Review: Red Hood and the Outlaws #1

REDHOTO-Cv1-ds-4f551Jason Todd, aka Red Hood, is back in Gotham City and taking his brand of vigilante justice to the streets. In Red Hood and the Outlaws he’s gone undercover in Black Mask’s organization to get close to the crime boss to be able to take him down from within, either dead or alive. As the title suggests, Jason won’t be doing this alone and so sets up the first issue of this Rebirth title.

The story starts with a flashback to Jason’s past. As expected, this is not a happy memory , but it serves to remind old readers and introduce new ones to the character and why exactly he does what he does.  It also serves to give us and Jason a look into the lengths that Black Mask will go to in order to see that he is the only crime boss running Gotham.  Jason tries to take a page from his old mentor’s playbook, and watches and waits to make his move.  It’s a very good few panels that show us that he may be all rough and tough on the outside, but Jason still relies on what he learned from Batman, though he would never admit it.

So Red Hood jumps into action, guns blasting and makes his presence known to Black Mask, inquiring about a job offer he received from one of Mask’s lackeys (scene in Red Hood and the Outlaws: Rebirth #1).  Mask wasn’t surprised at all at Red Hood’s arrival, having been expecting him, and goes on to explain his intentions for Gotham.  Black Mask believes the city has been mistreated, and all he wants to do is correct it and turn it into his idea of a well run machine.  Red Hood is offered a position as second in command, and sees his chance to learn more.  So he accepts and is sent out on his first mission for Mask, which ends up putting him head to head with an obstacle he didn’t see coming.

Scott Lobdell brings us a great jumping off point for this series, and has me really excited for it.  I really enjoyed how we hit the ground running with the story, but at the same time we are given enough backstory for readers to get a good understanding of Red Hood.  As mentioned, he kicks ass first and asks questions later but we also catch glimpses of sentiment from Jason that shows that there is a lot more happening under that red hood. Dexter Soy brings great art to this book that just comes to life with Veronica Gandini providing the colours. You definitely get the darker feel from the pages, like you would expect from a bat family member in Gotham, but the action scenes are bright and exciting and definitely get you right into the moment.

I really enjoyed this first issue and I am very excited for the next one. I read the New 52 run of Red Hood and the Outlaws for a time, and enjoyed the teaming of Hood with Arsenal and Starfire, but quickly lost interest with the tone of the book being a little too light for the character, at least in my opinion. This is the Red Hood I was hoping to see; tough and angry, doing what he feels needs to be done, but at the same time drawing on his past to help him move forward, even though that past is quite painful. I also liked the fact that they didn’t just throw the team together, but we’re going to see the members coming together as Jason’s time with Black Mask goes on. Better to build on the story and flesh out the players, instead of just in your face “here you go, now like them”. This was a great start to this book and I have a very good feeling this high will carry on into the next issue.

Story: Scott Lobdell  Art: Dexter Soy Colours: Veronica Gandini
Story: 8 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review