Sniff-Sniff! Can you smell that? Can you smell that pungent aroma wafting in the breeze? In a strange way, it kind of reminds me of a parade of beautiful women strolling through a field of fresh flowers! Although, to be fair, none of these women will ever show up in the following adventure! It was created by Scott Lobdell, Pete Woods, Rex Lokus, and published by DC Comics in May, 2019.

TO QUOTE Angelos Ioannis, The Reencounter: A Spiritual Journey:Even if you miss a hundred opportunities, there are a million ways for the river to flow into the sea”.

Do you remember Essence?  The mysterious assassin that was once a member of The Outlaws! Well, if you do, then you might like to know that she has recently been talking to Ducra, the former Grandmaster of the All-Caste, simply because she’s extremely worried about her previous lover, Jason Todd.  

But, if truth be told, I don’t really think she has anything to worry about. After all, Jason is the new owner of the Iceberg Lounge, and generally, he's well fed, well dressed, and well protected, even when he suddenly gets attacked by a gang of hooligans who are searching for their old boss, The Penguin!  Want to know more? Then please pick up issue 33 of Red Hood: Outlaw today. In the meantime though, here, let me tell you what I thought of it… 

Well, first and foremost, please allow me to begin by saying how happy I am that Scott Lobdell has brought back the All-Caste, Essence, and Ducra, because given the number of changes brought about by Rebirth, their collective status within Jason’s backstory hasn't been made very clear. In fact, many of us thought they were dead, or worst still, completely removed altogether. So, seeing them again was a nice surprise, that’s for sure, and I for one am eager to find out what ‘business’ they have with their former pupil.

Now, from a story standpoint, I’d say that if the previous episode was about establishing Jason’s new status quo as an owner of a casino, then this episode was about seeing what he does during a regular working day. This includes him talking shop, signing papers, scoping out the main floor, and of course, being attacked by a swarm of Z-grade villains in order to spice up the plot. Not greatly, mind you, but a bit, all thanks to Lobdell's trademark high-octane action scenes. What’s more, we also got to see a small sequence featuring a previous cast member that once showed a lot of promise. So, with a little luck, touch wood, she will be sticking around as well, or at the very least, get a better send off this time.

Actually, while I’m on the topic of touching wood, knock-knock, this phrase brings me quite nicely onto the artist who drew this particular episode. Namely, Pete Woods, (don’t groan) who’s back on drawing duties again with his usual style of illustration! Well, as I’ve said during some of my other reviews, I’m not normally a big fan of how he draws people’s faces, as they look squishy in places and pug-like in others. Yet, having said that, there’s still no denying that he’s a very talented man when it comes down to drawing backgrounds and conveying ambiance. Heck, just take a look at the eerie way he constructs The Hundred Acres of All, or in sharp contrast, the luxurious way he composes The Iceberg Lounge, and in each case, you can clearly see that Pete is a master craftsman and is just great at doing his job. Similarly, his fighting sequences also pack one hell of a mean punch -- Ka-Pow -- because each one he composes includes small background details, a clever paneling technique, and so much stuff and ephemera that you can find something new on every subsequent read. 

Someone else who’s also on top form this month is Rex Lokus, the regular colorist. Although, in his case, he makes sure that his color palette is very versatile and conforms to the different parts of the plot, doing so by tonally shifting his hues between sombre (The Hundred Acres of All), rustic (the abandoned Fish Processing Factory), and bright (The Iceberg Lounge), depending on the situation and the type of scenery on display.

For this month’s musical match-up, I’m going to equate this episode with the Simple Mind’s song, ‘Don’t You (forget about me)’, simply because the main theme behind them both revolves around the notion of two people coming together after spending some time apart. Or in other words, a reunion, a reunion where two ‘old acquaintances’ meet inside a casino and, coff-coff, reconnect. 

So far, throughout this story, The Penguin’s presence has been fairly subdued and pretty low key. Although, just like the snake in the grass that he naturally is, I’m sure he’s only getting ready to make Jay pay for underestimating him.

Hiss-Hiss! Comparison made. 

I’m happy to say that the current creative team has produced a really great book this month because they’ve managed to advance the story in ways no one truly expected. Hopefully, they will keep this momentum going and make us wish that this series would go bi-weekly and not just monthly. So, go on, what are you waiting for? Don’t miss this issue of Red Hood: Outlaw and pick it up today, especially those of you who were fans of the N52 run.

*** This review was brought to you by Adan, Comic Lad Extraordinaire.

RED HOOD: OUTLAW #33 RED HOOD: OUTLAW #33 Reviewed by David Andrews on May 07, 2019 Rating: 5

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