WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Red Hood: Outlaw #38 by Scott Lobdell, Kenneth Rocafort and Phillip Tan, on sale now.
The cover of Red Hood: Outlaw #38 crosses the border from DC over to Marvel to make a reference to the X-Men. While X-Men founder, Professor X is known for his catchphrase, "To me, my X-Men," the DC character Red Hood echoes the same sentiment while getting strangled by a never-before-seen monster. "To me, my Outlaws..?" Red Hood begs. Not only does the comparison fit, but it's one that should concern DC's other heroes given the Professor's questionable methods.
The issue starts with Red Hood immersing his assembled team of misfits in their first big learning opportunity. At a facility filled with dead guards and at least one rampaging monster, he holds back from the fray in order to give the team the chance to cooperate. The team features "metalmorph" Devour; shapeshifter, DNA; the infantile super-genius, Babe in Arms; and the elemental Cloud 9.
The team struggles to cooperate on their mission as they get into one another's way and don't really give their powers a chance to cohere. While fighting against an oddly-familiar monster, Devour tries to push everyone to the side so he can restrain their target. His restraint proves limited, however, and the monster quickly breaks free.
That's likely due to the monster in question being far more powerful than the team may have initially imagined. Eventually dubbed, "Doomed," DNA manages to connect with the monster, get it to calm down, and gather some details on its backstory: A S.T.A.R. labs intern exposed to Doomsday spores that artificially altered his DNA, Doomed transforms into a super-strong rage beast anytime he gets stressed. If the X-Men reference of the cover wasn't enough, it's clear that creators, Scott Lobdell and Kenneth Rocafort are setting Doomed up to be their very own Hulk.
Fortunately for the team, he falls under the command of Red Hood. The former Batman sidekick toiled for years in Bruce Wayne's shadow, and he never shined as Robin like those before and after him. While his initial return cast him as a villain or (at best) an antihero dead-set on lethal solutions to the same criminal problems Batman dealt with non-lethally, in recent years, he seems to have grown more into the role of a team leader more than anything else.
Red Hood leading the Outlaws was initially a development for the character that took place in the New 52 relaunch, but this new team offers the former sidekick an opportunity to not only lead the team but also train them. Much like Charles Xavier cultivating teenage mutants into future heroes, Red Hood has the opportunity with the primarily adolescent cast to shape who they will be and what they will do. And the potential of having his very own Doomsday could make Red Hood a major player in the goings-on of the DC Universe like he never has been before.
While Batman frequently limits himself from employing his most advanced technologies and super-powered allies toward global ends, Red Hood increasingly establishes himself as being a Batman who does not suffer the same limitations. Although Red Hood may not necessarily revert to the same antiheroic endeavors that earned him his deadly reputation upon his revival, it's a clear and safe bet that once this band of Outlaws is properly trained he will be willing to wield them toward his own ends.