Nowadays, of course, Red Hood is the codename given to Batman's former sidekick Jason Todd, who fights crime alongside his pals in The Outlaws, Roy Harper (Arsenal) and Starfire. But back in Batman's earliest days, it was a criminal organization which, in my iterations of the Joker story, is assumed to be responsible for the origin of the Clown Prince of Crime. Not that we've dealt with his backstory yet in the New 52, but Batman is an odd animal; the pre-Flashpoint history has reportedly been carried over but they've been making changes to it along the way, as dictated by the story. And yet here we are, just days from the start of Batman: The Zero Year, in which the superstar creative team of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo will kick off a major storyline filling in some of the blanks in the backstory of the New 52 Batman. Along the way, reports the New York Post, he'll run into the Red Hood Gang for the first time.
"The Red Hood leader figures very big in the story from Go," Snyder said. "Without giving anything away, I would say the Red Hood Gang, I've really tried to make them into something you've never seen before, where the kind of fear they inspire and the way they operate … is essentially like spreading like a virus. Where the Red Hood leader, nobody knows who he is, and he basically strong-arms people into a gang who have no business being in a gang, just middle class people, upper-class people … blue collar people, people with no criminal background." Of course, in Alan Moore's classic Batman: The Killing Joke, The Joker is born when a down-on-his-luck nightclub comic is drafted into service as the Red Hood, who leads the gang on bank heists and other crimes. In reality, though, the Red Hood isn't the gang's leader--just a guy to take the fall should the group get caught. Rumors about The Zero Year, though, have all pointed at The Riddler as the story's principal antagonist. Could he be under the hood?