Red Hood and the Outlaws #25 – Scott Lobdell, Writer; Dexter Soy, Artist; Trevor Hairsine, Phil Hester, Pencillers; Ryan Winn, Ande Parks, Inkers; Veronica Gandini, Rain Beredo, Madpencil, Colorists
Ray – 7/10
Ray: There is a lot going on in this oversized anniversary issue. It’s bizarre to think that with a few short breaks, Scott Lobdell has been writing some form of Red Hood and the Outlaws for almost seven years now. This current iteration with Artemis and Bizarro has been among the best, which is why it’s disappointing that this issue tears down everything – his partnership, his team, and his relationship with Batman. That last one is kind of inevitable, given that Jason shot Penguin in the head last issue after finding out that he was responsible for his father’s murder. Still, Batman’s over-the-top, violent, rageful reaction feels like a massive step back for the characters given the opening segment set when Jason is a young Robin. He rescues Batman from a car crash and tells him that he won’t be rid of him that easily, and Batman tells him that the only way he’ll leave is if he chooses to. The callback to that later in the issue doesn’t feel like irony – it feels like Batman being a hypocrite, especially given how he claims that this betrayal is worse than Kate shooting Clayface (an ally and friend).
Of course, in the middle of this nasty family feud, it’s easy to forget that all of Gotham is endangered by the collapse of Bizarro’s massive fortress. The holo-Bizarro created to monitor the fortress has gone rogue and will allow it to crash rather than be decommissioned, and the real Bizarro has lost his intelligence and can’t stop it. The issue has some nice moments with Jason and both of his allies before they’re forced to head into a portal to parts unknown to save Gotham. I’ll miss Bizarro, but I never quite bought the relationship between Jason and Artemis. Her last line to him will make a lot of people very happy. The return of Roy Harper at the end of the issue seems to be bringing the title back to its original dynamic, but I can’t say I’m too excited about that – Roy seemed to bring out the worst in Jason. The epilogue, featuring Ma Gunn, drops some surprisingly massive reveals about Jason’s family that will undoubtedly play out in the next arc. Lobdell’s Jason continues to be his strongest suit writing-wise, but I definitely can’t say the same about his destructive, rage-driven Batman.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.