The new Red Hood and The Outlaws eh? I confess to never having read the New 52 version. To be honest, I didn’t hear great things but my word this first Rebirth issue impressed me… Like the other premier Rebirth titles, this sets up Red Hood in the new, silver age styled status quo and from the very first breathtaking splash page I was hooked. This felt like Gotham and despite not being a Batman book, the caped crusader was rendered beautifully by Dexter Soy. I feel compelled to see more of his work after this. Thank goodness this is the beginning of our new Red Hood then!
Scott Lobdell retells the story of Jason Todd, the destruction of Robin at the hands of The Joker, and the inevitable creation of Red Hood. You could argue there was no need for this but there’s a deftness of touch to the storytelling that makes you not care that you’re reading it again. I recently caught a fan-made video on YouTube about Red Hood, it was dark and gritty, the character so tortured and conflicted, and I absolutely loved it. That same feel was present here in superb comic book form.
There is a lot of jumping back and forth in time as this first story unfolds and it can feel a little jerky at times. Still, it helps provide context to our anti-hero, his raison d’etre as he seemingly guns down the Mayor of Gotham in front of Batman. Of course things are not always as they seem...I won’t spoil it for you either, this is one you need to see for yourself.
The action scenes are punchy and beautifully rendered, the Joker scene gave me chills as each carefully constructed panel came together with well-lettered, well-written dialogue. And the mood of some of the full page panels is just eye-poppingly, draw-droppingly fantastic that it makes me wish Dexter Soy was pencilling the core Batman series himself. Mr. Soy where have you been all my life? I tip my cap to you Sir.
Let’s not forget the sublime work of Veronica Gandini: the darkened skies of Gotham, the textured shadows that fall across Batman’s cowl, my word it’s all just visually stunning. The only downside, if you can even call it one is that perhaps Batman is rendered with more vivid detail than our core protagonist but I’m just nitpicking now. This book is beautiful.
As for the plot, well not a lot has been revealed by Scott Lobdell, yet. This is just the set-up, the stage upon which Jason Todd’s story will be told, and what a stage it is. This is certainly one to check out, even if you’re not a fan of Red Hood, or you are but hated the New 52 work, do yourself a huge favour and pick this one up.
Don’t let anything stand in your way...
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Red Hood and The Outlaws: Rebirth #1 Writer: Scott Lobdell Artist: Dexter Soy Colorist: Veronica Gandini Publisher: DC Comics Price: $2.99 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital [/su_box]