For years Dick Grayson was the eternally youthful, fearless and wisecracking boy wonder Robin. Then he grew up and became the first leader of the Teen Titans and later a superhero in his own right, Nightwing. This left Batman without a Robin, and everyone agreed that Batman needed a Robin, if only to provide some much needed levity. Thus, Jason Todd was introduced as the second Robin. He was originally written to be a very similar character to Dick Grayson, however, somewhere along the line his character started to write himself and Jason Todd turned out to be a little bit sullen and a lot rebellious. The problem was, nobody really liked him very much. In response DC Comics did something unprecedented. They opened up the fate of Jason Todd to the readers. By calling in readers could decide if he lived or died, and by a narrow margin readers opted to kill him off.
This is the story of how Jason Todd died. It is partly a story about Jason’s search for a mother he never knew he had–a search which takes him to the Middle East and Africa and winds up involving international arms trafficking and the Joker. But the emotional impact in the story comes from tension in Batman. His choices, his dedication to justice and the protection of strangers at all costs, are instrumental in the death of Robin. He has to confront the consequences of who he is, and the kind of life that he lives and asks others to live.
Batman: Death in the Family
By Jim Starlin, Jim Aparo, Marv Wolfman, George Perez
DC Comics 2009 (DC Comic Classics Library edition)