Wednesday, November 20, 2013

SPOILERS: Red Hood and the Outlaws #25

Zero Year! Gotham is dark, and it's raining, and there's some lady with a sword demanding info on the Red Hood gang. A young Jason Todd is talking to his drugged out mother, about the state Gotham is in, what he had to do to survive, and how he's afraid of what he may become. Then the melodrama is broken up by Jason's dumb friend Chris sneaking up on him, and telling him he found something "amazing."

Turns out Chris found two bodies of slain Red Hood members, and he's heard rumblings of a meeting for all the remaining members, telling Jason that this could be their change to be someone in the city. As they leave, a smiling man in bandages watches from the shadows.

Elsewhere, mysterious sword lady... okay, you know what, spoilers, it's Talia. There. Talia is at a bar, still hunting for info on the Red Hood Gang, and a fight that breaks out carries out into an alley. Jason sees the fight, and thinking the lady might need some help, puts the hood he lifted on, and tries to save the day. Turns out Talia doesn't need much help, but when she tells Jason that she was going to kill the men she was fighting, he tries to attack her, and fails miserably. Talia gives him some free advice on throwing a punch, which he picks up on rather quickly, to her surprise.

Talia then asks Jason what he knows about the Red Hood Gang, he mentions the meeting, and offers to take her to in. There's some time prior, so Talia practices a special martial arts move on a punching bag, mentioning how someone named Ducra said her soul was too dark to be able to pull it off.

The time has come for the meeting, and Jason leads Talia to it, but she knocks him out, preferring him not to be amongst the potential casualties. Inside, a cloaked man is rallying the remnants of the Red Hood Gang, and Talia is happy to see her target.

Outside, Jason comes to, and sees the bandaged up man standing above him, crowbar in hand. Crazy face is somewhat interested in Jason, but Jason isn't interested in him, and tries to run away into the meeting, avoiding a hail of gunfire from his new friend.

Inside, Talia has started to make her move, turns out the guy she's after is one of the Untitled. She tries to execute the move practiced earlier, but fails. Talia believes herself to be defeated, but Jason shows up just in time and tries the move himself, and it works, which allows Talia to cut off the dude's head. Meanwhile, old bandage face is using his crowbar to break a gas main inside the building.

With the rest of the Red Hood Gang starting to close in on Talia, Jason and his dumb friend, Chris, Talia throws down a smoke bomb, allowing them to escape. Meanwhile, Bandages lights a match, and the whole place goes up in one big explosion. A laughable matter to the man who just killed them all.

Talia drops the two boys off, and Chris gets mad that Jason and his "girlfriend" ruined his chance to be in the Red Hood gang. Talia puts a sword to Chris's throat, and tells him to back down, then says goodbye to Jason, believing they'll meet again. Jason also says goodbye to Chris, telling him he wants to be himself and that he's stupid... Can you tell that I think Chris is dumb?

Meanwhile, Talia returns to her home base where someone is waiting for her. OH SURPRISE! She's Talia al'Ghul, and Ra's is there! Oh wait... I already said this... Nevertheless, Talia thinks Jason is someone to keep tabs on.


The Good:

First off, I'm a fan of Jeremy Haun's art, and given the art quality on this title since Rocafort left, this issue was a breath of fresh air. Love his Talia, and love his wrapped up Joker. Definitely a high point of the issue.

I think some of the better Zero Year tie-ins have been those who actually do something unique to the character, rather than "They go out and do something heroic." This issue does just that, and again, weaves in the Untitled and the al'Ghuls into Jason's New 52 past. I may not be a fan of the whole amnesia angle, but I'm not opposed to this stuff. 

Also, while New 52 continuity consistency is a joke, this issue directly contradicts #0's STUPID plot that Joker coordinated Jason's life, effectively retconning a good portion of that nonsense out of existence. Let's hope it stays that way.

The Bad:

I find some stuff, of varying consequence, hard to believe. On stuff that's not really a big deal, I don't believe a random bar thug would be able to land a punch on the daughter of Ra's al'Ghul. Then, I honestly find it really hard to believe that Jason could flawlessly execute some mystical technique first try, special or not.  Chris is a douche, too.

The Bottom Line:

This issue improved on two things. First, the art was way better than it's been in what has to be over a year now, and second, it avoided being yet another generic "would be hero does something heroic" Zero Year story, which many books have fallen into. While some elements here and there are somewhat hard to believe, the visual improvements and the fact that it at least stands out from the other tie-ins, doing something unique, makes this a pretty good stand alone issue in my book.


1 comment :

  1. I still find it strange to see jason with mystical powers