It all came down to this, Red Hood vs. Batman in a fight for control of Gotham. Double sized issue even!
RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS VOL. 2 #25
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist: Dexter Soy, Trevor Hairsine, Ryan Winn, Phil Hester, and Ande Parks
Color Artist: Veronica Gandini, Rain Beredo, and Madpencil Studio
Cover Artist: Trevor Hairsine and Antonio Fabela / Variant: Yasmine Putri
Publisher: DC Comics
What You’ll Need to Know:
Red Hood totally crossed the line. He made one promise to Batman, that he would never purposefully kill anyone. So long as he held that promise, he was free to patrol Gotham City as he saw fit. Now that Red Hood has shot The Penguin point blank in an act of family vengeance, his promise is broken. Angered, Batman is now coming to take his former protege in, at any cost.
As if that isn’t enough, the floating city block-sized headquarters that Red Hood and his Outlaws team call home is about to come crashing down onto Crime Alley. With Bizarro now reverted back to his simple-minded self, Artemis is scrambling to stop it’s descent before thousands of people are killed.
What You’ll Find Out (SPOILERS):
The issue opens with a flashback to when Jason Todd (Red Hood) was still Batman’s sidekick, Robin. Jason is near unconsciousness as he swims underwater, trying to reach the Batmobile that is now upside-down and resting at the bottom of the harbor. As Albert screams into his earpiece to break surface for air before he dies, Jason continues swimming downward towards the vehicle. We then see an unconscious Batman still strapped to his seat. Jason breaks him free and pulls Batman to the surface. Seeing that Batman isn’t breathing, he performs CPR until his mentor starts breathing on his own. Jason then asks Batman if he thought he could get rid of him that easy. Batman responds by saying that if he ever leaves, it would be by his own choice.
Using Bizarro’s cloaking device, Red Hood hides in plain sight as Gotham police officers search the area for him in the hopes of bringing him in for the attempted murder of The Penguin. Unfortunately for Red Hood, as Bizarro’s technology is now faulty due to Bizarro’s revert to sub-intelligence, the cloaking mechanism shuts down and the police immediately circle around Red Hood with guns drawn. He’s getting ready to fight his way to freedom when several of the officers notice small pieces of debris land on their shoulders. Looking up, they see a transparent building in the sky starting to crash into the nearby skyscrapers. They let Red Hood escape as they instead begin trying to clear the streets and order people to evacuate.
Up in the falling headquarters, Artemis and Bizarro try one last time to reason with the building’s AI system to stop the descent. It reiterates that the system was previously tied to Bizarro’s genius mind, and now that he’s reverted to his base self, the building and all of it’s technology is no longer supported. Artemis tries to get Bizarro to think of any fail-safe plans existing, but he can’t understand her request. Seeing that he can’t help, she asks him to come with her into another part of the headquarters.
Now on top of one of the skyscrapers, Red Hood makes a leap off of it as he tries to get onto his former base of operations. Before he can land though, Batman’s grapple gun grabs him by his ankle as Batman pulls him back onto the skyscraper roof. He then immediately kicks Red Hood across the face, shattering the front of his helmet.
Holding Red Hood by the neck, Batman reminds him of the promise he made to never kill anyone. Red Hood is unapologetic, however, telling Batman that The Penguin has hurt and killed people and that he deserved it. He then taunts Batman by asking him if he’s just sad that he’s lost a playmate in the process. Batman then headbutts Red Hood, telling him that he is over his jokes and excuses. He’s about to punch Red Hood when Bizarro appears and knocks Batman away. Bizarro tells Red Hood that Artemis sent him to find him and if he’s okay. Red Hood says yes, but he’s obviously hurt.
Inside the floating compound, Artemis tries desperately to use the computer systems to manually override the self-destruct program. When the computer tells her that the casualty projection is over 12,000 she becomes stunned and asks herself aloud, “What have we done?” Suddenly Bizarro arrives with Red Hood, as he tells her that she shouldn’t be asking that question, but instead try to figure out how to stop the collapse from happening. Elated that Red Hood has finally made it, she goes to embrace her teammates.
As Red Hood and Artemis argue about the best way to save the city, Bizarro looks around the room strangely. He then smiles before punching through the floor and pulling up one of the large central power cords. His teammates asked him what he is doing. Bizarro tells them that he promised them that he would go anywhere for them, anytime. At that, still holding the power cord, he flies through the teleportation Quantum Doorway.
The effect causes the doorway to begin pulling the entire headquarters into itself. Red Hood and Artemis try desperately to hold on to anything solid so as not to be sucked into the newly formed vortex themselves. Concerned for his friend, Red Hood tells Artemis that they have to go in after him. Artemis tells him no, that she’ll go alone. She tells him that one day he’ll understand that she owes him for years of suffering. As Red Hood begins to argue that she’s wrong and that they can make it through together, Artemis gives him the kiss that she was never able to give him before.
Looking into Artemis’ eyes, Red Hood says, “Finally”. He asks her what she thinks. Through tears, she tells him that it was okay, for a boy. Artemis then uses her strength to fling Red Hood to safety atop a nearby skyscraper as the headquarters begins to enclose around her. Red Hood yells out for her, but soon there is nothing left in the sky.
Defeated and hurt, Red Hood stands with his head down. He then asks aloud, “You’re standing right behind me, aren’t you?” He and Batman begin fighting again, but Batman is eventually able to knock him down to the ground. He then rips the Batman symbol from Red Hood’s chest, as a symbolic gesture of their friendship ending.
Batman reminds Jason that he once told him that if he ever left, it would be by his own choice. As Batman drags him across the roof floor, a red mist suddenly appears. This surprises Batman, but before he can react, he’s hit by an electric arrow and falls to the ground himself.
We then see that Red Hood’s former Outlaw member and friend Arsenal (Roy Harper) has appeared and is helping his friend get to safety.
Back within the Bizarro’s bottle prison, the now miniaturized former crime lord Ma Gunn is sitting alone, drinking tea. She says into the darkness that it’s been a long time and that she doesn’t get much company anymore. A voice answers back that she’s far from home and that his special Omnipresence ability is having a hard time locating her. The meta-human Solitary then steps out of the shadows, dressed in a business suit. Ma tells him that she’s glad he came and calls him Willis, which is Red Hood’s dead father’s name. He asks her how she knew it was him. She says that she’s old enough to see through many secrets and that there are few secrets between a mother and her son. She then tells him that she knew Jason was her grandson the moment she first saw his face.
She tells him that she regrets being the person she was back then, but he reminds her that they both have a lot to atone for. She then asks if he’s able to take her out of her prison, but Solitary tells her that he can’t as he’s just projecting himself to her to make sure that she’s okay. Ma tells him that she’ll be fine and has become accustomed to the darkness.
What Just Happened:
Red Hood and Batman have now become enemies, as Arsenal takes in his friend to recuperate. Bizarro and Artemis have disappeared into the Quantum Doorway, along with their headquarters, and their present location is unknown. It’s also now revealed that Red Hood’s father is alive and is the meta-human Solitary and that Ma Gunn is Red Hood’s grandmother.
Final Thought: I rarely give 10 ratings, but this issue deserved it. Scott Lobdell outdid himself in weaving the issue’s storyline in a way that not only captivated readers but wrapped up so much of the storyline threads that have been building up for some time. The comic is presently at a crossroads. Red Hood is now exiled from Gotham City by Batman, and his teammates have been teleported to an unknown location. To mention nothing of the fact that starting next month Red Hood will be sporting an entirely new look.
If the comic will be wrapping up completely or remain ongoing is completely up in the air at this point. Also, given that Artemis is currently guest-starring in the Wonder Woman comic for several issues makes it seem as if the end may be just on the horizon for the present Outlaws team. I must say though, the revelation that Jason’s father is still alive and that Artemis didn’t kill him after all is a relief for me. I’m a HUGE Artemis fan and have really been gunning for the possible romantic angle Mr. Lobdell has been hinting at between her and Red Hood. Not having something as awful as patricide looming over their heads anymore makes this fan one happy camper. I’m really interested in seeing, too, Jason’s reaction to finding out his father is alive and that Ma Gunn is really his grandmother. It’s like a superhero Days of Our Lives over here, and I’m loving every minute of it!
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