Red Hood: The Hill #0
DISCOVER THE STORY THAT INTRODUCED JASON TODD TO HIS NEW NEIGHBORHOOD! Before you embark on Red Hood's newest adventure in the Hill, experience the story that introduced Jason to his new home! As The Joker War ravages Gotham, a new vigilante group has formed to protect their turf, and Red Hood finds himself caught in the crossfire! This thrilling tale collects Red Hood: Outlaw #51 and #52 and is essential reading to get you ready for all hell to come to the Hill in Red Hood: The Hill!
Before exploring the promising qualities that Red Hood: The Hill #0 showcases as a preview for the rest of the upcoming mini-series, it’s important to note that this zero issue is a reprinting of previous material from 2016’s Red Hood and the Outlaws, issues #51 and #52 to be specific. Reviewing it in the context of that original title is nearly impossible now as a standalone story. To keep things straightforward, there’s a lot in this issue from a plot perspective that wouldn’t be something to rush out and pick up if this were the true start to this mini-series. The art, while solid, is hampered by flat, uninspiring coloring that struggles to keep readers engaged with a well-voiced but ultimately dull Jason Todd tale from a bygone era.
That being said, I often found myself swept up in Martinbrough’s voice for Jason, as well as the commitment to world-building within the city of Gotham, which has been neglected in recent years. The Hill is a potentially more hopeful yet still quintessentially Gotham side of the city that opens the door to showcasing Jason as a more three-dimensional character, something he’s lost in recent memory as his character has become trapped in a constant cycle of edge and regression.
The use of a more grounded cast of side characters for Jason is not only humanizing but also adds a certain level of stakes to the story unfolding in this special, something that will certainly carry over into the main series. Each character has a distinct voice, characterized by precise dialogue writing and a panel flow that’s always engaging and never caught up in decompressed showboating unless absolutely necessary to the story.
However, the pleasantries end there, as the way in which Martinbrough weaves the short, punchy narrative seen in this zero issue is incredibly boring. While his dialogue proves to be filled with strong characterization, it lacks a realistic cadence or rhythm that often ripped me straight out of the reading experience. As for the story, while the Harlowes and the Hill are surface-level interesting, there’s a disconnect between the focus of this story being about Jason or the Hill, as so much of why Jason cares about it is all tell and no show. It fails to strike a balance that sadly leaves me indifferent to a character like Dana, who for the most part I love on a conceptual basis.
n the worst way possible, this is a comic that fails to absorb the reader, as it almost always reminds them that it is a ‘comic book’ in the most vanilla of senses, with dialogue that lacks authenticity, mediocre art, and not enough usage of the medium’s strongest tools to create a genuinely engaging story.
However, the point of this release is not for it to be the defining start to Red Hood: The Hill but instead a convenient taste of what Martinbrough had brought to the character four years ago with this tale to begin with. Will it be necessary to read if you want to jump straight into the real story starting with Red Hood: The Hill #1? No, but there is quite a bit of merit to the kind of Jason Todd and focus on world-building the team had begun penning back in 2020 that they now have the chance to fully explore.
Overall, Red Hood: The Hill #0 lacks a sense of excitement or thematic weight in the current comic book climate, not offering much interms of artistic relevancy but what it does do is establish the potential greatness of what's to come from Shawn Martinbrough and company going into the rest of the upcoming mini-series.
Red Hood: The Hill #0 – Welcome to the Neighborhood
- Writing - 6/106/10
- Storyline - 6/106/10
- Art - 5/105/10
- Color - 5/105/10
- Cover Art - 6.5/106.5/10
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