As the saying goes, there are two sides to every story and in “Red Hood and the Outlaws” #0, it’s Jason Todd’s origin from two points of view. As someone who dialed up the number to liberate Batman from the burden of Jason Todd, I’ve never really found any appeal in the character, either as a Robin or even as the Red Hood, but with Zero Month upon us, I thought I’d see if there was any redemption to be found for Todd or “Red Hood and the Outlaws.”
The answer is a resounding “no.” While the issue boasts a creative team of Scott Lobdell writing and artists Pasqual Ferry, Ig Guara and Brett Booth, there’s a whole lot of nothing here. Ferry’s artwork looks woefully incomplete and not at all equivalent to what I saw of the man in “Adam Strange: Planet Heist.” Cars are little more than wheeled boxes and people are distorted and exaggerated in a manner that even defies comic book art. The worst part about all of that is that the most of characters drawn by Ferry in “Red Hood and the Outlaws” are “normal.” Jason Todd’s origin literally starts off with the day he was born and continues on, right up to his awakening in the Lazarus Pit. There’s nothing new or exciting in the first three-quarters of this issue.
The four pages of mildly disturbed monologue from the Joker (as though he doesn’t even care enough about Jason Todd to exert any real effort) are entertaining and revealing enough to make the previous sixteen pages seem like a total waste of time. Brett Booth’s manic cartoon-based figure work effectively depicts the Joker with the flair of a Silver Age comic book, which is more kooky than insane. His take on Red Hood’s origin is considerably more compact and certainly a better handling of the tale. The problem is there would have been sixteen more pages to fill.
Lobdell certainly filled the pages, at times resorting to panels filled with only text. The writer puts the front half of the book in Todd’s own words, but fails to inject any life into the humdrum recollection. The character of Jason Todd always seemed hollow to me, a concept hammered home in this story that has to repeat itself in the hopes of being even remotely interesting.
I was put off by what I read in “Red Hood and the Outlaws” #1 last year and find nothing redeeming in this issue. It’s also quite simply a boring comic book. I was hopeful Rocafort would find another gig and, as luck would have it, he’s off this book and heading over to “Superman” #0. Lobdell’s heading over there too. I’m looking forward to both reading it and seeing it reviewed here on CBR. As for “Red Hood,” I think I’m pretty well done checking in on this one.