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Review Brew – Red Hood And The Outlaws #23

Oh Jason, I’m so sorry…

Red Hood and The Outlaws #23
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Pencils: Trevor Hairsine
Inks: Ryan Winn
Colors: Rain Beredo
Letters: Taylor Esposito
Covers:Trevor Hairsine & Antonio Fabela; Guillem March
Editors: Marie Javins; Rob Levin
Publisher: DC Comic

Jason Todd is having a bad day. Like, really, really bad. Finding out that one of the few people you trust has kept something crucial from you is bad enough, but finding out that what they kept from you potentially endangers not just you, but your entire family? That’s a whole other level.

Scott Lobdell has done a brilliant job of slowly but surely building up the mystery surrounding Jason since issue one of Red Hood and The Outlaws. Smartly, Lobdell has taken his time, first laying out the foundation of friendship and trust between Jason, Artemis and Bizarro, then using that foundation to construct something more than a team but a family. No, they don’t always agree and no, they don’t always tell each other everything that they should but when it comes down to it, they are ride or die. Adding in the background players of Faye Gunn, Dick Grayson, Jack Ryder and Lex Luthor served to deepen not only the history of the group, but add layers to the overall feeling of impending doom around this ragtag bunch. In weaving this all together so wonderfully and letting it creep up on both the characters and the readers the twist of this book not only feels earned it’s truly, and deeply, upsetting.

Normally I’m not a fan of outside artist coming in and working on books I love, especially as Dexter Soy and Veronica Gandini clearly love these characters and it shows in how the draw them down to the last detail. That being said Trevor Hairsine and Ryan Winn are guesting and it’s a smart choice. This issue is told from two very different point of views than we’re used to and that’s reflected in the artwork. There are some choices that are odd – what is up with Jason’s ears, fam? – but the overall feel is that of someone who’s watching Jason, whose intentions are unknown, and it’s unsettling, which is exactly how we, as the readers, should feel.

This was a genuinely heartbreaking issue and it only feels like the beginning of something far, far worse.

4 Letters out of 5.

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