If you ever decide to go to Paris, France, please keep in mind that the air is refined, the food is rich, and the outlaws are red. Want to know more? Then please check out the following adventure created by Scott Lobdell, Pete Woods, Rex Lokus, and published by DC Comics in June, 2019.

TO QUOTE Euripides: “Friends show their love in times of trouble, not in happiness.

After the explosive confrontation depicted at the end of last month’s episode, this month, Jason decides to go to ParisFrance, in order to sit back, relax, and go on a romantic dinner-date with his old flame, Isabel

Well, that’s what he says he’s going to do! But hey, we know Jason, right? As he’s the type of guy who’s always got other things going on, just like his current arch-nemesis, The Penguin!  Want to know more? Then please pick up issue 34 of Red Hood: Outlaw today. In the meantime though, here, let me tell you what I thought of it… 

Now, first and foremost, please allow me to begin by saying that Scott Lobdell did a splendid job at fleshing out Jason’s involvement with the All Caste. Well, not only does he expand upon Jay’s back-story and elaborate on his time with them, but in addition to this, he also develops a lore surrounding these mystical monks by answering a number of questions many of us have wanted to have answered since 2011, when they were first introduced.

Similarly, Lobdell  acknowledges the events of the previous series, ‘Red Hood / Arsenal’ (my favorite period for Red Hood),  by smartly utilizing Isabel’s character to humanize Jason, ground him, and then touch upon certain aspects of his personality that we haven’t seen in quite awhile, such as his passionate side, for instance.

That said, however, I’m afraid to say that the first half of the book is a lot stronger than the second half of the book, largely due to a noticeable disconnect between a number of key events. Not all key events, just some of them, almost as if there’s something missing which could properly tie everything together. Although, on second thoughts, this might be a problem with the episodic format alone. So to be fair, I think it's best to hold back my judgment until the story is finally finished and hope it will read better in the trade

Now, where the art is concerned,  I must applaud Pete Woods for producing some stellar looking visuals for this month’s European adventure, particularly his realistic rendition of the Eiffel Tower, as well as his dreamlike Parisian landscapes that perfectly fit a romantic dinner-date. On a personal note, though, my top-pick would have to be Pete’s glorious one-panel reinterpretation of ‘Red Hood / Arsenal’ #2, mainly because Medri’s costume for Jason is an instant classic and very nicely designed.

Yet, having said all that, Pete’s pictures wouldn’t look as good as they do without Rex Lokus’ excellent color palette. After all, it’s pretty clear that the two of them have grown fairly comfortable with one another! So much so, in fact, that their styles complement and harmonize with each other's work, with Lokus' palette helping Woods’ art to convey the emotions in Lobdell’s script. Heck, just check out those Parisian backdrops I just mentioned, and you can clearly see how Rex beautifully handles the atmospheric lighting glistening over the city.

For this month’s musical match-up, I’m going to align this adventure with the Dire Straits’ song, ‘Brothers in Arms’, simply because a good slice of the story revolves around Jason talking to Isabel about his time with his long lost brother, Roy Harper.

One of the main themes expressed throughout this adventure would have to be how certain characters compare and contrast their current activities to their past transgressions. From Jason catching up with Isabel about their shared history together, to the wistful way he looks back at his previous visit to Paris, all in all, the influence is undeniable in regards to the passage of time. Similar, in many ways, to how someone might feel when looking at an old album of photos and remembering about the good and bad times, both yesterday and today.

I’m glad to say that this series is getting better and better by the issue because the stories are more focused, the characters have more depth, and the artwork is just beautiful to look at. Heck, even the supporting cast receives a decent amount of page-time and a fair amount of growth.  So, what is there to complain about? Nothing! Nothing at all! Which is why you have to definitely add this book to your collection. 

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

RED HOOD: OUTLAW #34 RED HOOD: OUTLAW #34 Reviewed by David Andrews on June 11, 2019 Rating: 5

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