‘Batman Beyond’ And The Red Hood: Bruce Wayne’s Troubled Proteges

by Frank Martin

Batman’s relationship with his Robins is one of the most complex in all of comic books. What makes it even more difficult is that each Robin is very different from another, and none more controversial than Jason Todd. Jason was essentially a young criminal who Bruce Wayne took under his wing in order to try to steer his aggression in the right direction. This infamously led to Jason’s demise at the hands of the Joker and an eventual resurrection into becoming the anti-heroic Red Hood. In many ways, Jason is looked at as a failure. Bruce was unable to curb his anger, which arguably is what led to his death and becoming a violent vigilante. But Jason isn’t alone. Bruce has mentored another troubled youth: Terry McGinnis.

Bruce’s relationship with Terry and the circumstances of their meeting are far different than that of Jason. Terry met Bruce when the latter was an old man who had retired from being Batman. Furthermore, Terry was the driving factor in bringing the vigilante persona back. If it were up to Bruce, Terry would have never put on the futuristic batsuit. But Terry wanted to become Batman. And so Bruce had a very different approach to training him. In the past, Bruce was still Batman when he met Jason. He cultivated him to become a Robin rather than a Batman himself, which may have affected Jason differently than Terry. But Terry was just as troubled as Jason, having been in juvenile detention himself and prone to getting into fights.

It’s never stated explicitly that Bruce had learned from his mistakes with Jason to treat Terry differently, but the parallels are clear. Once he was fully committed to Terry’s decision, Bruce supported it and him through thick and thin. He never questioned Terry’s violent behavior or his past. But with Jason, it was always at the forefront of Bruce’s mind. Comparing the two protégés underscores the real growth in what Bruce Wayne became as an elderly man, and this is why Terry is viewed as the true heir to the Batman cowl.

Batman Beyond is now streaming on HBOMax.

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