Red Hood and the Outlaws #24

Following Villains Month, "Red Hood and the Outlaws" #24 unloads a whole lot of fighting and plot setup courtesy of writer James Tynion IV and artist Julius Gopez. The issue opens with Jason Todd engaged in combat with the ethereal Drakar in 'Eth Alth'Eban -- the city of the League of Assassins. With members of the League at his side, the one-time Robin learns a great deal about his new allies.

The cover of this issue gave me massive flashbacks to the Amalgam experiment that followed the "DC Vs. Marvel." All of the characters have that late 1990s flair to them, but the peaked collar and trim on the cloak Red Hood is wearing seems like something straight out of the "Doctor Strangefate" comic book. The interiors are mostly filled with characters floating, falling or leaping through nebulously detailed pseudo-settings. Gopez drops lots of shadow into his work -- however, his inkers choose different paths with the work provided. Walden Wong's inks are slicker and more polished, rounding off the characters and occasionally providing them with halos to keep them from merging withe frequently non-descript dark backgrounds. Ray McCarthy's inks are rough-edged and hewn, which makes the panels from him and Gopez look like woodcuts or intaglio, showing more of the rough edginess of Gopez's pencils, giving the figures more grit than the backgrounds behind them.

In "Red Hood and the Outlaws" #24, Tynion appears to be attempting to establish a pecking order among assassins and kung fu badasses, but just shuffles through as a niche piece, with a general melee taking the place of an actual title-focused battle. The end result is a fairly forgettable story, despite the characters involved, including the dynamic appearance of a major Batfoe on the second-to-last page of this issue. Outside of the fracas, Tynion shares a prison conversation between Arsenal and Cheshire that mostly takes up space, but almost certainly seeds future developments between the two characters. None of the characters is really given a chance to shine, or perhaps more accurately, none of them seizes their chance to shine. All of the characters blend into sameness, save Bronze Tiger who leaps into action to kill, if for no other reason than to prove he can.

"Red Hood and the Outlaws" #24 as a comic book story is more interesting than I expected it to be, but the characters and situations are no more compelling than they were when I last checked in on this title. James Tynion IV has a direction he is steering Jason Todd in, but the rest of the book seems like shrapnel from the explosion -- heading out from the core story in random directions without true purpose. I'm not sure who the target is for this title, but I do know it's not me.

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