Family Matters. This Issue...Not So Much.
Red Hood and the Outlaws #16 - (Death of the Family Tie-In)
Released: Wednesday, January 23rd
Written by: Scott Lobdell
Art by: Timothy Green II
Cover by: Tyler Kirkham
The previous issue of RHatO proved that tying into Scott Snyder's massive Death of the Family story was possible without losing the integrity of the book. Focusing primarily on Jason and his confrontation with the psycho who killed him, the book featured a bit of comic relief with Roy and Kori and set up a potentially good follow-up. While not the best issue in Lobdell's run, the salient point is that issue #15 felt like an Outlaws book.
Miraculously, this issue takes everything #15 did right and inverts it, resulting in what is indisputably the weakest since the book's inception as well as one of the worst tie-ins for this event (which, frankly, is saying something). Over the course of its meagre 18 pages, we see our fearless leader Jason in only a single frame, leaving the remainder of the book to be carried by his partners in crime. Or, more accurately, to be carried by the characters from Lobdell's other (and typically unpopular) book, New 52's Teen Titans. And that's what this feels like: a Teen Titans book with cameos from the Outlaws, complete with all that series' woes. For the first time in RHatO, I finally understand why some people don't like Lobdell.
Timothy Green's art is somewhat hit or miss for most folks; personally, I liked it. Unfortunately, it does little to support Scott's uncharacteristically poor performance. While the Titans have their moments (I admittedly laughed out loud at Kid Flash's rather lewd "disclosure"), the majority of their appearance is lackluster at best. When the book shines, it does so via merciful cutaways to new characters (setting up the next arc for this book, which sounds like it will be awesome). Lobdell, then, isn't a bad writer, but for whatever reason he and Red Robin's crew simply aren't meshing.
Despite Kirkham's gorgeous cover, there's not much familiar or memorable about this week's issue, and its consequences -- for both RHatO and DotF -- are negligible. If you're not a completionist or are running a tight budget, by all means skip this one or wait for the digital price to go down next month.