There is nothing particularly “special” about this specific issue of Red Hood And The Outlaws…it’s issue #10, it’s in the middle of this Wonder Woman crossover thing…I frankly bought it because it had Red Hood holding a dead Jason Todd on the cover.
But that’s how they “getcha,” right? The cover with the WTF imagery that will probably not be replicated in the comic itself—that’s a move many many decades old. And I’ll be damned if it don’t work every single goddamn time. But I thought it would still be interesting to take a look at this comic, see where the title is at, and all that jazz. (“Spoilers”)
First, we have the obligatory Wonder Woman thing. That movie is coming out in like two weeks, so you’d better believe there’s going to be some WW-referencey stuff here. Well, more like Artemis-type stuff, who was like the Jason Todd Robin to Wonder Woman’s Dick Grayson. Huh. That seems like a somewhat tortured, possibly partially-incorrect metaphor. And was that even a metaphor? More like a simile?
Anyway, Artemis seems to be part of this new post-Rebirth “Red Hood And The Outlaws” team, which is basically made of (in the case of Bizarro, literally) off-brand versions of well-known superheroes. They are all in the handy tried-and-true DC Universe version of Iraq, “Qurac,” facing off against a version of Saddam Hussein called “General Heinle.” General Heinle is very interested in the ancient relics of his homeland and the shit they can do…which, incidentally, is actually what Hussein was kind of interested in as well (which I’m sure writer Scott Lobdell was referencing here in this strangely retro storyline).
Artemis is reunited with some Amazons of her “clan” or something, including one who was supposed to be dead—but she feels somewhat uneasy about the entire thing. Probably because of the chick who was supposed to be dead (because that’s never a good sign).
Meanwhile, Red Hood is somewhere having vivid flashbacks to when the Joker beat up Jason Todd (who, unless the continuity has changed substantially since the last time I checked in, is Red Hood). And so we play out the imagery referenced on the cover, with the Joker once again braining Todd with a crowbar.
This seems to be an integral part of uniquely “comic book” narratives…the replay of the traumatic event. I mean, how many times have we seen or read some variation of the Joker/Robin thing? Or Bruce Wayne’s parents getting shot? Or Uncle Ben getting shot? Or Krypton blowing up? In comic book land, these types of events are compulsively replayed, probably more than in any other type of genre/format (outside of maybe Horror).
In the end, in a little bit of deep psychodrama (which includes fantasy-shooting the Joker to smithereens), Red Hood decides he just has to let his past trauma go. He just has to walk away from it. Now, whether in comic book land that will actually “stick,” is another matter entirely. But you’d like to think that this is an actual moment of character development.
Oh yeah, and then there is Bizarro, who just sort of does stuff.
I originally bought this rando comic as a goof, but after sitting down and reading it…it’s not terrible. I mean, it’s OK for what it is, which is the 10th issue of some crossover thing plus the Joker. It’s just sort of like “in medias res” in the lives of a superhero team, ably illustrated by artist Dexter Soy. In some ways, it’s similar to a team narrative like the CW’s Legends Of Tomorrow—sort of “B”-to-“C”-level slightly fucked-up superheroes all on some sort of adventure. If you’re just looking to pick up something “superherory” to read, just for kicks…this could work.
Oh, and the lettering by Taylor Esposito was very good!
RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #10 IS ON SALE NOW