Friday, April 29, 2016

The Importance of the Origin Story

Unless it's a beloved or interesting origin I tend to get bored but the origin story is important. It not only informs us of where the character came from it tells us who they are.

For example Booster Gold didn't have his backstory revealed for several issues building up the mystery of who he was. Ever since then his tale has been retold with new details in many versions. The post-Flashpoint origin has been extremely vague except for him stealing Skeets and the time sphere before accidentally going back in time. (*1) I'll get in depth on the Booster Gold origin stuff when I have more time. For now we'll talk about a recent change...we'll sort of.

I think the bat family should be able to sum up their origins with an image: the broken trapeze, the broken pearl necklace, etc. Jason had his new 52 origin changed to take out the tire theft in exchange for medical supplies.

While I understood the reasoning (tires not getting Jason the kind of money he needed to survive) the change took away something vital. Bruce actually shoves him against the car in the art which doesn't paint him in the best of lights. It looks like he takes Jason in because of something Leslie said. Jason's spunk is missing and he in fact recalls being afraid of Batman.

That was RHATO #0 and the next telling in Secret Origins #5 tried to fix it a bit by showing Jason running away from police and managing to take their steering wheel so they can't follow him. Yet it still misses the point why that tire stealing scene was so iconic.

Here's the thing: Jason Todd's Post-Crisis origin had a serious impact that differed from the other Robins. It was the anniversary of the Waynes' deaths and Batman patrolled Crime Alley yearly to ensure no crime was committed on that night.

No one dared step out of line because everyone knew Batman would be there. No one dared to tick Batman off. ...Except for one kid with the guts to jack the tires off the batmobile. An act that made Bruce laugh in Crime Alley on the anniversary of his parents deaths. Which is just amazing. Bruce was impressed before he actually saw the kid.

Jason wasn't scared of Batman (*2) and managed to hit him before going home. Batman trailed after him but this already tells us quite a bit. This kid, Jason Todd, was braver than anyone in Crime Alley. He not only stole the tires off the batmobile he managed to land a hit on Batman.

The new take on the origin has Jason taking the tires again, Batman smiling and Jason attempting to hit him. This time Batman stops the hit from landing and apparently takes them out for fast food. It seems Jasons' gutsy nature is back and has impressed the dark knight. He might not call Batman a big boob though.


*1 As a side note I wonder if Booster grew up as a thief because his dad stayed with the family.

*2 Winick even had Bruce note that Jason was never scared enough.


  1. Dammit, they messed with the tire story? That's just one of my favorite things! The kid had moxie, I tells ya... Moxie!

  2. Well they changed it with the reboot and are now bringing it back. Like you said it shows he has moxie so it needs to be kept. I'm so happy to see it returning even if it's still a bit different.

    The tires theft is important.

  3. While I agree the tire theft is one of the most iconic origin stories in comics, I don't see anything was wrong with the N52 origin. Both captured the core of Jason's character perfectly and the addition of Leslie as a mother figure for Jason was a stroke of genius, that sadly, it went underutilized.

  4. On it's own it's not a bad origin but Jason behavior shift changed the impact on the character. Jason was scared of Bruce in the new 52 version while he's defiant in the tire origin. I remember UTH when Bruce was saying Jason was never scared enough. That's the kid that since day one was never scared to stand up to Batman.

    The fact he dares to take the bat tires says so much about Jason. He showed a lot of guts and impressed Bruce. There's affection between them right from the beginning with Bruce laughing (or smiling in the new version) at his moxie. That's missing in the new 52 the 1st version and misplaced in the second (w/the cops instead of Batman.)

    Yes and no on Leslie. I like that he'd have a connection to her I don't like it being implied that she got Bruce to take Jason in. If there was more with them maybe it would have clicked better for me.