Red Hood: Outlaw #38 – Scott Lobdell, Writer; Kenneth Rocafort, Artist; Steve Firchow, Colorist
Ray – 6/10
Ray: Red Hood Outlaw is easily the most surreal comic in the DC stable, and sometimes that actually works to its advantage as in Red Hood Outlaw #38.
The action is still split between two major narratives this issue, and the better of the two opens this issue – as Artemis and Bizarro, still trapped in an alternate reality, find the criminal matron Ma Gunn shrunk in a bottle. How did she get there? Who knows? Why is the Chibi Superman that only existed in Bizarro’s memory, Pup Pup, suddenly a real character? Who knows?
This plot makes very little sense, but at the same time it has a chaotic energy that’s a lot of fun. The Bizarro/Artemis era was probably the best part of this series’ run, and I wish it had gone on longer, but instead we’re back to Jason mentoring a quartet of bizarre kid supervillains in the making. Much like last issue, they’re mostly creepy ciphers – and this issue seemingly adds a fifth to their mix.
That fifth member would be Reiser, aka Doomed – the college student infected with Doomsday DNA from the VERY short-lived DC You series Doomed, which was basically a DCU pastiche of the Hulk with more body horror long before Damage was a thing. He’s such an obscure character that much of the issue has to be devoted to explaining his origin via flashbacks from Doctor Veritas, who seems to be trying to keep Jason on the straight and narrow with limited success.
The new kids are mostly in the background this issue, but the first of them gets a flashback, which means we might learn about them one at a time. Our boy with the monster jaw was a North Korean prisoner until his horrific power emerged and he became a global threat. This idea of training a team of supervillains has promise, but the see-sawing of Jason’s characterization and the constant reboots continues to be a problem for this series.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.