akbogert's Red Hood and the Outlaws #18 - Last Dance. Last Chance... for Death! review

Denouement

EDIT: In case you're wondering, this is another book where DC arbitrarily slapped "Requiem" on the front; don't expect any fallout from Batman Inc. here.

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Whatever opinions you hold about Scott Lobdell, his personality, or how he writes other books, one thing is pretty clear: he has made the story of Jason, Kori, and Roy a fun and memorable one. After juggling several crossover issues, Lobdell had two books left to grapple with the fallout of Snyder's opus while trying to close the chapter on two stories: Jason's, and his own. Undoubtedly, Issue 17 was the climax, the explosive, shocking pinnacle of Scott's run. Issue 18, then, is the reflective denouement.

If you saw the previews for this issue, you know it begins in a nightmarish re-visitation of the home of the All-Caste, where Jason and crew came to do battle with other demons of his past; fitting, then, that as he lies in an induced coma following the surprise ending of the last issue, he returns to that familiar locale (from the book's first arc) to do battle with his past and his demons once more.

The key to this issue is reflection. If you're expecting forward motion, wait until Tynion comes in next month to set the book's new pace. Also don't expect to see much of Roy or Kori. These pages are all about Jason facing who he is, who he has been, who he wants to become. There are various authority figures at play -- his parents, Bruce, Alfred, Ducra, even Joker -- all of whom have had a hand in shaping Jason's destiny; but ultimately, it is up to him to decide what defines his life.

Tyler Kirkham's gorgeous artwork (no, it's still not Rocafort, but it'll do) does a masterful job of bring the metaphorical commentary on Jason's psyche to life. Most of the issue takes place in Jason's head (don't worry, that's not a spoiler), the sort of life-flashing-before-your-eyes moment you'd expect to occur prior to either death or resurrection. In Jason's case, it's a bit of both.

Lobdell's vision is clear and gripping, and he concludes on a very satisfying note, with two nigh-wordless pages that I think, after all this time, have been well-earned. Wary readers who have been on the fence about this series and had convinced themselves to just wait until Lobdell was done before starting: I encourage you to pick this one up. It's a swan song worth hearing for a Jason who will be a bit different as Tynion takes over in April.

Lobdell doesn't exactly end his run with a bang. But he definitely doesn't end on a whimper, either.

2 Comments
Edited by MadeinBangladesh

!?!?!? How did you give it half star?

Posted by akbogert

@madeinbangladesh: I have absolutely no clue. In fact it's safe to say I probably didn't :)

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    Last Dance, Last Chance for...Death!Red Hood and the Outlaws has been pretty consistent at delivering fun stories. Granted, it is not the deepest comic book series on the market, and as some have pointed out, Lobdell's (former writer of Uncanny X-Men and current writer for Red Hood and the Outlaws, Teen Titans, Superboy and Superman strong suit as a writer is not subtlety, but still, I can't think of a single issue of RHATO (minus the Death of the Family crossover issues) that I did not enjoy.To...

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