Red Hood: Outlaw #41
The "Year of the Villain" has come and gone, seemingly passing Red Hood and his new Outlaws by as they try to figure out exactly what’s going on with Dr. Veritas and her underground lab. With the sudden reappearance of Bizarro and Artemis and their attack on Red Hood in the last issue, what will be the ultimate fate of our intrepid team?
This book tries to build a head of steam, but just as it seems like it’s going somewhere, it drops the ball on so many points as if the plot was put together to tie into an event that it had no business trying to be a part of.
I had fun with this series in the beginning. I loved the Dark Trinity angle that the book was aiming for and as things went on, it got progressively darker and darker up until the point where Batman had beaten Jason to a pulp and kicked him out of Gotham, then he lost his best friends in Artemis and Bizarro. This brought him to the lowest of low points where he’d cast aside his iconic helmet for a grungy hoody and a facemask, symbolizing a new dark era as a solo anti-hero.
Things went off track as Batman kinda forgave him following Roy’s death in Heroes in Crisis, he became the new owner of the Iceberg Lounge and started wearing suits as a businessman, and now he’s the babysitter for a group of “evil” youths and even that’s run its course. As I mentioned in my last review, this book just seems to have lost focus or at best is a filler arc.
There were a lot of great ideas – focusing on Jason’s sense of trauma after losing Artemis and Roy Harper in such a short time period through flashbacks was one of them, but this is played off almost as a gag towards the middle of the book. Jason realizes that the returning Artemis and Bizarro had been brainwashed by Vessel, a child character that we were only introduced to in an annual from a few months ago and had NO shine since. Jason then decides to kiss her and Vessel breaks the mind control after calling it “gross.”
There are a few subplots, like scientists in the underground lab with genetic disorders and Dr. Veritas being missing that are solved in seconds as Vessel’s plans are unraveled like an episode of Scooby Doo. Not that any of these would have been particularly interesting to explore in further agonizing detail anyway.
David Messina’s art saves most of this issue from being an utter mess as his lines, posing and action sequences are quite good. His pencils combined with Rex Lokus’ colors, makes this book great to look at. Messina draws the flashback scenes with such emotion and Lokus muted colors give everything a somber feel when thinking back to the past. Even when Jason and Artemis do finally reunite, there’s still the spark there between them as Artemis eyes are given life again.
There’s an even better scene with Doomed and DNA as they explore some of the underbelly of the lab. With the panels given a slight purple hue, the hopeful pair actually have a conversation with each other as DNA gives Reiser his voice back for a moment. DNA keeps a finger to Reiser’s chest in a small act of intimacy and I thought it was quite well done.
I honestly don’t know that I’ll continue this series. Maybe only to review it until it hopefully ends at Issue #50, but this was lame. If not for Messina and Lokus’ art, this book would rate far lower than it already is.
Red Hood: Outlaw #41: Over Before it Began
- Writing - 5/105/10
- Storyline - 6/106/10
- Art - 8/108/10
- Color - 8/108/10
- Cover Art - 5/105/10
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