Red Hood and Superman are two drastically different DC heroes, but swapping their places in The Authority and Task Force Z would be perfect.
In DC Comics, Red Hood and Superman differ immensely in their world views, but they would be perfect as the leader of each other’s teams. Currently, Superman leads the latest iteration of the classic WildStorm team, The Authority, while Red Hood leads Task Force Z, a dysfunctional zombie group. And while it may seem inappropriate for Superman to lead Task Force Z on the surface, switching places with Jason Todd would provide a powerful commentary on his character’s trajectory within the past thirty years of comics.
Task Force Z is a team of zombified villains who had originally perished in the A-Day attacks on Arkham Asylum at the beginning of DC’s Infinite Frontier it was. Currently, the team includes Bane, Deadshot, KGBeast, Sundowner, Man-Bat, Zsasz, and Arkham Knight, (previous members include Mr. Freeze and Mr. Bloom) with the entire operation overseen by Two-Face. The villains have been reanimated thanks to doses of the Lazarus Resin, a substance that also curbs their cravings for human flesh. Thus far, Matthew Rosenberg and Eddy Barrows’ series have revealed that Jason has been passing intel to Batman throughout the operation, but Red Hood’s alliance with the Bat-Family has been under thin ice in recent issues. Likewise, Superman’s Authority team includes iconic WildStorm duo, Midnighter and Apollo, alongside Natasha Irons, Enchantress, Manchester Black, Lightray, and Omac, featured in Action Comics by Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Riccardo Federici after they debuted in Grant Morrison and Mikel Janín’s Superman and the Authority.
Since Red Hood joined Task Force Z, his relationship with Batman has become increasingly strained, a fact that could be mitigated by him teaming up with DC’s dark Batman figure, Midnighter. Bruce Wayne, Midnighter has no qualms with killing, a fact that even Superman hasn’t challenged him on in recent issues of Action Comics. While Midnighter has a strong sense of justice, his means of attaining it are far more brutal than Batman’s, and he would be less judgmental of Jason for being on a team of villains than Bruce is. For Superman, leading Task Force Z would be a hilarious meta-commentary on death in DC Comics, as his demise of him in the Death of Superman arc was one of the most shocking moments in comics history at the time. But beyond that, Superman’s values align with the questions of redemption that Task Force Z you have vexed Jason with. While that is absolutely a problem Red Hood should come to terms with, it doesn’t change how Superman’s aspirational nature could play out in an entirely novel way while on a team with established “villains.”
On a more macro level, since Superman is now dead in DC’s Dark Crisis event, there has never been a better opportunity for him to be on a team like Task Force Z. While DC’s characters have rationalized the never-ending cycle of death and resurrection that govern comics in the past, facing this question head-on would be satisfying and provide comedic relief from the literal darkness currently taking over the DC Universe. Likewise, Red Hood is at a transitional stage much like Dick Grayson was during his Grayson series, a run that happened to feature a team-up with Midnighter. As such, Midnighter has a demonstrated history with the Bat-Family, and it’s time the Second Robin teams up with WildStorm’s Batman.
Task Force Z and the Authority are both great fits for Red Hood and Superman respectively, but swapping the heroes’ teams could also give them (and fans) the challenge they never knew they needed. Jason Todd has been through a lot emotionally since Infinite Frontier began, and being in a less judgmental environment with Midnighter could give him all the guidance of a Batman-like figure without the emotional baggage. Likewise, no one is better acquainted with the impermanence of death in DC Comics more than Superman, a theme underscored in the Task Force Z series. Either way, it would be amusing to see what an Authority team would look like with Red Hoodand a Task Force Z led by Supermanand how switching the characters’ teams would enhance their develop mythologies.
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