This Week in Comics: Red Hood and the Outsiders #11
Hey guys, so some interesting comics were released this week and I thought it would be a good idea to tell you what you should look into this weekend at your local comic store.
Red Hood has always basically been an enigma to me, but hopefully a day will come when I have a definitive stance on the character. Under the Hood is a great, great story and I hate to encourage bringing characters back from the dead but I will make an exception here because it is just that good. Seriously, that is saying a lot because bringing back dead people is one of the very few things that I hate about comics.
So basically if somehow you don't know the story, the second Robin was a guy named Jason Todd, who became very unpopular in a very short amount of time. So much so that DC set up a poll to let the readers decide Jason's fate:
The vote was set up in the four-part story "A Death in the Family" that was published in Batman #426–429 in 1988. At the end of Batman #427, Jason was beaten by the Joker and left to die in an explosion. The inside back cover of the issue listed two 1-900 numbers that readers could call to vote for the character's death or survival. Within the 36-hour period allotted for voting, the poll received 10,614 votes. The verdict in favor of the character's death won by a slim 72-vote margin of 5,343 votes to 5,271. The following issue, Batman#428, was published featuring Todd's death. Years later, O'Neil would admit hundreds of votes in the "Jason Dies" line came from a single person, adding a large degree of uncertainty to the honesty of results regarding a poll designed to determine the character's popularity.
"I heard it was one guy, who programmed his computer to dial the thumbs down number every ninety seconds for eight hours, who made the difference", O'Neil said in a Newsarama interview conducted alongside writer Judd Winick during the "Under The Hood" arc. Based on O'Neil's information, that figures out to 320 votes over eight hours from one person or roughly six percent of the death line's total calls. O'Neil would later repeat the claim with further specifics: "I heard it was a lawyer who was using a MacIntosh and lived in California—I obviously don't have hard information on this, but I heard someone out there programmed his computer to dial it every couple of minutes, and since there was only about 65 votes that made the difference, if that story is true, that guy, that guy killed Jason Todd!
Jason Todd is brought back from the dead as the Red Hood in the aforementioned Under the Hood (which was later adapted into the acclaimed animated film, Batman: Under the Red Hood). He is a hurt and jaded man, enraged that he was never avenged by Batman so thus feels unloved by the Dark Knight (maybe by the fans too, specifically that guy that voted to kill him 320 times).
Jason just doesn't see the agony and regret his death weighs on Batman which he has always cited as his biggest failure. He doesn't understand that killing is the antithesis of Batman, and he wouldn't kill for anyone, yet Jason takes it personally and takes on crime himself, by drowning it in its own blood.
Personally, I don't get the obsession many have with Red Hood. Since Under the Hood, more and more appearances have made his flaws as a character see the light of day. As a character to me he is average at best. Greatly forced by DC to be an edgy antihero, is he really much more than an unfunny Deadpool? Speaking of which that's also exactly who he looks like too!
So, with all of that backstory out of the way, here's what I thought of Red Hood and the Outsiders #11.
To start, that is a truly badass cover. "Don't Judge a Book by it's Cover" does not apply to comics at all as I've said here before, so this issue is already going home with me. This is not a good thing however as the rest of the issue is mediocre in pretty much every other respect.
The art is way too digital looking for me, sometimes it's unnoticeable, but often times it catches your eye for the worse.
The writing is just as unspectacular, mostly in terms of dialogue the same problems with the artwork are present. Sometimes its running along just fine until interrupted by some piss-poor one liners from Jason (which unfortunately he seems to talk almost exclusively in when he dons the Hood).
Overall, just an extremely unspectacular issue. But, being that it is just a single issue that goes for three or four bucks, it is inexpensive but unless you are a sucker for good covers, like me, I'd avoid this one.