Just like Red Hood and the Outlaws: Rebirth #1, Red Hood and the Outlaws #1 proves to be an entirely Red Hood-focused story. This actually turns out to work quite well and, not for the first time, I’m wondering if the character actually needs odd sidekicks to make his own series work.
Setting up Red Hood’s infiltration of Black Mask‘s rising criminal empire, including an introduction Red Hood-style, Jason will run into and old friend and make a new one before the end of the first issue. Jason is swimming in dangerous waters attempting to take down Black Mask from within, especially not knowing what exactly the would-be kingpin of Gotham has in store for the city.
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Red Hood and the Outlaws: Rebirth #1 doesn’t introduce us to the new Outlaws, but the issue does catch-up readers on the history of Jason Todd from street urchin to Robin the Boy Wonder to the Red Hood. It also introduces a plot to keep Jason a part of the extended Bat-Family but still separate from its core members. It’s a little odd that both Red Hood and Nightwing are going undercover with underground criminal organizations, but the set-up (at least for me) works far better here than with Dick Grayson.
We’ll have to wait for Red Hood and the Outlaws #1 for the introductions of both Bizarro and Artemis, and the how and why they team-up with the vigilante. While certainly doing its job to reintroduce Jason to the DCU the comic doesn’t do much to explain the set-up of the new series with two of its key figures (and their relationship to Jason) unexplored.
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After leaving this title during Kara‘s run as a Red Lantern I return to find an unexpected guest-spot by the Red Hood in as compelling use of the character as we’ve seen in the New 52. Despite her initial distrust of Batman’s former partner, Kara agrees to the unlikely team-up to help Jason Todd stop the supply of alien weapon technology on the black market.
Even with the appearance of a Venom-powered Red Hood and a story involving gun-runners, the latest issue has a warmth and fun to it that is has become a growing scarcity in DC titles since the launch of the New 52. I actually enjoyed writer Tony Bedard’s take on the Red Hood so much I was hoping the character may stick around for another issue, but it appears Kara is going to have her hands full attempt to live as normal a life as possible.
For a character who had become lost in grief and anger, and had been allowed to bottom out and wallow and whine herself into a shell of her former self it’s nice to see Supergirl have a little fun for a change. Worth a look.
With the League of Assassins, the All Caste, and Jason Todd‘s temporary amnesia all behind them the series offers the Outlaws a temporary reprieve of the most exclusive island resort in the world and a chance to bring back Isabel and tie-up the loose plotline of her relationship with the Red Hood.
Although the vacation starts well enough, despite Starfire‘s complaining about the hologram hiding her true form to the other guests and Isabel’s obvious distance, things take a turn when the super-villain in charge of the island gets wind of the Outlaws appearance and, assuming the worst, decides to preemptively strike.
Far less convoluted than several issues of the series, the straightforward storytelling works well and provides plenty of action while introducing a new enemy in Midas and the Army of the Golden Hand. Stephen Segovia steps in to do an okay job with the art this month although his Starfire is a little off and some of the wideshots are less detailed than I’d like (a common complaint about much of the New 52). Worth a look.