The Bat Family, like most families in the real world, is one that comes with its own series of complications and tragedies. Whether it be any number of his wards, or even Batman himself, it would appear that traumatic experiences are the core factor that binds the Bat Family together and subsequently fuels their heroic crime-fighting ways. That being said, there is certainly a point to be made regarding which member of the Bat Family had it “worse” when it boils down to their very own isolated traumas.
To cut right through the fat: we firmly believe that it is indeed Batgirl, a.k.a. Barbara Gordon, who suffered the most significant traumatic experience when compared to the rest of the Bat-Family, with Jason Todd’s Red Hood coming in at a close second. To put to rest the argument as to why Jason Todd’s trauma is not as horrific as Barbara Gordon’s, we must first break down the similarities between their distressing experiences and offer an explanation that would justify why Barbara Gordon suffered the most.
Jason Todd and Barbara Gordon’s traumas
For many comic book fans, they would know instantly that the common thread shared between these two members of the Bat-Family has to do with none other than their brushes with The Joker. Unfortunately, both heroes were given front row seats in witnessing the true horror that the Clown Prince of Crime could inflict on another human being, leaving gaping wounds both mentally and physically that the duo would certainly never recover from completely.
At first glance, it would appear that Jason Todd endured a fate far more malevolent than Barbara Gordon, and it would not be wrong to assume so. After all, The Joker did kidnap and torture the young Todd, back when he was Robin, before violently bludgeoning him to death with a crowbar. However, as shockingly graphic as this may be to avid fans of The Bat Family, the fact that Jason Todd died during the violent exchange was, in a way, a sort of saving grace for the character. This is because shortly after his death, Todd was reborn as the character known as The Red Hood. Although he still carried the scars of the traumatic incident that resulted in his death, his subsequent “rebirth” aided in severing the connection between his past life as Robin with his new one as Red Hood. This is precisely why, in our opinion, Red Hood’s trauma does not clinch the top spot.
Why Batgirl suffered the most
There is a famous saying that sums up why Barbara Gordon is the most traumatized member of the Bat Family; it goes something like this: It’s not death I fear but living in a torture chamber.
This is where Batgirl’s trauma takes the top spot. The character was crippled, tortured, and further humiliated by The Joker in the events of Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke. Barbara Gordon did not die. She was not allowed the respite of dying from her wounds, not at all. Instead, she was forced to live with the horrors of what happened to her, a continuation that can be argued to be far worse a fate than the one Jason Todd endured.
Granted, this is not to discount the fact on whether the horrifying situation provided the foundations for Barbara to become a much stronger character or whether she eventually overcame the whole ordeal (as most heroes do), but it does not take away from the fact that when comparing who was given the hardest pill to swallow among the other members of the Bat Family, it is safe to say that Batgirl’s trauma is the worst of them all.
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