four different suits he wore as the Red Hood. In Under the Red Hood, the first costume was a standard biker jacket and a metallic red mask. The second one, worn when he partnered with Scarlet, had a cape over a gray costume with a Red Skull emblem on the chest. His third suit was a brown biker jacket hoodie featured in Red Hood/Arsenal miniseries, and the current costume consists of armor shirt, denim jeans, and a biker jacket. Jason Todd's two later costumes would have a red bat logo.
3 The Red Hood Logo
The Red Hood logo on Jason's chest actually belongs to Dick Grayson. Shortly after he meets Starfire and Roy Harper, Jason Todd wears one of Dick Grayson’s spare costumes he found at Starfire’s ship. He still keeps the bat logo in his later suits that even Black Mask asks why Jason wears the logo even though he's not associated with Batman. Jason didn't answer the question.
As for why Red Hood keeps the logo is up for interpretation. It could be to push comic sales knowing the bat logo would pique a few reader's interests. Or, the logo is a constant reminder of his promise to Batman to not kill anyone in cold blood. Or, it could just be used to strike fear at villains reminding them that messing with him is the equivalent of messing with the dark knight.
2 The Joker Didn't Expect Jason To Take the Red Hood Mantle
The Joker may have plotted Jason Todd’s death, possibly even ruined Jason’s family, but the Clown Prince of Crime would never have guessed Jason would take the Joker’s old alter ego.
As a child, Jason’s mother died from a drug overdose and his father fell into obscurity, which forced Jason to the streets. Batman catches Jason stealing the Batmobile's tires, and offers him a position as the second Robin. Eventually, the Joker gives a slip of information about Jason’s mother being alive, to lure Robin away from Batman.
In the Under the Red Hood movie, the Joker is surprised to see his old alter ego inspiring another generation, though he criticized the new hero’s suit. "When I wore that number, it was classy — more flashy maitre d' than motorcycle fetish."
1 Red Hood's Iconic Pistols
Red Hood is versatile on almost every weapon. Batman and the League of Assassins have trained him in the past, and has mastered over half of dozen martial arts. From All-blades to an Ak-47, Red Hood keeps an arsenal of weapons and prefers to have a gun with him by his side. His iconic dual pistols are customized Jericho 941 models with red-dot sight for accuracy, coupled with normal bullets and sedative rounds. The pistols were once painted red before Flashpoint. Red Hood is probably the only Bat-family member who carries a gun as their weapon of choice.