Restraining Rage And Satisfaction In Red Hood: Outlaw #27

by Josh Davison

[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]

We join Jason Todd staking out a diner where a large man is accosting the waitress. The man also happens to be associated with the Underlife, a massive criminal conspiracy the Red Hood has been investigating in recent weeks. After the inevitable diner brawl transpires, Jason finds Bruce Wayne in the parking lot waiting for him. Arsenal has died at Sanctuary, and the Red Hood must find a way to cope with this.

Red Hood: Outlaw #27 cover by Pete Woods
Red Hood: Outlaw #27 cover by Pete Woods

I was honestly looking forward to the seemingly inevitable rampage that would come from the Red Hood learning that the Justice League placed Arsenal in a mental hospital that has now gotten him killed. Red Hood: Outlaw #27 seemed like it would be the issue that have Jason beginning that rampage.

Unfortunately, Red Hood handled this with more grace and restraint than seems humanly possible—he at least restrains himself better than Green Arrow did.

It’s honestly disappointing and comes off like story bending itself to take the shape of writers’ plans. Red Hood should go on a rampage after losing his best friend; it’s who he is. This whole Red Hood: Outlaw restructuring of the title is, in-part, built around Jason not being able to restrain his anger.

It reads like Tom King doesn’t want Red Hood to be a big part of Heroes in Crisis, and Scott Lobdell doesn’t want to tell a Red Hood-out-for-revenge story. I’m not saying that this is necessarily the authorial intent—it’s not good to assume such things as a rule of thumb—but this is what the story reads like.

The line Jason says to Bruce, “That’s a lot of people who will be out looking for revenge. No one needs me in the mix,” really sealed the deal on the book feeling inorganic.

Red Hood: Outlaw #27 art by Pete Woods
Red Hood: Outlaw #27 art by Pete Woods

Moving onto the artwork, Pete Woods is a solid fit for Red Hood, and his style has improved somewhat since his recent stint on Justice League (which was by no means bad). The backgrounds can come off as a bit stark at times, but it doesn’t kill the panels by any means. The color work is bright and contrasted heavily. It looks good most of the time, but some pages are a little oversaturated.

Red Hood: Outlaw #27 is an underwhelming issue. Jason Todd has been set up as something of a DC Punisher, but his reaction to the death of Arsenal does nothing to reflect the immense rage for which Jason is known. Unfortunately, I find myself unable to recommend this one.

Red Hood: Outlaw #27 comes to us from writer Scott Lobdell, artist Pete Woods, letter ALW’s Troy Peteri, cover artist Woods, and variant cover artist Yasmine Putri.

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