Review: Red Hood #51
I had given up on Red Hood for a whole host of reasons. With a new creative team and direction, it felt like a good time to explore the series again. Red Hood #51 has Jason Todd returning home to Gotham City. The city is still picking up the pieces after “The Joker War”. Jason finds his old neighborhood has new vigilante protectors. And they’re fighting against those attempting to take advantage of the power vacuum.
Written by Shawn Martinbrough, Red Hood #51 packs a lot into a single issue. That’s to its detriment to an extent as nothing feels like it’s given the depth it’s needed. The comic is broken up into three distinct paths as the narrative jumps around the puzzle pieces.
All the concepts of the comic are generally great, though the end villain feels a bit laughable. The idea of neighbors coming together to protect their area is a solid next step for the Bat line of comics. Jason heading back and trying to figure out his next steps also works. The villains we’re presented feel a little comical. While there’s some things that work, there’s too many moments that come off as jokes that aren’t meant to be jokes.
But, you can see what Martinbrough is going with. Jason Tood, and this Red Hood, is being reshaped to focus on a lower level of villain, a more street level Batman. He’s being shaped into a white Luke Cage, and with that we’ll hopefully get the baggage that can come with that, gentrification being an example.
The art by Tony Akins is pretty solid. Along with Stefano Gaudiano on ink, Paul Mounts‘ colors, and lettering by Troy Peteri we’re presented with a different look at Gotham. It’s an art style that befits the focus and characters of the comic and characters. This isn’t the run down parts of Gotham nor are these the newly built. Red Hood looks like he’ll be straddling the two, an area being worked on that’s been gentrified and continues to be. We see that in the detail of the buildings are neighborhoods presented. The art tells us so much about where Red Hood fits in the Bat-family picture.
The comic isn’t bad but it feels like it attempts to pack too much in. Red Hood #51 has Jason Todd following a new direction and finding a new role for himself. There’s a lot of potential in the comic as to where it can go and the groundwork is laid out here. Unfortunately, none of it is given the time its needed to be really interested. Instead, we get Red Hood in a Luke Cage situation with over the top characters that so far don’t quite feel in place in a Red Hood comic. We’ll see where things go but as a start, this is a mixed one.
Story: Shawn Martinbrough Art: Tony Akins
Ink: Stefano Gaudiano Color: Paul Mounts Letterer: Troy Peteri
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.15 Recommendation: Read
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review