Jason Todd is on a mission to take out one of the biggest crime lords of Gotham and he’s doing it with two new “outlaws,” based on the cover. Question is, is it good?
Red Hood and the Outlaws #1 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The DC summary reads:
“Dark Trinity” part one! When a turf war puts Black Mask in Red Hood’s crosshairs, Jason discovers that the False Face Society is not what it seems, and that the organization is about to auction off a powerful weapon. As criminals from all over the globe descend on Gotham City, Jason must prove that he belongs amongst the city’s worst in order to gain access to this Dark Summit!
Why does this book matter?
There’s no question writer Scott Lobdell has a great handle on the Jason Todd character. He’s written the character for quite a while and the Rebirth issue proved he understands this character backward and forward. With artist Dexter Soy’s detail this title is bound to feel unique from all the rest. Plus Bizarro teaming up with Red Hood? Come on, that’s cool!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Lobdell brings us back to Todd’s past via flashback in an interesting way that effectively helps characterize him, but also connects to the main story; this makes the story progress nicely and by the end of the issue you’ll be raring for the next issue due to the cliffhanger. It appears Lobdell is going to be connecting Todd’s past to the current story if this and the Rebirth issue are any indication. That at once makes this story feel more important and pertinent, but also very much Jason Todd’s story. With that in mind the issue works great (but there’s a negative buried in there too. Scroll down to read more about that).
Lobdell continues to show how Todd is a bit more reckless and much more of a loner than any of the other Gotham heroes which helps distinguish him from the Bat-pack. It’s clear by his actions in this issue that he’s quite unique from the rest of the crew, which makes the value of the series that much higher. It also serves as a good jumping on point as most #1 issues should do.
The opening page really hits you in the teeth!
Dexter Soy draws a strong issue here and it’s even better in this issue than it was in Red Hood: Rebirth #1. The issue opens with a dramatic full page splash that’s in your face in more ways than one. It sets the mood that this is a fast and loose sort of story, with Todd doing what he wants, playing with fire by joining forces with villains, and generally doing it his own way. Soy has a knack for drawing double page layouts that allow the story to feel bigger, which helps create a larger than life feel even though Todd is a street level hero. In one sequence, when Todd is trying to make a statement to win over Black Mask, Soy draws one breakneck introduction that shows how acrobatic and violent Red Hood can be. So often characters without powers like Red Hood feel average, but Soy makes him feel larger than life.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The title of this comic seems a bit misleading because we, as of yet, haven’t met the “Outlaws” of this book. If you’re going in expecting a team book you will be greatly disappointed as this is very much Jason Todd’s book. One of the reasons the cliffhanger is so successful is because you’ll be dying for a bit more from the character dynamics in this book. Todd really doesn’t interact with anyone but the enemy so much of the issue is captions of his thoughts. They aren’t poorly written or anything, but it’ll be a welcome addition to have more characters on his side.
Is It Good?
This is a well composed comic that offers enlightening character information that directly connects to the main plot. You’ll be emotionally invested and raring for the next issue.