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Review Brew: Red Hood And The Outlaws Annual #2

Jay and Roy, on the road again…

Red Hood and The Outlaws Annual #2
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist: Clayton Henry; Neil Goose
Inks: Wade Von Grawbadger
Colors: Marcelo Maiolo
Letters: Taylor Esposito
Covers: Kenneth Rocafort
Editor: Marie Javins; Rob Levin
Publisher: DC Comics

Something someone pointed out to me, after the most recent issue of RHATO, is that it would be very telling how the other bat-kids reacted to the events of that issue. Specifically Dick ‘Family Always’ Grayson. In the previous annual Dick commended Jason on his relationship with Bizarro and how Jason was a far better brother to Biz than Dick had ever been to Jason. It’s something that needed to be said and more importantly, acknowledged, in canon: Dick Grayson wasn’t a good brother. The questions are, will Bruce’s horrendous behavior in the previous issue and overall parenting be given the same treatment and will we ever see, for once, the other bat-kids actually come to Jason’s defense?

The reason all of this is so present in my mind is due to the events of the issue. With Jason and Roy reunited once more we get a stark and extremely sad contrast of families. While Jason’s family of choice: Roy, Kory, Biz, Artemis and Jack always, sometimes brutally, called him on his shite when he was in the wrong, they have also always had his back. Their affection and love isn’t conditional on Jason towing the line and being who they want him to be. They love Jason as he is and instead of turning on him the minute he screws up they help him, not only to heal, but make better choices.

With the Bat-fam, it’s become increasingly clear that only a few are allowed to be wrong and that Jason will never truly be anything but the ‘failure Robin’ in the eyes of Bruce and the others. This is made obvious at Jason incredulity when the case he and Roy are working on takes them to the family of an old foe. Though the family members are on the outs, when push comes to shove they protect each other at all costs and the love they share is obvious. That Jason (and to a lesser extent Roy) is so genuinely taken aback by that is extremely telling and what is says isn’t good.  

Clayton Henry and Neil Goose’s artwork this issue isn’t bad, it’s just not quite the quality that I’m used to with this book. With Dexter Soy leaving (I. Am. Unhappy.) and the new, horrible outfit that is debuting in September – seriously, as we said in a recent podcast he looks like Shredder mixed with Scorpion –  I’m not feeling the new direction the art is taking. We shall see…

With Jason on a new case, Roy having to make some tough decisions about his sobriety and how the Titans are affecting that and Biz and Artemis…somewhere, we’re ramping up to the newest chapter of the Outlaws life.

It’s going to be a wild ride.

4 Shipments out of 5.

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