Red Hood: Outlaw #40 – Scott Lobdell, Writer; David Messina, Artist; Rex Lokus, Colorist
Ray – 5/10
Ray: Jason’s new status quo as teacher to Lex Luthor’s gang of underage villains-in-training is an amusing concept, but it rarely lives up to its potential due to the lack of compelling characters in the students and Red Hood: Outlaw #40 is no exception. They bicker, they do occasional disturbing body-horror things, but they never really feel like anything but future cannon fodder.
I do think this run is bringing out the better sides of Jason’s character, as he actually has something to fight for besides himself and doesn’t have time to dwell on his own bitterness, but the title just isn’t where it could be. When it picks up, Jason is busy trying to instill some basic sense of self-preservation in the students, but it’s not taking no matter how many dark references to crowbars he makes. The most interesting member of the new crew is probably Cloud Nine, whose loopy nature seems to be hiding a darker side, but the weakest is undoubtedly the one-joke character Babe in Arms.
Red Hood: Outlaw always falls back on obscure Lobdell characters to fill its ranks, so this issue’s main plot involves the characters being teleported into the lab of Dr. Veritas, who staffs her facility with clones. This gives the kids an opportunity to split up into groups and explore. Babe in Arms chats with her zombie, Devour muses darkly about taking over the world, and Red Hood has to wrangle Cloud Nine.
A potential relationship between Doomed and nonbinary mad scientist DNA would be a breath of fresh air, if it wasn’t for the fact that Doomed rarely seems to display full human intelligence. The return of the old Outlaws, teased for the last few issues, ends Red Hood: Outlaw #40 – but an apparent quick betrayal of Red Hood by Bizarro throws things by a loop. It feels like the two status quos are at war at the moment, and I was definitely a bigger fan of the Bizarro/Artemis one when it was ongoing.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.