REVIEW: Red Hood: The Lost Days #3

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When offered a chance to bring down his mentor, Talia al Ghul sends Jason Todd around the world to train with some of the best killers in the world. But even filled with hatred, rage, and bent on revenge, will Jason Todd turn a blind eye, or do the right thing when encounter those doing something really wrong?

RED HOOD: THE LOST DAYS #3
Writer: Judd Winick
Artist: Jeremy Haun
Colors: Brian Reber
Letters: Pat Brousseau
Editor: Michael Marts
Cover: Billy Tucci
Publisher: DC Comics

Previously in Red Hood: The Lost Days: You know the story – Jason Todd was brutally beaten by the Joker and only an 800 number could save his life. When story telling slowed, and a Superboy Prime Punch shook the universe, Jason Todd returned from the dead. Talia and Ra’s al Ghul think Todd’s return could the thing to bring Batman down, and begin to manipulate the former hero.

DO THE RIGHT THING

The saying you can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy is perfectly illustrated in this issue. While training to become the ultimate fighter, who can kill with the right strike, Jason Todd discovers his teacher is also trafficking in children to be used for sex. Todd’s revenge against the scum of the Earth is swift and brutal, but instead of merely crippling his foe and turning him over to the authorities, he kills everyone involved, using their transgressions as a reason to take them out.

Judd Winick takes the idea of vigilantism and gives it a tweak in this story. While most of the heroes in the DCU are willing to do whatever it takes to bring a foe to justice, few are willing to kill to do it. And those that do kill see it as the only option, instead of weighing both sides. While Winick doesn’t take the time to explain all of Todd’s motives and reasoning in the issue, he does indicate that Todd did consider the pros and cons of his choice.

For those that have seen Under the Red Hood movie, or read the Red Hood story that played out in the comic books, Todd makes certain concessions when it comes to killing some and keeping others alive, and this issue reinforces those actions.

THE ART OF WAR

Unlike the Red Robin issue I reviewed previously, Jeremy Haun doesn’t tone down the graphic depiction of violence at all in this issue. If you ever wanted to see a man’s knee exploding from a targeted kick, or see the blood fly when someone takes a hit, then be prepared for some gruesome panels. It’s not out of control or over the top, but it is realistic in the same way the fight scenes from Fight Club amped up the impact of a blow.

The character work is really great, which puts me at odds, because on the one hand Haun’s stuff reminds me a lot of Gotham Central, but on the other hand, I can’t get over the fact that he did the art on the Chuck series for Wildstorm, which I despised. Regardless, I like what he is doing here.

BOTTOM LINE: A GOOD READ

As much as I didn’t want to like this series, Winick is doing it right by genuinely filling in the gaps that flesh out the character, instead of slapping something together and calling it good. I was surprised how much I liked this issue, even if a lot of it seemed rather paperback spy adventure story in places. Jason Todd as a character is getting some great development, and the art is solid, earning Red Hood: The Lost Days 4 out of 5 Stars.

Rating: ★★★★☆