Red Hood: Outlaw #39 – Scott Lobdell, Writer; Kenneth Rocafort, Artist; Steve Firchow, Colorist
Ray – 6/10
Ray: Scott Lobdell’s deep dive into the weirdest parts of the DCU continues with Red Hood: Outlaw #39, pitting Jason and his new gang of teen villains against the terrifying villainy of…Monster Arm.
A mad scientist who has replaced his arm with a massive orange armored arm, he’s now leading an army of monsters including Doomed, and spends much of the first part of the issue monologuing to Jason and his kids about the superiority of monsters. That is, until Jason shoots him in his monster arm and a brawl ensues with the monsters. Kenneth Rocafort is back on art for this arc, which means at least we know we’re going to get some great, creepy-looking monsters. Unfortunately, most of the new young villains remain mostly blank slates. We get a reference to Devour being an alien and see that Cloud Nine is far more powerful than her appearance, but those are just minor beats.
Jason mentoring a group of wild card teens is a great idea, but it’s only as strong as the new characters. Thus far, Jason seems to mostly be trying to wrangle them and occasionally picking up a new stray – like Doomed, who seems to have regressed to just yelling random sounds and jumping on things.
They only appear in the last third of the issue, but the ongoing subplot of Bizarro and Artemis returning to Earth almost saves the issue. This version of Bizarro is fascinating, and while Artemis may be drawn a little waif-like and exaggerated, this era of the title was easily the best. The addition of Ma Gunn and the sentient stuffed toy Pup Pup adds some chaotic energy to the team just as they return in time for Luthor to shine his sigil over the sky. It’s odd that in a series named after Red Hood, he’s no longer the most intriguing part of this title.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.