New 52 – Red Hood and the Outlaws #17 review


This was one of the shortest reads I’ve experienced in a while. I actually found myself flipping back to make sure I hadn’t skipped over any pages. I don’t even think it took 10 minutes to get through but I think a big part of that is the artwork, which is definitely not good. There are no attractive panels here to admire, which is a shame because the cover by Mico Suayan drop dead gorgeous. I saw the Batman/Jason moment on the cover drawn and colored in unbelievable detail which made me think I was going to get a good-looking book that focused on a meaningful confrontation between Batman and Red Hood but I opened it up and saw this…


A Rob liefeld quality drawing of the outlaws on a spaceship shouting at a hologram of Red Hood. Not all the following pages were bad though. There are actually three artists on this comic which is rather pathetic and sadly the most important moments weren’t illustrated by the best of them. Luckily the spaceship nonsense didn’t last for too long and we finally go to Wayne Manor where we get scenes between Jason and Damian (which isn’t bad, but Damian’s voice is lacking in its aristocratic quality), Jason and Dick (which was rather uneventful and Dick’s past relationship with Kori was hardly touched upon), and an alright but brief scene between Bruce and Jason. There are frequent cuts to Starfire flying around and Damian fighting with Arsenal, which was annoying at first but by the end the Damian/Arsenal rivalry won me over with a couple of legitimately funny lines.

But as short-lived and poorly drawn as this comic is I still gotta say that it’s something that Batman fans will need to see because there are some potentially major developments for Jason Todd here. I cheated and looked ahead at some of the upcoming covers and what happens here may indeed be permanent. I’ll talk about it some in spoiler tags.

The first thing I noticed was the continued lack of coordination with the handling of Death of the Family. In Nightwing #17 that also came out today you’ll see that Red Hood’s helmet has bullet in it and is shattered on the floor of the batcave. Here, however, it’s totally fine, as is Alfred and even Nightwing looks to be totally healthy again even though he was in bloody tatters in his own comic. If you’ll recall, many readers were confused when Jason’s helmet was tampered with by the Joker in Red Hood and the Outlaws #16 and then in the follow-up in Teen Titans #16 he put the helmet back on and was perfectly fine. What was that all about? Was it an idea that Lobdell totally dropped or even forgot about? No. Not only is the helmet still 100% intact but the booby trap Joker laced within is now active. I don’t know why it never worked until now, but that’s what’s happening. And if you look back, you’ll see that in the hologram earlier Jason is wearing the helmet so I guess you could say the booby trap was designed to not operate until a 3rd wearing. Not only did the Joker build in some sort of acid dispensing contraption to the interior of the helmet but a gadget that can display a hologram with sound. Yes, that’s right, more holograms and the return of the Joker in digital form. Joker taunts Jason a bit and then the trigger goes off. A couple panels of sizzling pain later and we have a mutilated Jason Todd. So now Joker isn’t the only faceless Batman character. This… this really does nothing for me. Now we just have two characters whom we have to wait to get their faces back.

Important stuff happens here, but I still wouldn’t say it’s a good comic. The cover is absolutely awesome, there are some nice character moments with Bruce and Damian, and the shocking revelation is sure to have everyone talking so you’ll want to know what that’s all about. But it’s a really short read that lacked focus and some of these pages are really ugly. Flip through this one at the comic shop and come to your own decision. It’s got as many good things going for it as it does bad.

SCORE: 5.5/10