Jason follows the Underlife to the end of the road, and confronts a face—or three—from his past. OR DOES HE? Mystery begets mystery, crowbars fly, and you’ll feel the earth move under your feet in Red Hood: Outlaw #31. SPOILERS AHEAD
This is…boring. It isn’t very bad, and it isn’t very good, because it isn’t really anything. The twists are predictable, the emotions distant and generic, and the artwork moves sideways to meet them.
There’s a fair bit of action, and that part of the book is interesting enough. I like Jason with a dog, and I like the two of them working together in a fight, so that’s cool. And Woods, whatever you may think of his aesthetics, sure knows how to lay out a scuffle.
But what else is there? Bunker’s back in print, which is great if you were a fan, but why is he back? I get the sense the answer is “Lobdell created him and wanted to bring him back,” and I don’t think that’s a good enough reason. Jason and Wingman are adversaries-turned-allies without much ado. Solitary makes some big claims about his identity, which we all probably saw coming anyway.
There are some silly problems, too. Woods has Jason throw his crowbar—bent side leading—towards Bunker’s containment tank, but the next page shows the bent side facing outward as the straight end goes into the tank. And speaking of that tank, Jason says “it looks less like an experiment than a cage,” but Woods evidently didn’t get the memo, because it looks nothing like a cage, and quite a bit like what you might expect to see in Cadmus.
How about the battle with Solitary? His bold claim is that he’s Willis Todd, Jason’s father—but Jason isn’t buying it. He checks Solitary’s arm for a tattoo that Willis had, and when he doesn’t find it there, he sends a crowbar through the chest of his adversary. But Jason’s logic is faulty, and he may or may not have just killed his father. Solitary claims that he was experimented on along with two other men, and that the process merged the three of their minds into a single body. If that is indeed the case, then what’s to say that the final “host” body wouldn’t be one of the other two? Why should it have the tattoo?
Also, Solitary claims to be capable of controlling perception, and he demonstrates those abilities by “transporting” Jason to some strange locales. If he has this ability, then why does he present himself as a three-headed weirdo? Why not just make everyone think he’s Burt Reynolds?
All in all, this issue just doesn’t do it for me. It’s certainly way below-standard for a series that was one of my very favorites for over two years.
- You’re with Jaybird till the end of the line.
Red Hood: Outlaw #31 has some silly errors in both its story and artwork, but its biggest sin is being boring. This series’s best days lie behind it, but here’s hoping there are still better days ahead.
DISCLAIMER: Batman News received an advance copy of this book for the purpose of review.