Red Hood and the Outlaws 15
Scott Lobdell, Timothy Green II
Death of the Family Crossover
Spoiler alert! You have been warned!
Scott Lobdell is one of my favorite writers, so it’s a given that I was beyond excited that he was making his return to superhero comics with the launch of the New 52 last year. And the fact that he would be writing two of my favorite characters (Jason Todd and Tim Drake) was just icing on top of the already awesome comic cake. This issue is just as good as anything he wrote over at Marvel back in the day, and that’s because (to put it plainly) he’s still got it. If you’ll excuse a pun, he has an “uncanny” ability to weave high-octane action with realistically compelling drama and spot-on humor. And with this team of lovable losers, most fans would agree that he’s got nowhere to go but up. But that doesn’t stop him from making a good comic into a superior one.
We start with Jason single-handedly taking out a bunch of Gotham cops and entrusting Sergeant Harvey Bullock with his girlfriend, who was attacked and forcibly overdosed by the Joker at the end of the last issue. Then he gets immediately kidnapped and paralyzed by the Joker, which seems to be the trend here with him, where he is subject to emotional torture by the man who proudly lists killing him on the top of his resume. But we get a lot more out of this torture session than just the normal Joker antics. We have hints that the Joker has been behind the scenes in poor old Jason Todd’s life all along and almost considers him a son, in a weird messed up sort of way. Which is going to be polarizing for most fans, but I for one love this concept. It adds a much-needed flare for the dramatic in the always-cool, never-really-likable Red Hood.
But the biggest shocks come from not the revelation (or lie) from the Joker about his involvement in Jason’s origin, but from the final pages and what it means for the future of this event. Joker ends up dropping Jason into a pit after running him through the gauntlet of bad memories, where he is joined by a special guest star: Tim Drake, also known as Red Robin of the Teen Titans. The final pages also show Roy Harper and Starfire taking a break from their tantric sex marathon and meeting up with the rest of the Titans, teaming up to save their respective leaders from the clown before it’s too late. I can’t wait for the crossover’s next part, especially the ones with Lobdell writing the hilariously inappropriate dialogue for the scariest villain in comic book history. This comic, much like a majority of the event tie-ins, is what comics are supposed to be month in and month out: Good.