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Comic Book / Red Hood: The Lost Days

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My father was right. I've unleashed a curse upon this world.
Talia Al-Ghul

This six-issue miniseries by Judd Winick covers the story of Jason Peter Todd, the second Robin, from the time Jason dug himself out of his own grave till when Talia al Ghul left him with the helmet he would use when he revealed himself as the Red Hood to his adopted father and former mentor, Batman.

It starts with Ra's al Ghul requesting that the manner in which Jason cheated death be found and all those who had knowledge of the catatonic John Doe before the League of Assassins be eliminated. Ra's eventually comes to the conclusion that though Jason came out of his coma and will fight off attackers he is not but an empty shell and that the League is done researching this dead end. Talia disagrees and goes against her father by knocking Jason into a Lazarus Pit but the boy who comes out is quite changed from the boy who was Bruce's son and partner.

Red Hood: The Lost Days provides examples of:

  • Bilingual Backfire: Egon whispers in German when he wants to talk to his men about something he doesn't want Jason to hear. But Jason knows how to speak and how to read lips.
  • Came Back Wrong: Before being tossed in the Pit Jason was mostly non-responsive and catatonic. After the Pit he's mostly running on hate, anger and a desire for revenge.
  • Car Bomb: Just about the first thing Jason does after regaining his mind is go to Gotham and plan Bruce's death with one. Given his knowledge of the Batmobile and Bruce's way of operating his plan actually would have worked if he'd gone through with it.
  • Choke Holds: The story begins with Ra giving one to Talia, furious that she had Jason use the Lazarus Pit and allowed him to escape, and telling her if she were anyone else, he would have her killed.
  • Damaged Soul: What Ra's believes Jason to be a very violent version of after his dip in the pit and the immediate swim Talia has him take to escape.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Talia is noticeably different in the final issue of the story than in all her other appearances, being much more distressed and hostile towards Bruce, since the issue takes place after the Batman: Death and the Maidens Story Arc, where Talia was tortured and driven insane by her sister and Ra got Killed Off for Real, causing Talia to have a Faceā€“Heel Turn and turn on Bruce.
    • Hush has a brief cameo in the final issue where he talks to Jason about Batman's Secret Identity, asking Jason if what Riddler found out (that Bruce Wayne is Batman) is true, which happens in Batman: Hush Story Arc.
  • Evil Mentor: Talia specifically searches these out to teach Jason how to use a gun, maim and kill in a fight. Jason requested Talia be one though she's really using the training time to stall as she has no desire to see Jason or Bruce die.
  • Friends with Benefits: Talia seems to have a similar arrangement with her main henchman. They sleep together, but it's made very clear she only has romantic feelings for Bruce.
  • Fundoshi: Ra wears one when he bathes in the Lazarus Pit.
  • Guns Akimbo: Jason has strayed quite far from Batman's no guns policy, as well as his code against killing.
  • In the Hood: Jason wore this prior to acquiring his helmet.
  • Lack of Empathy: When Ra's informs Talia about Robin's death at the hands of Joker, Talia immediately starts worrying about Bruce's well-being and is convinced Jason's death will greatly torment him while Ra's cannot conceive a warrior such a Batman would be shaken by single death. He even forbids Talia about contacting Bruce over such a "small matter".
  • The Mafiya: The Ivgene Clan is a Russian mobsters group that was planning a terrorist bomb attack on London and pinning the blame on its Arab citizens. Jason manages to take them down without causing an international incident.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Jason ends up killing about half of the murderous mentors Talia finds for him himself, and his whole journey started out with his desire to beat his first one to the death.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Talia starts to have this reaction as she watches how psychopathic Jason is becoming.
  • Mr. Smith: Jason was under the name "John Doe" when Ra's men first find him.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Among other things Jason pretends not to know German which allows him to eavesdrop and lip read to discover some of his mentors' wrongdoings.
  • Only in It for the Money: Egon makes it clear to Jason he has no interest in him nor any loyalty to Talia, he's only mentoring Jason for the money.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: After Jason's return to life made him somewhat psychotic and vindictive, he begins to adopt this philosophy by going after criminals and killing them. Talia encourages this behavior since it allows him to channel his anger somewhere she considers to be productive.
  • Replacement Goldfish: The first real showing of emotion Jason has, while still in his near-catatonic state, was when Talia showed him a picture of Batman alongside a new Robin, telling him he'd been quickly replaced by his father. The truth of the situation was much more complicated but Jason doesn't know this.
  • Scheherezade Gambit: Talia starts off pulling one on Bruce's behalf, seeking out mentors for Jason all over the world as a stalling tactic since she loves Bruce and doesn't actually want Jason to kill him. By the end of the comic she's also seeking revenge on Bruce and she convinces Jason to punish him for the both of them without killing him.
  • Sex for Solace: Talia and Jason end up sleeping together in the final issue after bonding over how Bruce hurt them (It's implied the issue takes place after the Batman: Death and the Maidens Story Arc, whose events caused Talia to turn on Bruce).
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: Talia and Jason both fall into bed and start kissing. Then the scene cuts the morning after, with Jason waking up alone in bed and Talia being long gone.
  • Single Tear: When Talia informs the catatonic Jason about how much Bruce is hurting, Jason doesn't emote save for a single tear streaking down his face.
  • Slave Liberation: His German mentor Egon was selling child slaves. Jason put an end to it.
  • Soulless Shell: What Ra thinks Jason is before the Pit, however at least once he started crying so there was some emotion in him.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: Jason knew he couldn't take on Egon in a straight fight, so he kills him by poisoning his energy drink beforehand.
  • Token Black Friend: Talia has a token black minion who is loyal to her, who only exists as her Satellite Character for her to have someone to talk to and deliver exposition regarding her plans for Jason.