Red Hood: Outlaw #37 – Scott Lobdell, Writer; Kenneth Rocafort, Artist; Steve Firchow, Colorist
Ray – 4/10
Ray: Scott Lobdell seems to reboot Red Hood at least once a year, spinning Jason off into a new status quo, and with Year of the Villain going around it’s that time again in Red Hood: Outlaw #37. The concept here is promising – Jason gets recruited by Luthor to train a group of young metahumans – but a concept like that is only as strong as its new characters and this issue’s group of teen villains reminds me of the OCs he created for Teen Titans back in 2011 only with much more body horror.
The issue does a good job of explaining why Jason would take this job – he knows that Luthor would just pick a crueler teacher if he didn’t – and I wasn’t sorry to see charming mad scientist Dr. Veritas again. She was one of Lobdell’s more promising creations and she adds a touch of sanity to the proceedings. The brief appearance of Artemis and Bizarro doesn’t really push their story forward but reminds us that they haven’t been forgotten after the annual.
The big problem with the issue is that the four new characters are all universally unpleasant.
There’s Cloud 9, a spacey teenage girl who can turn intangible and is the most likable; Devour, a super-smart punk whose mouth holds a dimensional portal of horrors; DNA, a shapeshifting mystery (can we stop casting inhuman horrors as the nonbinary representation, please?); and Babe in Arms, a super-smart toddler who is toted around by a homicidal zombie who she sees as her mother.
These are like random 90s characters from a bizarre new shared universe that launched with twenty holofoil covers and then folded a year later.
Lobdell likes to dig deep into his runs to find characters, but I can safely say I never expected to see the lead character from Doomed again until the end of this issue. Lobdell’s certainly ambitious, but unfortunately the ambition fails to come together into a compelling read.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.