Batman has another opportunity to save a young vigilante from a life of regret as Clownhunter rapidly descends down the path to becoming Red Hood.
Batman has made his share of mistakes despite being one of the most capable crimefighters in existence. He has trouble expressing emotion and his personal relationships all hang by a thread. His life’s biggest regret, however, is letting his ward, Jason Todd, fall victim to The Joker. Jason lost the new identity Bruce helped him forge as Robin the day he was mercilessly beaten by Batman’s nemesis. Jason Todd was surviving on the streets of Gotham as a petty thief before Bruce found him. Batman trained the aggressive young man to control his anger and become a crimefighter worthy of the title Robin the Boy Wonder.
Jason Todd was Batman’s second attempt at bringing on a sidekick to his crusade for justice. Jason exceeded Bruce’s expectations in every way. This new Robin was everything Batman wanted in a ward and also in a son. He became part of the Bat-family. The Joker noticed Batman’s attachment to his sidekick and exploited their connection by capturing and brutally torturing Jason. Robin died the day he was captured by The Joker and Red Hood was born. Batman wasn’t aware that Jason had survived, mourned his loss, and eventually replaced him as Robin with Tim Drake. The Joker physically and emotionally scarred Jason Todd for life. Now Todd feels that Batman, his father-figure and mentor, abandoned him.
Jason became Red Hood, a ruthless vigilante that constantly breaks Batman’s biggest rule when fighting crime: no killing. Jason lost more than his life the day he was tortured. He lost his soul as well. Jason became a killing machine after Joker’s attack. Now Batman has the chance a second chance at saving an angry young man from descending down the wrong path. Like Jason, Clownhunter had his life ruined by The Clown Prince of Crime. Bao Pham lost both of his parents because of The Joker. During the events of Joker War, the crime-ridden Narrows were constantly tormented by clowns after the Joker Gang grew immensely. Bao decided enough was enough and became the Clownunter.
Clownhunter became a murderous vigilante to protect his city from the clowns. He was championed by Gothamites for his efforts during the Joker War. And after Batman and the Bat-family defeated the Joker, Clownhunter continued his mission to rid Gotham of every clown. He is confronted by Batman and given a warning. Batman has been following Clownhunter’s story and has the unique opportunity to reform a young vigilante before his actions are no longer redeemable. Clownhunter can still be saved, his entire identity does not have to be shaped by Joker like Red Hood’s was. Batman inadvertently created Clownhunter the same way he did Red Hood – because of his inaction.
Clownhunter is still operating freely around Gotham despite the many murders he committed during Joker War. Batman has given him the chance to give up his new vigilante persona but Clownhunter has no intention of doing so. With Gotham changing so rapidly, Batman could use someone who understands the current climate and feelings of the average Gothamite. Since their paths keep crossing Clownhunter’s journey can only progress one of two ways. He can either be taken under Batman’s wing as the newest addition to the Bat-family, or be handed to the authorities by Batman. Bruce has clearly taken an interest in the violent young man and may see similarities between Bao and Jason. Bao has blood on his hands but still can become a non-lethal hero with the right guidance. Will Batman lose another young vigilante to the temptations of using lethal force?
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