Red Hood: Outlaw #32
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist: Stephen Segovia
Inks: Rex Lokus
Letters: Cully Hamner
Covers: Shane Davis; Michelle Delecki & J. Nanjan
Editor: Marie Javins; Rob Levin
Couple things. Usually, I start these off by talking about the storyline, character arcs and then the artwork but this issue we have to address the elephant in the room and go from there.
Y’all Suzie Su and her sisters are not white. Miguel Jose Barragan? Also not white.
Jason Todd is not built like Dick Grayson, Tim Drake or Damian Wayne. It is a literal plot point of his story, and specifically Bruce’s reaction to his resurrection, that Jason is almost as tall as – if not taller than – Bruce due to the Lazarus Pit correcting the malnutrition Jason suffered as a child.
What in the seven hells is going on with this artwork? It’s like the artist never once read this book, or frankly anything to do with Jason Todd and just went, ‘Oh. A former Robin? Okay, all those guys are slender and wiry to contrast with Batman. We’ll go with that.’ Beyond messing up one of the more iconic looking characters in DC Comics, the utter fail w/r/t Suzie Su, her sisters and Miguel are another sign that half the artist at DC don’t get how race or ethnicity work. With the complete hot mess that’s been made of Damian in recent months, this is just lazy af and insulting besides. I expect better, both from DC Comics overall and its artist, and this is a massive let down.
Okay, on with the show.
There is something deliciously ironic about a reporter calling Jason Todd the ‘most protected’ of Bruce Wayne’s children. As we see with Jason’s return to Gotham to become the Prince that everyone but he wants himself to be, being Bruce Wayne’s son has brought Jason nothing but trouble and trauma. However, in this instance, it has its advantages. Afterall, why would the Batman be harassing the son of Gotham’s most prominent citizen? That duality, and the way Bruce chooses to always place being Batman over being a father, comes in handy for Jason – and bites Bruce in the arse.
This issue is setting up the board, putting all the various pieces into place for what is coming next, and in that regard it’s great work, as we see Jason pulling together a crew from new friends and old enemies. I love, love, love the way Lobdell contrasts and compares Jason and Bruce as Jason continues to gather together a bunch of wayward souls, again and again. The very people that Bruce would sooner throw in Blackgate or Arkham with nary a thought of them afterwards, Jason offers a hand to and a way to go legit. It’s very telling of why there are forces arrayed that think that Jason is the true Prince of Gotham that Bruce never was: unlike Bruce he doesn’t look down on Gotham from above, he sees the situation on the ground and tries to bring it, and its people, up. The question is, will that be used against both of them going forward?
As for everything else, beyond passing references to Roy, Kori, Artemis and Bizarro, we don’t look back enough into what has come before. At this point we still have no idea what the hell happened to Biz and Artemis or where they are. We still haven’t seen any interaction between Kori and Jason that acknowledges their shared grief at the loss of one of their best friends. We also still don’t know what Solitary’s real plan for Jason was, though we do get hints that reality as we – and the characters – know it isn’t quite what we or they think it is.
Overall this issue does what it needs to do but doesn’t live up to the groundwork that’s come before.
Three Panic Rooms out of Five