RED HOOD: OUTLAW #37 & #38

Ding-Ding-Ding! Come on everyone, gather around because school is now in session and it’s time for you to learn something new! So trundle on over here, Scott Lobdell, Kenneth Rocafort, and Steve Firchow, and prepare yourselves for the school of DC Comics. It’s October, 2019, and it’s time for Red Hood to get out his teaching stick! Slap!

TO QUOTE William Arthur Ward:The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”

After agreeing to Lex Luthor’s dubious offer, Jason Todd now finds himself facing a role he never expected to fulfill! That of, being a teacher!

So, with individuals like a sentient strand of DNA currently under his wing, along with a genius three-month-old baby being carried around by her mother’s carcass, the question remains, will Jason be able to teach this bunch of kids everything they need to know in order to become a successful villain? And if he can, would he be able to live with the fact that he trained the next wave of planetary conquerors? To find out, please pick up issue 37 and 38 of Red Hood: Outlaw today! In the meantime, though, here, check this out...

Overall, I’d say Scott Lobdell’s current run of stories has been a roller coaster ride of ups and downs because some showed a lot of promise while others failed to hit their mark. Yet, as luck would have it, these two issues are part of his “Ups”, on account of Jason's new role as a teacher working surprisingly well so far, and proving that he’s possibly the most versatile member of the Bat-family (able to work in any setting, no matter how odd or outrageous it is). So, with that said, please allow me to present you with the following five sections detailing the strengths and weaknesses of these two issues.

1) Generation O: In the past, I’ve stated that Lobdell has a talent for creating new and interesting characters full of attitude, emotion, and personality. In this case, though, it seems fairly obvious that Generation O was a group effort, but only because Rocafort was able to depict each member of the team to their fullest potential.

2) Doomed: Just like Bunker before him, “Doomed is a conflicted comic book character created by Scott Lobdell for another series he previously penned. But unlike Bunker, he's not gay or a member of the Teen Titans, yet he is a brilliant young man who gets infected by Doomsday’s spores and is able to turn into a sort of Mini-Doomsday himself. As we can see from the cover of issue 38, his infection has progressed since we saw him last. So will Jason be able to help?

3) Shay Veritas and The Block: Another of Lobdell’s creations (this time from his tenure as Superman writer) is Dr. Shay Veritas, otherwise known as “The Smartest Woman in the World”, who's currently in charge of a mysterious otherworldly complex and a part of Lex Luthor’s plans for Generation Outlaw. I’ve always found Shay to be an interesting character, so it’s a treat to see her as part of this arc’s supporting cast.

4) Kenneth Rocafort: Since Red Hood and the Outlaws debuted way back in 2011, a broad array of different artists have been able to bring their adventures to life in a number of distinct ways. But while some of them were good, some of them were bad, and some of them were damn right ugly, if truth be told, nobody has left a bigger impression than Kenneth Rocafort, and goes to show, that his return to this book (even if it is just temporary) is possibly the biggest draw for some of the fans.

5) The Bad: Regrettably, both of these stories suffer from being confined within an episodic format and constrained to fit a certain number of pages. Inadvertently, this means that each episode has to juggle multiple plotlines and multiple characters at exactly the same time, without giving either of them a proper amount of breathing room to focus accordingly. Personally, I think that this is detrimental for the kids of Generation O as we only get the bare minimum to understand who they really are. That said, however, issue 38 did present us with a better look at the Devour and Doomed backstories, so hopefully, the rest will get their time to shine in the following issues.

Even though Jason isn't teaching the kids of Generation O something you'd find in a normal school curriculum, in the same breath, I'd like to think that the Hall & Oates’ song, 'Adult Education', captures the overall mood of these two issues.

I might be cheating here, but c’mon, how could I not compare the events depicted in this story to somebody's First Day of School? After all, most of the needed elements are there, including a group of outcasts, a stern but skillful teacher, and plenty of misfortunes that will bring them all together. Heck, there’s even an apple for the teacher!

All in all, I'd say the Generation O storyline has definitely hit the ground running by presenting us with an entertaining cast of characters, a gorgeous array of artwork, as well as the witty writing of Scott Lobdell. But, the question remains, who's going to get the best marks in the class? I mean, could it be...

  1. Devour: For his initiative.
  2. Cloud 9: For her unpredictability.
  3. Babe in Arms: For her genius.
  4. DNA: For their versatility.
  5. Doomed: For his raw power.

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

RED HOOD: OUTLAW #37 & #38 RED HOOD: OUTLAW #37 & #38 Reviewed by David Andrews on October 14, 2019 Rating: 5

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