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Red Hood and the Outlaws #18 - Last Dance. Last Chance... for Death! Review

5

Left unconscious after the Joker's acid attack, we now dive into Jason Todd's mind for a surprisingly emotional tale.

The Good

RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS has mostly been hit or miss for me, and I say that as a big Jason Todd fan. Issue #18, though? Easily my favorite yet. Scott Lobdell tells a surprisingly moving story and Tyler Kirkham's art is stellar and sets an appropriately dark tone.

This issue is all about Jason Todd's psyche and Lobdell reels you in with his most heartfelt tale yet. There are some deeply powerful moments here as Todd examines his complicated relationships and what needs to be done moving forward. Witnessing Todd's realization of needing Batman and attempting to fight off his past is staggeringly emotional. Lobdell provides some thoroughly vivid Joker dialogue, too (wiping brain matter on his purple suit? Yeesh).

This is all perfectly complimented by Tyler Kirkham's detailed and rough style. He flawlessly executes Todd's elaborate nightmares. Joker's haunting and lightning cracks across the sky and every panel manages to impress. This is all topped by a set of gut-wrenching panels in the conclusion. Arif Prianto's colors add a whole new layer of darkness and despair as we're thrown into Todd's tormented dreams or observing Wayne stay by Todd's side in a gloomy room.

The Bad

Despite having Requiem on the cover, this has nothing to do with Robin (well, he's technically in the dream). This may be off-putting to some, but it's an understandable choice. How would they even fit it in? Batman decides to mope around and talk to himself about Damian while sitting next to Todd? It wouldn't feel appropriate at all.

I'm slightly disappointed the acid attack is leaving no permanent damage, but it's a decision I can somewhat understand. If it was, they have such sophisticated technology that could help him. Scott Snyder's run showcased a digital mask and there's far more they could do to help repair it. Then again, it would have been interesting if it did leave an impact and Todd decided to stick with it as a reminder of his past.. you know, assuming that wouldn't include overflowing amounts of emoness on the side. Regardless, the choice has been made and, seeing as the attack led to one of the most engrossing tales yet, I'm absolutely cool with it.

The Verdict

This story is without question mandatory reading for any Jason Todd fan. Gripping, powerful and visually stunning, Scott Lobdell is leaving the series with one helluva swan song. It doesn't deliver the same amount of feels as the absurdly good BATMAN & ROBIN #18, but it's still an incredibly solid story that'll tug at your heart before all is said and done. Now, it's time to see what James T Tynion IV will do with the trio.

26 Comments
Posted by dondave

My favourite issue by far

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Posted by Kesho_Ronin

Great Issue

Posted by akbogert

I thought this was a fantastic conclusion to Lobdell's tenure on the book (though I was slightly less enraptured than you, but maybe it will grow further on me in subsequent reading). I saw some very negative reviews of this book and I didn't understand that at all; so I was all too happy to write a positive one ^_^

Lobdell may be missed -- or Tynion may eclipse him. Remains to be seen...but Scott didn't make it easy, that's for sure.

Posted by SandMan_

it seems that Jason and Bruce finally made amends... About time.

Posted by LifePool

Was happy to see Jason and Bruce apparently putting both their pasts behind them (without making these macho fighting machines seem like overly emotional saps).

Posted by NightRunner

I almost cried......ok I cried like a baby

Posted by TeamUnitedNerds

I'm sorry, did Lobdell actually write something good?

Posted by akbogert

@TeamUnitedNerds said:

I'm sorry, did Lobdell actually write something good?

Yes, but then that's been the case for over a year now.

Posted by daredevil21134

Jason Todd tells Batman I failed you lol!!! WOW!!He's gone way too soft in the New 52

Posted by jsphsmth

This was the best series Lobdell has written in the DCnU. I would have rather had him leave the Titans and stay on the Outlaws, but I look forward to Tynion's work.

Posted by neiliusprime

@SandMan_ said:

it seems that Jason and Bruce finally made amends... About time.

agree

Posted by Fantasgasmic

The only Bat-Family book that REALLY deserves the Requiem label so far is Nightwing #18. Batgirl #18 had one tacked on scene, this book had nothing at all. And no other books even deserve to be mentioned in regards to REQUIEM.

Posted by akbogert

@Fantasgasmic: I think that Batman at least showed Bruce dealing with the rage/pain, even if it didn't explicitly address its source. But in truth I think it was a stupid thing to slap that on so many books and the rule, rather than the exception, has been having nothing to do with Damian.

@jsphsmth said:

I would have rather had him leave the Titans and stay on the Outlaws, but I look forward to Tynion's work.

QFT.

Posted by BatWatch

I was not nearly as thrilled with it as you mostly because of the handling of Jason's dream sequence. The whole theme of it was that Jason would destroy everyone he loved as long as he held on to the past, but this is a load of crap. Jason has been building good relationships with the Outlaws and he has been restoring relationships with the Bat Family despite still being ticked off about Joker killing him, and really, why shouldn't he be and remain ticked? As such, I felt the entire Jason dream sequence, which made up at least half the issue, to be very light on substance.

On the other hand, Bruce's part of the story was absolutely great, so I agree, it's a must read for Jason fans, but yet, it is more because of what happens to Jason than what Jason himself does.

To see my review, Click Here.

Posted by Rixec

You know, I think there IS a small connection to Damian. Jason says, "There is no place for me there, Bruce. I've tried to be the good soldier -- but even as part of Batman, Inc., I failed you... again!"

What if his failure is Robin dying? I know what you're thinking, how can it be if he was in a coma? The same reason Robin was still alive when his face was burned. A small inconsistency.

Posted by Sleepbutnodream15

Great issue! I'm gonna miss the days when Jason hated Bruce more than anything, but this is what's best for character development.

On another note, I can't wait for the next couple issues where we get to see Red Arrow's past with Green Arrow. I think I even heard Cheshire is joining the team.

Posted by Teerack

Thank god they didn't ruin his face. I was so scared Jason was going to get ruined again.

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Posted by Fantasgasmic

@akbogert: by "Batman-Family books" I meant ones that didn't feature Batman. Nightwing, Red Hood, Teen Titans (sort of), Catwoman, and World's Finest (only because I remember it had the logo). Not bothering to count Birds of Prey or Batwoman since they are even more tangentially related since the reboot.

Batman & Robin, Batman, and even Batman: The Dark Knight, and Detective Comics wouldn't need to all need to feature the same Batman brooding over Damien's grave/stuff scenes to merit a "Requiem" print because his behavior would reflect his emotions. (Although none of my friends nor I are following B:TDK at the moment, and I can't even recall if it's come out since his death).

Posted by akbogert

@Fantasgasmic: Ah. Fair enough.

Posted by pspin

Why couldn't all of Lobdell's run be this good. Don't get me wrong, I have enjoyed it a lot but this was a whole new level and it was really good. Oh well, it was a great end to a good run. I can't wait to see what Tynion has in store for the gang.

Posted by Outside_85

Eh? So he burns off the face in one issue...but it wont have any lasting consequences other than serving as a boot in the rear...I suppose if Barbara broke her spine today she'd be all fixed up the next issue :S

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Posted by akbogert

@Outside_85 said:

Eh? So he burns off the face in one issue...but it wont have any lasting consequences other than serving as a boot in the rear...I suppose if Barbara broke her spine today she'd be all fixed up the next issue :S

As awesome as Oracle was, it was stupid for Babs to get paralyzed in the first place. I applaud the decision not to maim and traumatize characters permanently, especially ones who are carrying a title, just because it'd temporarily make things "interesting" or make an arc "memorable."

Posted by Outside_85

@akbogert said:

As awesome as Oracle was, it was stupid for Babs to get paralyzed in the first place. I applaud the decision not to maim and traumatize characters permanently, especially ones who are carrying a title, just because it'd temporarily make things "interesting" or make an arc "memorable."

In one way I agree with you, that massive trauma can get boring after a while... see the current Batgirl. But on the other hand I disagree, because it ultimately means nothing is actually dangerous to the character and that there really are no consequences.

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Posted by akbogert

@Outside_85: Look at Jason Todd in the beginning of Lobdell's run. Look at him at the end of issue 18. Look at the events and relationships between those two. Look, too, at the lack of lasting trauma. It has not precluded lasting change. In the wake of worry, as a reader, I got relief. And that was enough of a roller coaster to me. Consequences aren't always bad things, you know.

(as for Babs -- her paralyzing had nothing to do with the story that did it; it contributed to how people remembered TKJ but it didn't actually have any important role in how TKJ itself unfolded -- neither Gordon nor Bruce behaved as they did as a result of the injury's long-term effects)

Posted by Iron_Turtle

My imagination, or was Jason wearing a Red Robin costume during one of the flashbacks? We've seen his Robin costume already, and that wasn't it.

Posted by frankcmu

Beautiful... I think this fit in great with the Requiem idea... How fitting is it to reconnect with a former dead robin after the death of the newest robin.... I am a huge Jason Todd fan I have loved this story form issue one, but this one takes the cake as the best issue of Lobdell's run... On a side note we do not know if he has not suffered permeant damage yet...