Red Hood: Outlaw #40
The Year of the Villain is in full effect. With Lex Luthor giving offers of power to every big league player in the DC Universe, Red Hood has been chosen to instruct the next generation of Outlaws, but will his heroic heart break through their cold exteriors?
I think the fun factor of this series has worn off for me.
When this Red Hood and the Outlaws series started, I was intrigued at the possibility of a dark Jason Todd story with darker allies than Starfire and Arsenal. In the beginning it delivered and then drifted off into weird sci-fi territory like the New 52 series, but it was kinda fun still. Then later, Jason snapped and shot Penguin right in the eye, causing him to fall out of Batman’s grace and this was made worse by Bizarro and Artemis being pulled into another dimension, leaving him alone. With all of this, we were primed to get the dark story that everyone expected! But then Heroes in Crisis happened, then he became businessman Todd and now Year of the Villain is going on and he’s practically a babysitter.
This issue was practically nothing as it centered around Jason and his Generation Outlaw team exploring the underground lair of their benefactor, Dr. Veritas, and trying to figure out what happened to her. After a cute opening of the team in a rideshare, they teleport into the base. Jason and Cloud 9 go in one direction, DNA and Doomed search elsewhere, Devour and Babe in Arms, with her Zombie Mother, each go off alone. This issue was mostly exposition heavy and tried to build up the various characters and their relationships.
It was nice to see the non-binary DNA strike up a potential relatonship with the monstrous Doomed over their mutual in-between-ness with Doomed being between human and monster and DNA being…DNA. Devour shows off a softer side as he proceeds to help a creepy lost child in the bowels of the base after flashing back to his difficult past of being bullied for his monstrous powers. Babe-in-Arms possibly had the best of these character moments when they asked their mother if ruling the world was too much for them at the moment, questioning their role as an ultra smart, evil baby.
I’m glad to be learning more and feeling more for these characters, but I also don’t know if it will be worth it if they end up disappearing after this storyline anyway. These character moments were fine, but they didn’t have little bits of action to break them up, not that every book needs it. There were a few panels of Jason and Cloud 9 fighting clones of Veritas, but with only about 2 – 3 pages for it, it felt very short. I suppose it is to build up the mystery of what’s going one, but honestly it’s also just not very interesting.
David Massina was on the art for this issue and while his style is nice, it doesn’t quite have the same appeal for me as Kenneth Rocafort’s pencils and that may have contributed to my diminished feeling for this book. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t enjoy it otherwise, but I would say that this didn’t show off his or colorist, Rex Lokus’ skills.
The book moved incredibly slow for me and not even though it had good developmental moments for our new characters, the book felt like it was missing something. More than likely, I’m just tired of this kind of story or don’t really care where Jason Todd is as a character at the moment. It’s not particularly compelling and this whole arc just feels like it’s to give Jason something to do since Bizarro and Artemis were stuck in future Earth for much longer than they needed to be and no one knows what to do with the bad boy of the bat family. There might be a clear direction for this, but I just don’t see it and honestly, you’d be better off skipping this one.
Red Hood: Outlaw #40: What Are We Even Doing Anymore?
Writing - 6/10
Storyline - 6/10
Art - 7/10
Color - 7/10
Cover Art - 7/10
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