Long before he ever took up the mantle of the Red Hood, Jason Todd came close to ending Batman’s life. One of the Bat-Family’s biggest tragedies involving Jason nearly wound up taking the Caped Crusader’s life.

Of all the Robins that have fought by Batman’s side, Jason has probably had it the hardest. Before he became the Boy Wonder, Jason had little in his life before turning to crime. And even after he became Batman’s sidekick, the young man was living in the shadow of Dick Grayson. Up until the day he died during the infamous “Death in the Family” story arc, Jason had an anger inside him that festered for years. However, when he was resurrected, Jason unleashed his rage onto Gotham and hurt anyone in his path, including Batman. Though he managed to quell his rage, Red Hood is still known for his intense, vengeful spirit.

But before Jason ever donned the infamous Red Hood identity, he nearly caused Batman’s death in a roundabout way. In Batman #440 by Marv Wolfman, George Perez, and Jim Aparo, Batman is pushing himself past his limits in the wake of Jason’s death. After an intense confrontation with the Ravager, Batman stumbles back to Wayne Manor where his wounds are treated by Alfred Pennyworth. After Bruce recovers, Alfred voices his concerns. The faithful butler discusses how reckless Batman has been since Jason died, pointing out that Bruce has been shot and stabbed twice in a matter of weeks. Alfred makes a point that Batman could wind up getting himself killed if he keeps this behavior up.

It may be harsh, but Alfred is right on the money. Batman was absolutely broken by the death of Jason Todd. Bruce blamed himself for years and refused to even entertain the idea of another Robin until Tim Drake convinced him otherwise. It’s no surprise that Batman was thrown off his game after losing Jason. Bruce has always taken death especially hard, ever since he lost his parents in Crime Alley. But it is slightly shocking to hear how close Batman was to getting himself killed. Jason Todd might not be aware, but his violent murder almost caused the death of the Dark Knight long before the birth of the Red Hood.

The death of Jason Todd was a painful reminder to Batman that neither he nor the Bat-Family were invulnerable. After losing Jason, Bruce pushed himself and lost focus, putting him closer to danger than he’d ever been. All it would have taken was a bullet in the right place to end Batman for good. Batman had a chilling encounter with mortality and saw how dangerous his line of work really was. The death of Jason did indeed break Bruce Wayne and it nearly ended his life. But the Red Hood’s murder was a lesson that Batman needed to learn to understand how his world could be flipped upside down in the blink of an eye.

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