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Review Brew: Red Hood and The Outlaws #25

Red Hood and The Outlaws #25
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist: Dexter Soy; Trevor Hairsine & Ryan Winn; Phil Hester & Ande Parks
Colors: Veronica Gandini; Rain Beredo; Madpencil Studio
Letters: Taylor Esposito
Covers: Trevor Hairsine & Antonio Fabela; Yasmine Putri
Editor: Marie Javins; Rob Levin
Publisher: DC Comics

Remember when I said that all hell was going to break loose, and damn soon, in Red Hood? Yeah. It’s officially on fam. However, before we can get into that we need to talk about Bruce Wayne.  Listen, those of you who know me know I love me some Batman but Bruce Wayne? Bruce Wayne is a bunch of failcakes, at least when it comes to his children, particularly Jason and Damian. I honestly don’t know if it’s due to the writers or if it’s a mandate at DC Comics that Bruce’s children with Talia get the worst of Bruce’s behavior. Whatever it is, I can count on one hand the interactions outside of Super Sons, where Bruce has treated either Jason or Damian as if they’re more than just screw ups or dangerous. What’s worse? I honestly expected better from him.

After the events of the previous issue, Bruce shows up to Bruce all over a shell shocked Jason, beating the shite out of him, because Jason had the audacity to kill Oswald Cobblepot on live television. It’s brutal and awful and gross, especially in light of his reaction to Kate murdering a man in cold blood which was, as Slewo put it, ‘To throw a hissy fit and then almost immediately try to mend fences with her.’ There is no talking, there is no trying to find out Jason’s, very valid, reasons, which he honestly doesn’t need since it’s the friggin’ Penguin. No, it’s just brutality and once again withdrawing his love and support the minute Jason isn’t another reflection of Bruce and is instead himself. Frankly, Bruce’s relationship with Jason is abusive af, and that’s not counting that time Bruce almost killed him to protect the Joker and then threw him into Arkham with the man who murdered him.

Thankfully this time around Jason’s not alone, and so, as he loses some of his family, others – new and old – show up to save him from himself, and his so called father, in what can only be described as the most badass way possible. I will not spoil it for you because it legit made me yell, ‘Yes!’ at the top of my lungs but let’s just say…folks know how to make an entrance.

On top of all that we get confirmation about something that’s been hinted at for quite some time and a curveball that, at first, seems to come out of nowhere. However, having gone back and re-read the first three volumes of this book recently, I realize that Lobdell has masterfully left hints from the beginning about what was coming and I can honestly say I’m genuinely awed that I didn’t catch it the first time.

As for the artwork this issue, we not only get Red Hood mainstays Dexter Soy and Veronica Gandini but Trevor Hairsine, Ryan Winn, Phil Hester and Ande Parks guest and it’s phenomenal. As you all know, I hate when outside artists work on my favorite books, but here? It works. It works so well. Each artist puts a unique stamp on what they’re given, whether it’s the flashbacks to a more innocent time when Jason was Robin, an alternate universe that only a few can see or the present, each one works in the context of the story that’s being told, elevating it and enhancing the drama that’s unfolding.

Overall this is one of the best issues of Red Hood and The Outlaws of all time and I am itching to get my hands on the next one.

Five smoke bombs out of Five.

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