The third “outlaw” joins the cast in this issue and I think you can guess who it is from the cover (especially if you read solicits).
Something is brewing when it comes to Superman in the DC universe and Red Hood and the Outlaws looks to be a major player in that regard. Red Hood and the Outlaws #3: is it good?
Red Hood and the Outlaws #3 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The DC summary reads:
“Dark Trinity” part three! Red Hood and Artemis set aside their differences when they discover the powerful weapon that Black Mask has been after: a fully-formed clone of Superman! But what should they do with it? They can’t possibly let something this powerful fall into the hands of the nefarious Black Mask, and perhaps if they play their cards right, he could become a powerful ally…but is the risk worth the reward?
Why does this book matter?
Scott Lobdell has written a good character piece with this story, slowly building the team that will soon be the Outlaws. With the help of Dexter Soy and his vivid double page layouts the book has delivered on action too.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Lobdell is continuing to build relationships at a fine pace – one that’s not so fast it’s unbelievable – and that includes his use of the character from the Superman series here; Lobdell mines Red Hood’s troubled childhood quite well, but also weaves in Talia Al Ghul’s reawakening of the Superman enemy as well. It’s a clever bit of writing that shows us why Jason Todd can connect with such a scary character. It’s sure to pay dividends later when it’s only Todd who can control the bugger.
Artemis also appears in this issue, though she’s more of a side story that’s ready to blow up. It’s clear there’s some mutual respect floating about and it’ll be interesting to see this team finally open up its wings. They haven’t yet due to the eyes of Black Mask on them which doesn’t allow them to show their true colors.
Facing his failure.
Soy continues to do great work too. The opening full page splash of Jason Todd’s first night as Robin is moody and moving; you can see anger and frustration, but also the character’s sense of continued determination even after we see he hasn’t performed so well. I continue to enjoy what Soy’s doing with double page layouts too, which allow him to tell the story in an interesting way. In one for example, we see a large room where Black Mask is holding his prisoner; we’re then given a full page of Red Hood and Black Mask as they discuss what they see, and then a sequence of panels that push in closer and closer to the characters. It’s extremely cinematic and makes the book feel unique. On the very next page we get another double page layout, this time with images on the left juxtaposed on the right with the past and present. It does a great deal to show us how Red Hood is sympathetic for the newest Outlaw.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Though there is a helpful scene that seems to suggest Black Mask is a bit wary, it’s still hard to believe he trusts Red Hood so much. Lobdell uses it again in this issue to get Red Hood out of hot water, but if you caught a new member of your crew chatting with the enemy I think you’d be a bit more cautious! It makes things worse when Red Hood is showing our Superman character with so much compassion right in front of Black Mask. It’s a plot hole type of blip that’s forgivable, but it takes you out of the narrative.
Is It Good?
If you’re looking for team building Red Hood and the Outlaws is turning out to be a master class in the subject. The story is slowly building towards team cohesion which increases anticipation and – if Lobdell can pull it off – one hell of a payoff.