Red Hood and the Outlaws 20
James Tynion IV, Julius Gopez
Spoiler alert! You have been warned!
This month’s issue was a slight improvement over the last issue. It seems that new series writer James Tynion IV is starting to get his footing. It also seems that new series artist Julius Gopez is starting to slow down and take a little more time with the pencils. That being said, this is still a far cry from the book that Scott Lobdell and friends were putting out on a monthly basis. Man oh man do I miss Lobdell’s dialogue and storytelling. But he’s gone. And I have to adjust. And thankfully, this new team is making it easier as they continue their run with three characters who I, along with many other fans, love to hate and hate to love. The Outlaws are certainly not going to be topping anyone’s favorite characters lists, but that is part of the beauty of such a series as this one. The double-edged sword that is a project like this is that you have to try and make arguably hateable characters into anti-heroes that we care about while simultaneously not changing the characters so completely that you might as well be writing about different people entirely. All of that, and the fact that Lobdell had pretty much mastered it before his untimely exit, and you have quite a task. So, that being said, I’m still hopeful that eventually this series can be restored to its status as one of my favorite monthly reads.
So we start off with what is most likely going to be a temporarily memory-less Jason, being confronted by his friends and teammates. We’ve got Roy overacting as usual, and some yelling interspersed with some flashback sequences (where really showed that Gopez is definitely a suitable artist for such characters). We see Jason’s life, which, as we all already know, pretty much has always sucked. We see Roy’s life, which, again, has never been the greatest. We don’t get to see any flashes of Kory’s rotten backstory, because she puts an end to the prying evil little mind-wiping floating midget monk. (What? That’s what he is!) And we have three pretty big events taking place at the end of the issue. The first is that Starfire finally admits that she does care about Roy, and that she may have exaggerated about her Tamaranean memories, which will make a lot of grumpy post-New 52 fans happy. The second is that all three of the people from Jason’s past who have been showing up as far back as the beginning of this title are working together, which was a pleasant surprise. And the third is that Roy’s old mentor, Green Arrow, is on his trail and is going to save him… Again. Whether he likes it or not. So there are enough seeds planted for future stories that I’m going to try and put my skepticism aside and embrace the change in creative teams. This could be good. I really think there’s a lot of potential with the stories they’re setting up.
But the potentially awesome fights and team-ups are not the only reason I’m still sticking with this book. There was a brief flashback sequence that not only added to the series and its characters’ already stunning mythology, but also showed that Tynion knows how to script a good human drama sequence. The fact that Jason tried to help Roy when he was at his very worst is not that big of a shock. But the fact that he did so right before finding out that his mother was alive, which led him to his death at the hands of the Joker? That certainly changes things. And the fact that Jason never told Roy that means that there might actually be some shred of humanity left inside the Red Hood. Hopefully his memories return. Because if they don’t, that’s just going to be a pointless story that could have been so much more. I have faith. I am liking this book. I can’t wait to love it again.
My Rating: 3.5/5