The Essence Of Jason Todd In Red Hood: Outlaw #35
by Josh Davison
[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]
Despite his better judgement, the Red Hood has come to appreciate his crew, including Wingman and Suzie Su. Unfortunately, Essence has come to Gotham City. She and Ducra have seen what Jason Todd has wrought through the Iceberg Lounge, and they want him back in the Thousand Acres of All. The All-Caste wants Jason back with them or dead. The Red Hood opts for neither.
Red Hood: Outlaw #35 brings the All-Caste, Ducra, and Essence back to the forefront of Jason Todd’s story. They are the ones who trained Jason Todd once he returned from the dead, and he’s had a tumultuous relationship with them ever since he left.
I’m really coming to appreciate the weird mystical story that Scott Lobdell (with some help from James Tynion IV) has built into the backstory of the Red Hood now. He’s the main writer to have written Jason Todd stories since the beginning of the New 52, and Red Hood and the Outlaws’ weird internal mythos is quite charming.
It makes for good drama, even if it wavers into the realm of melodrama at times. The conflict between Jason and Ducra and Essence shows that he didn’t just leave Batman; Jason has a penchant for shirking grand responsibility, even if he still values his interpersonal bonds.
Some of the dialogue and narration gets a little weak in this issue too, but it honestly doesn’t do enough to knock the story of balance.
Pete Woods’ artwork is once again an excellent fit for Red Hood. It’s sleek and expressive, and Woods knows how to use shadows well. It has a cartoonish quality to it that is well-suited to the high drama and otherworldly action which Jason Todd attracts into his life. Rex Lokus’ color art is heavily contrasting and pops off the page well.
Red Hood: Outlaw #35 is another flawed yet intensely fun issue in Jason Todd’s series. Essence returns into Jason’s life, and he must grapple with having attracted the attention of the All-Caste while realizing he’s built himself yet another new family of friends he’s afraid to lose. This one gets a recommendation. Pick it up.
Red Hood: Outlaw #35 comes to us from writer Scott Lobdell, artist Pete Woods, color artist Rex Lokus, letterer Troy Peteri of A Larger World Studio, cover artist Cully Hamner, and variant cover artist Yasmine Putri.
Final Score: 7.5/10