As dramatic as it seemed at the time, the death of Jason Todd didn’t turn out to be a permanent thing, as all true Batman fans know — but what if it hadn’t been a thing at all? This December, DC is going to revise a piece of comics history with a new edition of 1988’s Batman #428 that features an important difference from the original: an alternate ending in which Jason Todd lives.
The original death of DC’s second Robin was the result of a phone poll, in which fans were given a 900 number to decide whether or not Jason Todd would die in an explosion caused by the Joker. The result was incredibly narrow, with 5,343 votes to kill him, versus 5,271 votes to keep him alive — a 72 vote difference that was, according to fandom rumors at the time, the result of a repeated effort by one particular fan who didn’t want Robin to stick around anymore.
Because of the nature of the poll, creators Jim Starlin, Jim Aparo, Mike DeCarlo, Adrienne Roy, and John Constanza created two separate editions of Batman #428 — one in which Robin lived, and one where he died. (In reality, only a handful of pages were different… but they were important pages.) In what is being called a “faux-simile” of the original #428, the December release will feature the unseen alternate version of the story in print fully for the first time.
While the end result in this alternate version of Batman history would be the same — the main timeline Jason Todd returned to life in 2005’s “Under the Hood” storyline, after all — it’s fascinating to imagine what might have been difference had Jason never died in the first place, and remained Robin for a longer period. Would Tim Drake have ever been created, for one thing…?
The announcement of the new edition came from the Gotham City Confidential panel at New York Comic Con 2023. The faux-simile edition of Batman #428 will be released December 12.
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