Red Hood: Outlaw #26 – Scott Lobdell, Writer; Pete Woods, Artist
Ray – 4/10
Ray: It’s a bold new direction for Red Hood and the Outlaws, and with it comes a name change. Red Hood: Outlaw #26 ditches Jason’s team of fellow anti-heroes and sets him out on a solitary quest of vengeance. The issue doesn’t waste any time explaining where he is, instead starting with him on a bus dealing with a chatty bus driver – who winds up drafted into his mission to rescue a wounded female FBI agent who was ambushed by the gang Jason is chasing. With this new direction, Lobdell has sucked every bit of energy and fun out of the title, and seemingly set Jason back to his 2004 characterization as a grim psychopath. He threatens to assault the bus driver if he doesn’t play his part and stop the bus, and when Jason faces off against an evil biker gang it feels almost cartoonish. At one point he threatens to insert a flare up the gang leader’s butt, and the issue implies very hard that he follows through. This issue throws away every bit of character development Jason went through and portrays him as an angry Punisher ripoff. So, that beating achieve what you wanted, Bruce?
After the initial battle with the biker gang, Jason heads off on his own and leaves the FBI agent (who attempts to arrest him while bleeding out) with the bus driver. He tracks down the crime boss behind her shooting, who’s part of a bigger conspiracy called the Underlife and seemingly works for a master villain. What ensues is yet another bloody fight scene with more ridiculousness. Jason beats villains with a crowbar (seemingly his new signature weapon) and even impales one with a conveniently placed American flag. We’re officially into Mel Gibson/The Simpsons territory here. He then blows up the one-episode villain with a car bomb, putting to rest any idea that he’s killing casually. The one good note in this issue – the always effective Pete Woods does a good job with a script that takes place almost entirely in darkness, although even he can’t save Jason’s new Casey Jones-inspired costume. This is sort of the story of Red Hood’s comic book career all along, isn’t it? As soon as we get close to a status quo that works, something dumb happens and throws it right out the window.
Corrina: I was going to see if this book had improved because I like Pete Woods art and thus, was interested, but then I read Ray’s review and…yep…still out.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.