Red Hood: Outlaw #50 – Scott Lobdell, Writer; Paolo Pantalena, Artist; Arif Prianto, Colorist
Ray – 6/10
Ray: One of the most bizarre little subplots of DC since the New 52 is that Scott Lobdell has written Jason Todd almost constantly since 2011, with some brief breaks for James Tynion IV and Will Pfeifer to step in. So this #50 issue is the end of a fairly epic run, if not a particularly celebrated one. It makes sense given this that we’ve got a double-sized issue that brings back just about every major player. Some are already off the table—Bizarro’s story ended last month as he took the throne of Hell, although he appears in flashbacks here. Roy Harper and Starfire are only mentioned, but other players from Lobdell’s run like the Outlaw kids, Shay Veritas and Suzie Su show up to say goodbye. The main focus is on Jason and Artemis’ relationship, and the one major dangling plot thread from this run—Joker’s Daughter, the teenage psychopath obsessed with the Joker. Remember her? She was Punchline before it was cool.
The strange thing about Lobdell’s run is that it’s always been over-the-top ’90s action combined with a few surprisingly good moments of emotion. Jason and Artemis, a couple I never quite bought into, have developed a strong bond here and their goodbye scene is surprisingly affecting. Joker’s Daughter may be a mess of a character, but Jason’s determination to save her rings true—even if her eventual reformation is rushed and hinges on a bit character whose presence never quite felt right in this series. Ma Gunn veered wildly back and forth between benevolent and evil, but she was an overall positive influence in Jason’s development. This issue seems to be closing the door on Jason’s outlaw days and sending him back to Gotham semi-reformed for a few issues, partially due to his actions in Joker War. It’s one of the better recent issues and does a decent job of tying up this long and complicated run.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.