Red Hood and The Outlaws #10
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist: Dexter Soy
Colors: Veronica Gandini
Letters: Taylor Esposito
Covers: Nicola Scott & Romulo Farjardo Jr.; Guillem March
Editors: Diego Lopez; Alex Antone; Marie Javins
Publisher: DC Comics
Scott Lobdell’s recent run on Red Hood and the Outlaws has been pretty phenomenal. However, it’s also been nerve wracking as I wait for the other shoe to drop. His previous run had its ups and downs, randomly making Jason dumb muscle, Roy an idiot savant and Kori…we’re not even going to get into Kori. So, as I’ve been reading this current run I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how much respect Lobdell has been showing the characters. Jason is very much Bruce’s son: crazy prepared, highly intelligent and extremely terrifying in a fight; Artemis has been more than just Diana’s lesser counterpart and Bizarro has been wonderfully sweet and kind while surprisingly smart and witty, making him more than just a broken clone of Clark. I say all of this to say that while this issue is good, the other shoe drops here – and in a way that is completely avoidable. That shoe? Blaming Jason Todd for his own death.
One of the most frustrating things about the New 52 was how it desperately tried to absolve Bruce and Dick of any responsibility for their part in Jason dying. Yes, Jason was set-up by the Joker and yes, Sheila Heywood viewed her own son as collateral but the fact remains: if Bruce and Dick hadn’t also been using Jason to hurt each other and had viewed him more as a son and brother, respectively, he wouldn’t have felt like he had to find his birth mother in the first place. To blame a character, who was a child at the time, for wanting to feel like they were a part of a family is cheap, at best. To see this particular thread picked up again, after so much of the trash of New 52 was thrown out, is disappointing, to put it mildly.
All that being said, it will be interesting to see if going forward, it is only Jason who blames himself for what happened to him, or if this sentiment is shared by the entire BatFam. I feel Lobdell has the potential, especially based on the previous 9 issues, to really explore the downward spiral PTSD and poor self-esteem can lead someone on and how those two issues can color how they view everything but let’s just say I have….concerns. As for the rest of the issue: Bizarro continues to be the absolute best, Artemis lets her feelings cloud her judgment and, once Jason snaps out of the past, he displays his profound intelligence by putting together in minutes what in the hell is really happening, while beating the tar out everyone in his path, naturally.
As always, Soy and Gandini’s work is off the charts gorgeous. They do a great job of giving us the very distinct look of the Amazons of Bana-Mighdall, reflecting their desert culture and climate in smart, subtle ways. There’s also some fantastic Bizarro and Jason based action sequences and Bizarro’s refugees, despite there being so many of them, continue to be clearly differentiated.
Despite the misstep stated above, this is a solid issue that moves the plot along and sets up our three protagonists, who’ve been separated for the last two issues, to collide again in a spectacular way.
Four Crowbars out of Five.