Who's Laughing Now?
Overall I've been really enjoying this series. Since Jason Todd came back from the dead way back in Under the Hood I've became a big fan of the character, and think that he's being used a lot better now as Red Hood than he was when he was Robin, so I was ecstatic when this series came out. Okay it's not been perfect, but apart from last issue most of the series has been very good.
This issue was brilliant and one of the best in the series so far. To be honest after the disastrous last issue this is exactly what this series needed, as I along with many other Red Hood fans would be very upset if it got into a similar type of phase to Scott Lobdell's other series Teen Titans. Luckily it's not and Lobdell has produced something fabulous. For an aftermath issue this was very well written, and had lots of emotions in it. It also had some humor, and reminiscing which was nice, and it sets the next RHATO story up nicely. I really hope that Lobdell can continue in this manor, and that he involves other members of the Bat-Family more often in the series, but without ruining the Outlaws as team.
The art in this issue was fantastic, but first of all I have to talk about the cover. There have been a few covers inspired by the famous page from A Death in the Family, but this has to be my favourite. Mico Suayan has done an amazing job with the cover, and despite all the wonderful details I love that the actual image has Batman holding a dead Red Hood in his arms the same way as he held Jason when he died in A Death in the Family, with the reflection shown a more modern take on the image from that actual even, with Jason as Robin. The interior art was from three different people, former Batgirl artist Ardian Syaf, Robson Rocha, and Ken Lashley. As I've said in the past I'm usually not happy when multiple artists work on the same issue, but this time I wasn't too bothered. The only artist that I've seen work from in the past is Syaf, so I was able to recognize his art, but having not seen either of the other two artists work before I wasn't sure which lot of art was which. It didn't really matter as I preferred Syaf, who gave the same style he used in Batgirl, which actually really suited this series. Overall most of the art was very detailed, with the odd imperfection, but I still liked it all the same. I would however like to see Syaf as a regular artist on this series, as since Kenneth Rocafort left the series Syaf's art has been the best.
I loved the way this issue opened with the surprise discovery from Roy, and Starfire that Jason is still alive. I also liked this as it shows that despite being a Death of the Family aftermath issue it's still an Outlaws issue, and that despite the issue being focused on Jason, and his interaction with the remaining members of the Bat-Family they will still be involved.
The thing I liked the most about this series was Jason's interaction with the Bat-Family. Being the main part of the issue it was bound to be one of my favourite parts, and if I didn't like it the issue would have been very dull. I've been wanting to see Jason interact with the Bat-Family ever since the series started, and although I've loved seeing him, Roy, and Starfire working as a team, and don't want that to stop anytime soon, I was still wanting to see some Bat-Family involvement. From his interaction with current Robin Damian Wayne to first Robin and current Nightwing Dick Grayson, butler Alfred, and final all dark an brooding Batman himself, Bruce Wayne, all being very interesting. The most interesting of all these however was obviously Batman. Although his conversation with Dick was also interesting (will talk a little more on that later) his conversation with Bruce was was the one I'd wanted to see. The thing I think that made the conversation between these two so good was the briefness of it. Jason has been very stubborn since coming back from the dead, hating Bruce for not killing Joker, and has been trying to avoid him since (at least as far as the New 52 has shown), so it was natural that the two wouldn't speak much. The conversation they had was however very interesting, and without spoiling it, it was something that Jason had to get of his chest.
Jason's conversation with Dick was also very interesting. This conversation was something else that I'd seen coming for a while. Although I've not read anything that shows this myself, through reading background history, and flashbacks in the New 52 I know that Dick used to be in a relationship with Starfire, so it was a matter of time before this was focused on a bit more. Although it doesn't delve much into the matter it does show that it's there, and shows potential for further development of this in the future.
The only thing that I was a bit confused with in this issue was the absence of Red Robin (Tim Drake), the only member of the Bat-Family that Jason is able to talk to on a more regular basis (although not regular, a lot more regular that the remaining members of the Bat-Family). After the two having a crossover during Death of the Family it's natural that they won't have an encounter any time soon, but with this type of story I'd have thought that it would. The reasoning for this will probably be shown in the new issue of Teen Titans next week, and it will most likely be that he's not returned to Wayne Manor since.
The only thing I felt negative about the issue was the ending. Don't get me wrong there isn't actually anything wrong with the ending, and in fact it was very well written, but the problem I have is that it's already been stated what might have happened to Jason, and I think it would have been more of a surprise if it wasn't mentioned in interviews, or solicits. I however won't mention what happens so I don't spoil it for anyone that knows nothing about the future of the series, but will repeat that it would have been better if nobody knew prior to this.
One of the best issues in the series so far this is a phenomenal issue. I'd highly recommend both this issue, and most of the series (although if you're getting most you might as well get them all, as there are only a couple of poor issues).