Publisher: DC Comics
Released: May 2nd 2017
Issues: Red Hood & the Outlaws (Rebirth) 1-6
I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from Red Hood and the Outlaws – but I’ll be honest in saying that I wasn’t expecting anything spectacular (I’m more of a Nightwing fan, personally). Man was I surprised! Red Hood and the Outlaws is probably one of my new favorites from the Rebirth of DC (it tops up there with the Green Lanterns/Hal Jordan for me). On top of enjoying the plot I also found myself liking the artwork – it was similar to the style used in Batman comics, but with some slight changes (enough to make the series distinct).
So I’ll confess that I really wasn’t expecting to like Red Hood – nothing against the character, I just don’t let my expectations get too high about spinoffs. This is one of those happy occasions where the spinoff works though, as Red Hood is a fully fleshed out character with his own backstory (jam-packed with trauma) and villains. The team-up was unanticipated (maybe it’s just me, but I had assumed the Dark Trinity name implied the villain of the series – though upon reading it I agree it works this way as well).
For those of you unfamiliar with Red Hood – it’s Jason Todd (Robin) all grown up (and alive again). They don’t shy away from his harrowing past – in fact they allow that past to be the core of the character. He’s a man full of pain and confusion and uncertainty, which on many levels makes him more relatable and likable. It’s a fine balance, but I feel that they nailed it here.
Red Hood gets the ultimate prize for odd team ups. Joining him in crime fighting (and sassing) is Artemis and Bizarro. Artemis is a fallen Amazon (a fact that is hinted at during volume one, but will likely become a more relevant point in volume two) and she is about as sassy as you’d expect her to be, if not a bit more. Bizarro is a creation of Lex Luthor’s – a poor clone of Superman that didn’t turn out too well. Still, he’s got a sweet heart and he’s willing to try and help. Together they made a very odd and confusing team.
I wasn’t expecting myself to say this, but I’m really curious about Red Hood and where he’s going to go next. I find his situation intriguing – he learned so much from Batman (and thus doesn’t want to toss away all the lessons and morals Batman instilled in him) but he’s too different from him to continue trying to emulate him. In some ways it’s a more extreme version of what many of us go through as kids (trying to mimic our parents actions until we figure out more of who we are and what we want). I feel like Jason is still a bit lost and look forward to seeing him find himself.
While the ending implies that Red Hood’s shiny new villain is no longer a threat – I highly doubt that’ll remain that way (it is a spinoff of Batman after all); I anticipate seeing him again. For now it looks like volume two will be more focused on Artemis and her quest – or at least that’s how it has been set up to look like. I can’t wait to see what happens next.