Credit: Pete Woods, Rex Lokus, and Troy Peteri

Jason Todd, respectable casino owner and businessman. Evidently, some people in Gotham believe it, but the rest of us, we know the truth. With Cobblepot still in captivity, the Red Hood sets off for a foreign destination to further monkey with the Penguin’s professional partnerships. But things aren’t all peachy at the Iceberg, there’s been a disturbance in the Thousand Acres of All, and Jason had better watch his back. It’s going to get pretty unpretty pretty fast. SPOILERS AHEAD

Intriguing

While I still do, on the one hand, lament the missing emotional core of this title, Red Hood: Outlaw #34 manages to make things a bit more interesting than the previous few installments. The pieces Lobdell has been laying out on the board are starting to move, and even though very little actually happens this time around, it feels like we’re perched on the gargoyle, our knees relaxed in that final millisecond before we tense them and spring into action. I’ve not read the New 52 Red Hood and the Outlaws, so I don’t know much about Ducra, the Caste, and all of that; but I am able to piece some of it together from the context in this book, and I’m actually interested enough to consider digging into the archives and getting the rest of the story.

Back in Gotham, we all knew that Cobblepot wouldn’t stay hidden forever, but now that his liberation is imminent, I’m dying to see what happens next. For as stationary as things have felt in this title recently, all of a sudden everything is about to start moving again, and I’ve found that Lobdell didn’t squander my good will—I’m still ready for what’s next!

Red Hood in Paris

I’ve read Under the Red Hood once, but I’ve seen the animated film at least half a dozen times. So I can’t recall if the comics featured Jason busting into a meeting of some crime families and turning the tables on them, but I love that scene in the movie (yes, even the duffle full of severed heads). I appreciated the reference here, with Jason threatening some European crime bosses who thing they’ve got the drop on him, but soon learn that it is he who’s got things under control.

I know some of you are frustrated by how arbitrarily Jason and Wingman teamed up, but for me, it is what it is,  and I’m over it. At this point, I don’t care who Wingman is, or that he and Miguel just got stapled onto the team. It’s been like this for a few issues now, so I’m just rolling with it.

Still solid artwork

Credit: Pete Woods, Rex Lokus, and Troy Peteri

I’m still a big fan of Pete Woods’s work on this title, especially with Lokus handling the colors. The sequential stuff is often meat-and-potatoes, but I like meat and potatoes, and it works really well. This may not be my favorite aesthetic, but it works for the book, and it’s fairly consistent.

Peteri’s lettering is solid as well, and again, fairly meat-and-potatoes. I still wish he would go big and crazy with the SFX, but that’s more a personal preference than some indisputable mandate.

Recommended if…

  • You’ve been waiting for Red Hood to get moving.
  • You’re a fan of Pete Woods’ sequential chops. Dude knows how to tell a story.
  • You were a fan of the New 52 RHATO and you’ve wished Lobdell would get back to some of his ideas from back then.

Overall

I still miss Bizarro and Artemis, but Red Hood has managed to remain decent in their absence. #34 emerges from the slower, aimless stuff we’ve been getting recently and puts us at the outer edge of the conflict Lobdell has been simmering for some time. Solid storytelling from Woods and Lokus, and simple, functional lettering from Peteri make this one an entertaining read. Pick it up for its own merits, but especially for what’s coming next.

SCORE: 7.5/10