Red Hood #27 // Review
This month the Red Hood’s status continues his status as a solo superhero. Red Hood Outlaw #27 (Scott Lobdell writer, Pete Woods art, Troy Peteri lettering) follows Jason Todd following up on leads on the Underlife. This issue also serves as a tie-in to the events of the Heroes in Crisis storyline. But while the direction of this new story arc for Red Hood shows promise, this month’s issue seems like a bit of a step back from last month.
This is the second issue of the Outlaw storyline, and we find Red Hood on the trail of an organization known as the Underlife. Scott Lodbell gets the reader right to the action as Red Hood starts a fight with some lower level Underlife thugs in order to get more information about the organization. But this fight is quickly ended by Bruce Wayne so that he can deliver the news of Roy Harper’s death to Red Hood. Soon after Bruce delivers the news, and has a brief reconciliation with his former protege, Red Hood is off to the seemingly idyllic town of Appleton in order to continue his investigation.
For the most part, this issue feels like it’s mainly filler material. The tonal shifts from the action of an opening fight scene to the news of Roy Harper's death and then back to the investigation into the Underlife are somewhat jarring. In some ways it feels like Lobdell was surprised that DC would kill Roy Harper in Heroes in Crisis #1, and had to rush to add it into the book. Everything surrounding this part of the book feels like it was tacked on to the existing story.
There is also a lack of any really meaningful dialogue between Bruce Wayne and Jason Todd when he gets the news about Roy Harper. While Jason and Bruce reconcile over the loss, the whole exchange falls a bit flat. This book even manages to throw in that Red Hood May not have actually killed the Penguin, which was the cause of the schism in the first place. While this isn’t too surprising (killing off a major Batman villain would lead to continuity problems in other Batman books) it feels like something of a cop out here.
Because of these flaws in the writing Pete Woods is tasked with carrying the load for this book with his artwork, and for the most part he’s successful. The character design is crisp, the action scenes are kinetic, and there is some real emotion in the panels that are more somber. The use of color however, seems a bit off. The whole book is pretty bright and cheery, which make sense for the change in scenery in the last quarter of the book, but doesn’t convey an appropriate sense of mood for the first three quarters.
All in all the new shift to a solo Red Hood who is taking the law into his own hands is an exciting return to form for the character, and this story has some potential as evidenced by this issues last act. Unfortunately the reader needs to get through some filler to get there.