Saturday, May 23, 2020

Red Hood: Outlaw #45 Review

The Chamber Of All

Written By: Scott Lobdell
Art By: Paolo Pantalena, Arif Prianto, Troy Peteri
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: May 19, 2020

The Untitled are back and it's up to Jason Todd and his gang of Outlaws to send them back to whatever hell they crawled out of, but their task has just become a little harder since Essence, the one-time friend and lover of Red Hood has escaped her Blood Blade prison and plans on taking Jason down....... for unknown reasons.  Can the Outlaws save the people of Qurac and the world from the machinations of the Untitled or will they all become a part of the evil as their plans unfold?  Also, don't forget we have Ma Gunn, The Brain and Monsieur Mallah training the next generation of super-villains, Generation Outlaw.  Let's jump into this issue and see if The Allcaste and The Untitled can get a little more accessible for newer readers, not to mention, older ones.  Let's check it out.

For this issue of Red Hood: Outlaw we continue the fight with Bizarro and Red Hood against the infected people of Qurac, where Jason will use guns, snark and his All-Blades to render the evil from this land....... and for the most part, that's all you'll get here.  Yeah, we have brief vignettes of Artemis taking on Essence, who is currently possessing Jason's former girlfriend Isabel at the moment, but which is still a bit hazy on the details about how and we have Generation Outlaw getting a looky-loo at their new teachers, Monsieur Mallah and the Brain, but ultimately, the fight against The Untitled is the majority of our story here.

This is a weird story overall, where the Outlaws are teaming up with General Glory and the American Government to take on the Untitled, who Jason thought were completely defeated years ago because everything that we thought we knew about the Untitled are being changed for this arc and it isn't playing off as well as I would have liked.  Their motives have changed, their powers and now with the addition of Dark Obelisks that will allow them to open up a doorway to anywhere, it seems that we're playing a whole new ballgame right now, but it's not being explained as well as it could in my opinion.  Instead of getting details that might help the reader understand the situation better, we're getting thrown into action scenes that fill up the majority of the page count and while that's fun overall, it doesn't a good story make......... or something poetic among those lines.  Beyond that though, ever since Artemis and Bizarro have come back from that weird parallel dimension that they were stuck in, the dynamic of this book never really recovered because the fun of the characters working together and even the way they were previously depicted (you know, the aspect of the book that people really loved) just doesn't feel the same anymore and it just feels like something is missing.

All in all, the art is okay, but it's a style that I'm either hit or miss with because it is so similar to Kenneth Rocafort's art, which people love, but which I'm not personally a fan of, but still know it will make a seamless transition in the trades for how similar the styles are.  As for the story, I'm still not sold on the return of the Untitled because of how different they feel from how they were previously depicted and the dynamic of our Outlaws still feels off overall, even though you can still have fun with Red Hood and Bizarro working together in this issue.  Yeah, it's an action-packed thrill ride of guns blazing and swords slashing here, but even with the story progressing to the point where it looks like the Untitled are going to get what they want, there doesn't seem to be a lot of meat to this issue to sink your reading teeth into. 

Bits and Pieces:

While this issue is action-packed, there just wasn't enough to get me really excited for what's to come next because there still seems to be a lot left on the table as far as explanations about why everyone and everything is acting the way that they are in this story, beyond the action element.  The art is okay, but not something I'm a huge fan of, but don't see it being a problem for most fans of this book or even most readers who might just pick it up, but overall I was just looking for more from every aspect of this issue.  


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