Red Hood

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Red Hood‘s undercover mission inside Black Mask‘s criminal organization is put in jeopardy by the realization that the crime lord has gotten his hands on Bizarro. Jason attempts to make nice with the immensely powerful Superman clone while also attempting to keep his cover intact. Well, one out of two ain’t bad.

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With both Artemis and the Superman clone now prisoners of Black Mask, the Red Hood struggles with how to proceed. Watching the deformed creature go through a similar process of rebirth as he himself survived at the hands of the Lazarus Pit, Jason can’t help but feel some empathy for Bizarro.

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While still keeping the focus on Red Hood, Red Hood and the Outlaws #2 introduces us to one of the characters who will eventually make up a third of the new team. While attempting to acquire a weapon for Black Mask, Jason Todd runs into an unexpected complication in the form of the Amazon Artemis who is also searching for a powerful weapon on the derailed train. While it takes the a little while to consider they may be after different prizes, the pair fight and then form a tentative truce as the series reveals just what Black Mask is after – the eventual third member of the team.

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Just like Red Hood and the Outlaws: Rebirth #1, Red Hood and the Outlaws #1 proves to be an entirely Red Hood-focused story. This actually turns out to work quite well and, not for the first time, I’m wondering if the character actually needs odd sidekicks to make his own series work.

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Red Hood and the Outlaws: Rebirth #1 doesn’t introduce us to the new Outlaws, but the issue does catch-up readers on the history of Jason Todd from street urchin to Robin the Boy Wonder to the Red Hood. It also introduces a plot to keep Jason a part of the extended Bat-Family but still separate from its core members. It’s a little odd that both Red Hood and Nightwing are going undercover with underground criminal organizations, but the set-up (at least for me) works far better here than with Dick Grayson.

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Look, I’m all for DC finally putting out a Red Hood action figure but did they really have to choose the character’s worst possible costume that makes he look like a walking red-headed prick? The penis-head can be your for the low, low price of $20.

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The All Caste/League of Assassins storyline comes to an end here with a tale about as confusing as everything else concerning the All Caste as Jason Todd punches all the magic out of Ra’s al Ghul thus saving the world and fulfilling his destiny. Seriously, that’s what happens.

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While Starfire and Roy Harper fight among each other, with Professor Hugo Strange (who in the New 52 is Roy’s psychologist), and with The Untitled who make a dramatic entrance to break-up Roy’s latest session, the Red Hood flees from members of the League of Assassins who are chasing him down (but not for the reason he thinks).

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The Red Hood and the Outlaws Annual picks up the recent storyline as a mind-wiped Jason Todd returns home to the secluded island with Starfire and Arsenal only to begin investigating the past he worked so hard to forget. Yeah, nobody saw that coming. Sigh.

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Red Hood and the Outlaws #20 picks up with Starfire and Arsenal trying to convince the magic monk who has wiped Jason Todd‘s mind clean to return his friend’s lifetime of horrible memories, whether he wants them or not. The question of whether or not we are more than the sum of our memories and whether bad memories are better than none at all is debated as it appears the New 52 editorial staff have decided what’s best for Red Hood is a clean slate.

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