Thursday, August 30, 2018

Throwback Thursday Review: Red Hood and The Outlaws Annual #2 (2014)

The Night The Reindeer Died

Written By: Scott Lobdell
Art By: Tom Derenick, Wayne Faucher, Walden Wong
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: December 24, 2014

One thing I really hate about Annuals are for the most part I don't have any recap to do in this section of the review and it just seems empty and bare.  So I'll tell you a story about what happened to me the day before Christmas.  I was sitting at my computer writing reviews (watching porn) when I get a knock at my door and to my surprise an eighty-year-old possibly Russian woman is standing there wanting to know if I could drive her to the hospital to visit her husband.  Now you should know that her accent was so thick at the beginning of the conversation that I had a hard time understanding her and I thought she said that her husband was dead and that she wanted me to call the hospital.  So after hearing the question again and then explaining that I don't drive because I'm legally blind and that my girlfriend was out doing some last minute Christmas shopping, she told me that I could come to her door later to pick her up and then I tried telling her that we were busy with wrapping gifts later and then she told me that tomorrow morning was fine as well.  After explaining Christmas was the next day and that we couldn't give her a ride, she wished me a Happy Christmas and went back home.  I've never seen this lady before or after this and I'm just cynical enough to tell you that I thought that she was gathering information for her Russian criminal son to come back and rob the place and I'm just naive enough to tell you that I also thought that this was some sort of supernatural Christmas test that I failed.  So let's get on to Red Hood and The Outlaws!

Our story begins in a very strange way.  So you know how Red Hood and The Outlaws are grown men and an alien woman and are of the age of consent and all that?  Well, when we start this story it looks like we have a sleepover at Wayne Manor and our trio of heroes are around the age of six...It's going to be a strange Christmas.  Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you this sleepover is taking place on Christmas Eve and Red Hood and The Scamps have snuck downstairs to catch Santa Claus leaving presents at the tree, only to completely fall over each other and topple down the stairs.  At this point, Santa Claus turns around and we see that he's actually Suzie Sue in disguise.  If you remember from way back in Red Hood and The Outlaws, Jason Todd already killed the hell out of her and seeing her here sporting a Santa suit and brandishing a machine gun just adds to the giant mind fuck that this issue has already presented us with.  Well, never ones to run and hide, the Outlaws (still children mind you) arm themselves up and go on the offensive totally killing Suzie Sue again, turning her into a candy cane... Shit is weird this holiday season boys and girls.

The late-night victory celebration is put on hold though when all I can figure is that the commotion woke Batman up and as punishment for killing Suzie Sue, he locks the Outlaws up in the Batcave to think about what they did.  Now at this point, we know shit is weird as hell with Batman being the father figure here and our normal group of vigilantes being children and all but when we get to the Batcave we really notice how weird things have gotten.  First thing we notice besides for the Batmobile having teeth is Teen Titans Go playing up on the Bat Computer and to the right of that we have the giant penny that we know sits down there only with a giant bite taken out of the side.......... and a very suspicious looking T-Rex trying to look innocent next to it. 

So thinking that Santa might actually be in trouble the group decides to get to the roof to see if Suzie Sue had Santa's sleigh parked up there and the best way to do that is to ride the guilty looking T-Rex up there.............. somehow.........It's a Christmas Red Hood as a child story........ I'll go with it.  On the roof, the group finds the sleigh and the T-Rex transforms into a candy cane and our child heroes make their way to the North Pole and Santa's workshop.

Once at the North Pole I immediately remember the opening to Bill Murray's Scrooged where we see the television station where Bill Murray works' holiday movie where terrorists attack Santa's workshop and only Lee Majors: The Six Million Dollar Man can save Santa and Christmas and I think of this hilarious in movie because as the Outlaws fly over they see Santa's workshop in flames and the snow covered in dead elves.  Hopefully, Lee Majors can save them too. Once on the ground, our pint-sized heroes face off against possessed reindeer, a cannibalistic Mrs. Clause and finally a naughty Santa that begs to be punished...................  I really hope no children accidentally pick this issue up and make it their first foray into comics but for me and anyone grown with a sick sense of humor this is by far one of the funniest Annuals I have ever read.  It definitely gave me some holiday cheer this season.

In the end, after all the obstacles at the North Pole are defeated and turned into candy canes and when Jason Todd refuses to shoot Santa in the face we see that this is all some fucked up dream created by a Psion alien that led Jason to his North Pole prison with the dream state he gave him hope that he would shoot him and finally end his pain.  It seems that this Psion was responsible for experimenting on Starfire and unleashing her powers and was punished with exile for letting her get away by the intergalactic warlord Helspont.  

Now, this alien just wants to die and since it's Christmas Jason figures what the hell and shoots the shit out of him.  Before he leaves though, Jason looks into the camera that was monitoring the alien and gives Helspont a message about if he ever comes to Earth, he'll have a bullet waiting for him.  Helspont receives the message and when this Annual closes we see Starfire's sister Blackfire fawning over the warlord and telling him all the information she can on Red Hood and The Outlaws.

That's it for this Red Hood and The Outlaws Annual and it really is the best thing that this holiday season has produced next to the Doctor Who Christmas Special but that doesn't have anything to do with DC Comics, so I don't think you'll care.............IT WAS AWESOME!  Back to Red Hood, while this was an off the walls, batshit insane kind of fun and while it might not be something that would work on the reg, it was something seriously needed here to try and get us back to the fun that Red Hood could be and I knew that Lobdell would bring back eventually with his return to this series.  When the New 52 started this was the funniest book I picked up and it did some off the wall stuff way before there was a Harley Quinn book and while I don't want this to be like Harley is, it certainly can go back to the fun it was years ago and hopefully will.  

Tom Derenick is on art for this Annual and while I hate the way our trio looks as children, that just might be my complete disdain for children and their jerk off faces because by the end I think that Derenick actually drew the best Red Hood I've ever seen.  Totally, someone, I wouldn't mind seeing back on this book and nothing really to complain about besides children's faces.  See you next month when we get the band back together and hopefully after some rehab, get back to where I remember this title being years ago.  See you then.

Bits and Pieces:

If you're sick and tired of sappy holiday specials that actually ignite your hatred for humanity more than stifle it, then I think that this holiday Annual is just what the Krampus ordered.  We've got a crazy story here dealing with a naughty Santa and the Outlaws that are just grown up enough to stop him and or save him............ Yeah, you'll never look at Christmas the same way again and believe me when I tell you that's a good thing.  Go check it out, Yule love it!


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