They say you can’t go home again, but it looks like Jason Todd is going to try anyway! Gotham’s darkest son has finally returned to the city of the Bat, his intention is to bring down crime from the inside. It didn’t work the first time, but could it this time? What does Batman have to say about it? Find out in RED HOOD: OUTLAW #32 from DC Comics.
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist: Stephen Segovia
Letters: Troy Peteri
Cover: Cully Hamner
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: March 13, 2019
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in RED HOOD: OUTLAW: Having lost those he trusted most, Jason Todd has taken on crime in his own way, on his own terms. Now he has gathered a new group, not as much a team but employees, to help him in his mission to take down crime. He returns home and takes a shot at something he has avoided before, hiding in the spotlight. What could put him in the spotlight more than running the biggest nightclub organized crime has seen?
ANOTHER MISFIT KID, ANOTHER BURNED OUT TOWN…
Jason Todd has returned home to Gotham City. Not as the leader of a team of crime fighters, not in the guise of a criminal, but as himself, Jason Todd. He has recently come into the opportunity to take over the Iceberg Lounge from the previous owner, one Oswald Copplepot aka The Penguin, and has jumped full on into the role of club owner. No more hiding in the shadows, he has arrived, in full view, and larger than life. He even gives interviews on television, talking about how glad he is to return to the city of his birth, how much he looks forward to doing everything he can to give back. But this is Jason Todd, The Red Hood, one time Robin and fugitive from the law more times than not. He has a purpose, and now he had employees.
To help him run his casino, he had recruited an eclectic group of individuals. From the immense Suzie Su and her muscular prowess, to stocking up the rest of his casino staff with her sisters Blanc, Candy, Anatasia, and Night. Even his pit boss, Wingman, has spent time more time on the side of shadows than of angels. When some young members of the Falcone family begin to make noise in his casino, Jason decides to place them in the capable hands of Miguel Barragan, the onetime Teen Titan known as Bunker. He uses his psychic abilities to treat the three to a night they will remember. What is Jason’s overall plan, where is the Penguin, and how does the Batman feel about this?
You will just have to read it to find out.
WE STAND OUR LIVES ON TRIAL; WE WALK THE ENDLESS MILE…
Back in the day, when Jason Todd was first introduced, you could tell he was not going to be a character to fit nicely into Batman’s world. Despite various writers’ attempts, he just kept returning to his street rat roots, eventually to the point that the offices of DC let the fans decide if he lived or died. Years later, after he was returned from the dead, he still didn’t fit. Having latched onto the identity of Red Hood, he alternated between good and evil. More than any member of the Batman Family, he is the blackest of sheep.
Since issue 26, Scott Lobdell (Teen Titans, Justice League) has been giving us a different Red Hood than we have been seeing, even from his own writing. This character finally seems to have rejected the idea that he needs a close-knit family around him and has taken a different turn. Don’t just recruit people to help in the crusade, hire them. With this one action, it shows that he has taken a new turn of tactics. Before there was the strong emotional connection, even when he denied it. Teammates like Starfire and Roy Harper were like the brothers and sisters he never had, weapons like Artemis and Bizarros provided him with the desire to hold a sort of authority over someone. Now he seems to have found a spot where he can finally disassociate himself from those working under him and not get emotionally involved. This is a Red Hood who is closer to the Batman than the Batman would want to admit. It feels as if part of the problem Batman has with Jason Todd is that they are too close in their attitudes. While Batman has begun to embrace more of a father figure roll, or at least allow others to place him in it, Red Hood is evolving into the lean hunter of the concrete jungle, focused on one goal, laser-like in his direction for it. Or maybe I have gotten it all completely wrong.
Artist Stephen Segovia (Action Comics, Superwoman) hits a good stride in this issue. It is largely an issue without union suits, with the exception of a few pages; so much of it is drawing realistic looking people doing the things they would do in a casino. He makes it look good. You forget that suave and sophisticated Jason Todd, casino owner, is actually a costumed vigilante… or criminal… or… you get the drift. He even makes Suzi Su, with her immense size and girth; seem “normal” in a place where normal should reign. Most of the book is Jason Todd being smooth and worldly, but there is a sequence where he confronts the surprise guest star, and you can see the fangs lying in wait just below the surface. Great stuff, and it solidifies an already good script.
BOTTOM LINE: THE EVOLUTION OF JASON TODD CONTINUES, BUT FOR HOW LONG?
There are many reasons why this book should not work. It is a Batman Family title where the main character could give less than a damn about Batman. He is a violent vigilante who will take steps other heroes will not. He is the prodigal son of the Dark Knight. I think the last is what makes it most interesting. Jason Todd, living or dead, signifies one of Batman’s greatest failures. He was unable to take a kid from the streets and educate him in the ways of good. He was unable to save him from death at the hands of the Joker. He was unable to accept him when he returned from the dead. Essentially, by returning to Gotham, Todd is sticking it to Batman in the worst way, daring the Dark Knight to do something about it. It is a great story, and Lobdell is hitting it on all cylinders.
RED HOOD: OUTLAW #32 is the opening salvo of a great new storyline, and you should make sure it hits a target in your pull box.
Red Hood: Outlaw #32
RED HOOD: OUTLAW #32 could prove to be the start of the redemption of Jason Todd, or of his damnation. Only Lobdell knows for sure.