Written by: Scott Lobdell
Art by: Pete Woods
Colors by: Rex Lokus
Letters by: Troy Peteri
There’s one conflict Jason Todd deals with more than any other: his internal struggle over his feelings toward others. To be clear, Red Hood does not think twice about the villains and crooked individuals he comes across. (If you don’t know that and you’ve read or are going to read Red Hood: Outlaw #35, you’re blatantly ignoring what’s going on.)
This point is relevant again because it’s a theme in Red Hood: Outlaw #35. Back in the New 52, Jason surrounded himself with Arsenal and Starfire, both of which he no longer sees anymore. (Though, he did keep a relationship up with Arsenal, until he died.) Then he had Bizarro and Artemis, who are now off in another dimension (and should have a quick miniseries so we can at least get Artemis back in the fold.) But he’s always been reluctant to develop new relationships. At the same time, once Jason accepts someone into his inner circle, they’re like family.
Which is why it’s funny when Wingman brings up the fact he’s never told Jason his real name. And that Jason’s never asked. Jason makes some statement about trust being overrating, but that’s not how Red Hood works. He knows exactly who he’s getting in bed with. He either trusts Wingman is a solid human — and has good reason to believe that — or he trusts Wingman’s actions and motivation, so he somewhat predict if he’ll betray Jason and how. It feels like Wingman fits the former.
All in all, Red Hood: Outlaw #35 is a good issue. Jason’s narration stood out a bit more than usual. Maybe it’s because Scott Lobdell is throwing a lot in Red Hood’s direction.
Pete Woods and Rex Lokus did an exceptional job with the action this issue. There was one little thing Woods did that was a particularly nice touch.
Now, as much as it’s great Red Hood doesn’t have a buzz cut anymore, it seems like his features have changed quite a bit under Woods’ watch. Meaning, too much in a short period of time. Jason looks like he’s 5-10 years older than he was in Red Hood: Outlaw #26, particularly in his face. He looks great, right now, but continuity, when you’re not changing artists, is important.
(More in-depth spoilers ahead. Don’t read until you’ve finished Red Hood: Outlaw #35.)
“I’m practical as hell.” Sheesh!
So, it never felt like Red Hood was going to die, even in the moment Essence stabbed him. There’s just too much going on with him at this stage. That doesn’t really take away from the moment he gets a Blood Blade to the chest. At least, I was left wondering, “What the heck is his plan here?”
Clearly, he knew what he was doing. But this is definitely not the last we’ll see of Essence, as much as she’s trapped in a sword — supposedly forever.
(Personally, I’d like to see an issue that includes Artemis, Essence, and Isabel all in one issue. Let’s see how that goes for Jaybird.)
The fight with essence was great, too. Lokus did an excellent job with creating a fluid transition. Now, the “one little thing” I appreciated from Woods in the course of this fight was the very beginning of it. When Jason drops his katana and crowbar, I thought he wasn’t fighting Essence. For some reason, I thought he might try to talk it out, given their history. (Stupid me.) And this could have been a decision by Lobdell, but Woods did an excellent job emphasizing Red Hood had thrown down his weapons — only to exchange them for the All-Blades soon after!
Lastly, Penguin is out. Nice job, Bunker.