The latest arc of Red Hood and the Outlaws continues down the dangerous slope of drug abuse, with each of our heroes facing trials that they will be inevitably forced to overcome or fall in the process.

It really does feel like forever since I’ve gotten settled down and remembered just what exactly was going on in the world of Jason Todd and his companions.  So here’s a quick recap.  Way back in Issue #32, which was like, 6 months ago, terrorists tried to nuke Washington DC.  The Outlaws were on their way to stopping them when Kori was dragged up in that whole alien-slavery thing which has led to her subsequent drug use.  The team then head to Louisiana, where the terrorist group was hiding out, only to find a building of Venom-infused lackeys ready to beat them up.  Kori jetted out with Roy hot on her heels (pun set-up) but was effectively roasted by Kori’s out of control flames.  Jason, meanwhile, is getting his head handed to him by the Venom junkies when he decides to take some for himself, which is where we end up now.

Jason’s Venom rage helps him dispatch the bayou goons, which was pretty awesome to see.  Time skips ahead to where we saw Roy and Jason last issue, with Roy in a hospital bed recovering from the burns that Kori inflicted.  There really isn’t much that happens here, but I thought where the issue shined was Scott Lobdell’s writing of Jason’s internal monologue.  Ollie shows up to talk to Jason about Roy’s current situation, and the moments get pretty intense as you can see how Ollie still has a friendship with Roy.

Starfire’s own troubles take her to a wretched hive of scum and villainy, and I was super confused at first when a bunch of humans knew she was a Tamaranean.  It turns out that this was some kind of alien opium den, where she delves further into whatever extraterrestrial embellishments she prefers.  Her story is shown through her actions and not words, which was pretty cool.  She and Roy definitely take a backseat to Jason in terms of how engrossed in the story I was, but following her takes up a solid portion of the book.

It’s strange, but I really enjoyed the art style this time around.  RB Silva and Wayne Faucher are inconsistent in their amount of details, but I liked it.  Then again, I read this online, so that might be why.  There was some very cool imagery, particularly during Jason’s Venom-fueled rage trip.  And for the love of all that is good on this Earth can we please have a consistent depiction of Jason’s mask?  On the very first page, not only does he have that dumb nose, but it also has nostrils!  Like seriously?  Nostrils?  That’s even worse than eye pupils.  Then by the end of the issue his mask is back to its original design.  It’s really not that hard, just pick that last style and stick to it…

Spoiler

  • Seeing Jason talk to his hood was pretty cool, if not cliché.
  • Seeing Kori have a drug-induced dream was pretty cool, if not cliché.
  • Ugh, Essence. If there’s one thing I don’t need in this book it’s a reminder of the All-Caste.
  • I loved the tagline at the end of the issue – “Roy and Ollie…Talk. A lot.”
  • Crux is the next villain? Again?  He was terrible the first time around.

Favorite Quote: “Any advice?  No?  Nevermind I got it.” – Jason Todd

Recommended If…

  • You don’t mind seeing people crack at the seams.
  • You like the artwork of RB Silva and Wayne Faucher.

Overall:

Less a warning about the use of drugs and more an examination of how people react to drugs under duress, this issue serves as an interesting addition to an originally weak storyline.  I look forward to see where this is going.

SCORE: 7/10