Red Hood and the Outlaws, Annual 2
After shooting The Penguin point blank in the face as an act of vengeance, Red Hood has learned first hand that breaking a promise with The Batman has serious repercussions. Batman not only responded by beating Red Hood within an inch of his life but also cast him out of Gotham City to never return. Before the Caped Crusader is able to finish his fist-to-face handiwork, Red Hood's former teammate Arsenal appears and takes Batman out. Before he can recover, he transports Red Hood to a safe place where he can heal.
While all of this is happening, Bizarro manages to save countless lives by using the Outlaws headquarters teleportation system to shunt the city block-sized floating building to an unknown location before it plummets down onto innocent citizens below. Unfortunately, as part of that life-saving act, both Bizarro and Artemis' location and fate are now unknown.
The comic opens with a very battered and bruised Jason Todd, aka Red Hood, holding a handgun. He is heavily focused on a target as he repeats a mantra of self-control to himself. Shooting the gun, the effect causes him to fall flat on his back in pain. When he looks at the target, a lone coconut with a hand-drawn smile, he sees that it is still intact and unharmed. Seeing his friend in his unsightly predicament, Roy Harper, aka Arsenal, reprimands his friend, telling him that he should be resting and not causing his stitches to become unnecessarily broken.
We then see that they are on an isolated tropical island, which contains the spacecraft formerly belonging to their former Outlaws teammate Starfire. The still functioning craft provides the duo with not only shelter, but hi-tech gadgets and information components. Arsenal uses the craft to keep in contact with is drug and alcohol sponsor, who is none other than Gotham City’s Killer Croc. Via a hologram system, the two have a 3-D Skype meeting in which Croc provides Arsenal moral support all the while of being a prisoner in a maximum security prison.
Red Hood periodically uses the technology to try to locate his missing friends Artemis and Bizarro. The spacecraft continuously scans for them globally and in various multiverses, but is unable to locate them, much to the disappointment of Red Hood.
Some time passes as Red Hood’s wounds gradually heal. Roy, looking to have breakfast with his friend, finds him working out in the gym. He sees that he is now back in his peak form, capable of performing amazing gymnast feats again.
Knowing that Red Hood is probably itching to get off of the island, Arsenal asks him if he feels up to going on a mission. Red Hood immediately tells him, “yes”. They travel to Beijing where Arsenal tells his friend about an underground organization called The Underlife. He explains that yakuza, mafia, cartels and even Intergang have all shaped their dealings to conform to the code imposed by The Underlife. Keeping tabs on The Underlife process, Arsenal tracked a shipment of bad opioids to Beijing. Thinking that their old enemy Suzie Su may be behind it, they discover Suzie in critical care. Looking at her chart, they discover that she has been admitted due to catastrophic liver failure long before the shipment was made. Seeing a dead end, they opt to leave and investigate who else could be behind the shipment. On their way out of the hospital, they are ambushed by Suzie Su’s sisters.
The battle causes quite a bit of damage. Enough damage to wake Suzie Su from her sleep. She stops the battle and tells the Outlaw friends that she wasn’t behind the shipment, that it was an American who was responsible.
They apologize for the mix-up and leave Beijing. Back in America, Arsenal tells Red Hood that he heard about a rehab for meta-humans. He says that he plans to enroll and asks if Jason wants to enroll with him. Jason jokingly tells Roy that rehab is for quitters, to which the friends laugh hysterically before parting ways.
We then see Artemis landing in a cityscape, which is in disrepair. Bizarro looks to see if she’s alright and apologizes for her being part of his destructive action. Looking around, the two heroes find a demolished Hall of Justice, which has been defaced to say “Hall of Punishment”. They then assume that they are now in an alternate reality.
Overall, this annual issue reads as pretty tepid as it slowly watches Red Hood move from not being able to shoot a gun straight due to his injuries, to later recouping enough to complete complex aerial back-flips again. The soon after foray squabble against the Sisters of Suzie Su also came across as totally random and as a means to fill in space. Granted, seeing that it took some time for Red Hood to recover, and seeing that he has not forgotten about his teammates (both past and present) was something fans of the comic appreciate; it still was pretty evident that this annual is a means of taking in a breath from the normal fast pace of the central comic book series. So basically, this is a comic ongoing readers or fans of the characters may enjoy reading, but newcomers will probably not find it that interesting as a stand-alone read.
Red Hood and the Outlaws, Annual 2, Licking His Bat Wounds
Writing - 7/107/10
Storyline - 5/105/10
Art - 6/106/10
Color - 7/107/10
Cover Art - 7/107/10
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