Red Hood and the Outlaws Rebirth #1 (DC Comics)
This may sound crazy coming from a major Batman fan like myself, but I really enjoy Red Hood. Ever since his return in 2004, I’ve really liked seeing Jason Todd show up to torment and annoy Batman as a villain. It added a fun layer to the Batman family that sadly went away as the character became more popular. However, with DC Rebirth Jason Todd is back to his evil ways, and ready to catch up on some lost time.
While Red Hood & the Outlaws’ “DC Rebirth” was teased as Red Hood going back to crime, in actuality he’s going deep undercover to find out how the Gotham Mayor is connected to organized crime. That’s fine, and this issue does a good job of giving new readers a jumping on point with the character, but there is a part of me that was a little let down by this reveal. Of course, it’s not like Jason Todd doesn’t have a mean streak in him anymore, but the reveal midway through the book where Jason and Batman have their talk over Jason’s recent actions kind of made me wish that Jason Todd had just gone back to full villain again, if only because I like the interplay between villain Red Hood and Batman.
Despite this initial disappointment, long time Red Hood writer Scott Lobdell presents a pretty good ‘restart” for the Red Hood. While I was hoping for a new writer to step in and give us their take on Jason Todd, Lobdell sets the stage nicely, and makes this new spin on Red Hood work well both in the context of Jason Todd’s previous series and for new readers who only know him from the Arkham series of games. It’s also nice to finally have Jason be in the spotlight. It seemed to me that whenever I would read issues of the New 52 Red Hood & the Outlaws or Red Hood & Arsenal the focus would be on everyone except the guy who had top billing. Here Lobdell gives us an interesting look inside Jason Todd’s mind and worldview, and it makes the title even stronger because of it.
Dexter Soy handles the art duties for this Rebirth issue, and while he’s good, his art looks a little looser than I remember it being. It’s not a deal breaker by any means, but the sketch quality to some of his figures gets to be a little distracting. However, he does draw a pretty damn impressive Batman.
While Red Hood and the Outlaws Rebirth doesn’t completely turn Jason Todd back over to the dark side (or introduce his two new teammates), it’s a solid foundation for what will hopefully be a fun series. Scott Lobdell has had two shots already with me for Red Hood. Here’s hoping the third time is the charm.