Red Hood and the Outlaws, Issue 27
With his pal Roy Harper now in rehab, Red Hood is taking on The Underlife mystery on his own. Still banished from Gotham City by Batman and missing his fellow Outlaw allies, Red Hood only has his wits and personal resources to aid him.
Out on the road, Red Hood (in his civilian alias Jason Todd) attempts several times to reach his friend Roy Harper to find out how he’s doing in rehab, but to no luck. Instead, he is left with his only other option: leaving voicemail. Still in the middle of nowhere America, Jason follows an instinctive path towards what he hopes will be answers to what The Underlife is really after and who’s behind it. His journey this time leads him to a roadside cafe, catering to road weary truckers. He sits next to a particularly hostile trucker and asks him why he’s carrying three million dollars of hijacked medical supplies for The Underlife, and where his final destination is.
When the trucker laughs at Jason’s threat of physical harm if he doesn’t get answers, Jason takes the glass sugar jar off of the counter and smashes it into the trucker’s face. The cafe’s truckers all jump to their friend’s aide and begin attacking Jason with earnest. Jason easily takes out the majority of the truckers, relishing in the act of cutting loose with his lethal martial arts techniques, with one exception: the meta-human sized trucker with muscles to match. The large trucker sucker punches Jason from behind, causing Jason to fall to the ground, dazed. The trucker tells him that he and his friends aren’t regular backwater yokels, but trained members of The Underlife. He says that they’re part of something bigger, and that Jason is a dead man walking. The trucker suddenly loses consciousness and falls to the ground. Looking up, Jason sees that Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, has taken out the trucker and is now looking at Jason with interest.
Remembering their last meeting, in which Batman nearly killed him and cast him out of Gotham City forever, Jason tells him that if he’s looking for another fight, to give him a minute to catch his breath. Bruce tells him that he’s not there to fight and that he should sit down. He grabs a coffee and places it in front of Jason. He does, then tells Bruce that if he’s there to take him back to Gotham to face the crime of shooting The Penguin in the face, that it’s not going to happen. Bruce tells him that he’s never allowed back in Gotham City, not even to it’s criminal prison Arkham. Bruce elaborates that The Penguin didn’t die, so that Jason technically has still kept his word to him that he wouldn’t kill anyone in Gotham, but not for lack of trying. When Jason asks him why he is there then, Bruce tells him that his friend Roy Harper is dead. Jason lets his guard down and asks Bruce how it happened. He explains that it happened at a place called The Sanctuary, and that it wasn’t just Roy, but a lot of other people too. (see Heroes In Crisis for details) Jason tells Bruce that Roy went there because it called itself a “rehab for capes”. Bruce tells Jason that he and Alfred hope that he will let out his feelings over Roy’s loss. Jason says it’s strange to get grief counseling from Batman, but that death is a part of life. He explains that he died, Batman’s son Damian died, and even Batman died at one time. He feels that death is a factor of being a masked hero, and that everyone of them is on borrowed time. He feels that Roy would be upset if Jason spent what’s left of his life mourning him. Getting up, Bruce asks Jason if he can drop him off anywhere. Walking outside in the rain, Jason says no, and embraces his friend and mentor instead.
Jason thanks Bruce for telling him in person. He tells him that he knows it must’ve been hard for him, considering that he now hates him. Bruce looks at Jason and tells him that he never hated him. Ever. He says that Jason makes questionable decisions and needs a swift kick in the ass on occasion, but that when it comes down to it, that they both have each other’s backs. Bruce then drives away, watching Jason go in the opposite direction on foot.
Jason stops after a bit and calls Roy’s cell phone one more time. He tells the voicemail that he was the best friend he ever had. When the call is over, he contemplates deleting the contact info. from his phone. The next day Jason arrives in the town of Appleton. It’s a quaint town where everyone says hello to one another. The local sheriff stops Jason and asks him what brought him to their town. He tells him that he’s just passing through as he has business nearby. The sheriff recommends a local bed and breakfast, which Jason takes him up on. After checking in, Jason walks outside and takes in the sight of the quiet town, telling himself that he almost feels bad for having to take the town apart brick by brick. We then see that someone is watching Jason with sophisticated technology, which scans for his identity, heat signature, and views what is inside Jason’s bag: his new Red Hood uniform.
This issue helped resolve for fans the present relationship between Red Hood and Batman, post Jason's savage beat down at his mentor's hands. In a twisted way, it shows just how damaged both Jason Todd and Batman are as we discover that part of Jason's savage beating was just a means of letting Jason know how serious Batman was that he wasn't to return to Gotham City. But that aside, "we're all good". Really? I mean...really? The man beat his former ward to near unconsciousness, knowing that The Joker did something similar that psychologically scarred him. Sounds like they all need to be sitting in a counselor's chair to me.
Sad too that Roy Harper has died, and Jason is almost okay with it, telling Bruce that his best friend Roy wouldn't want him mourning him. This despite only a few issues prior we had Red Hood shooting a person in the face over the supposed death of his father. Has he learned the lesson of being humble so quickly? I really like Scott Lobdell's writing, I really do, but seeing how damaged Jason Todd still is despite his repeated attempts to right wrongs every issue gives the comic a whole new depth and scope to consider. Cookie cutter comic, this ain't!
LOVING the foil art cover this issue btw...
Red Hood and the Outlaws, Issue 27, Red Hood vs. Batman – Round II
- Writing - 8/108/10
- Storyline - 6/106/10
- Art - 8/108/10
- Color - 8/108/10
- Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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