WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
Oh. My. God.
I have the issue in front of my eyes and I am not sure what I just read.
Let’s dive right in to the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of the newest adventures of Red Hood and the Gang.
The Good: They have returned to explain the fate of Bizarro; the heavy hitter of the
team, who was once bestowed with high intelligence, and has now been downgraded to
his usual pronoun laden speech patterns. Before his hyper-intelligent powers reached it’s
sunset, Bizarro used his knowledge of Kryptonian tech to build the Outlaws a base of
operations that makes the Bat Cave look like . . .well a cave. However, the heavily
fortified base is now on high alert, turning against our intrepid Outlaws, with Bizzaro
having no idea how to stop it. A self destruct protocol has been initiated and the team
members are caught in their own mouse trap.
The Bad: The Outlaws have expanded their roster to include a small, Superman shaped
doll named ‘Pup Pup’. It seems that Bizarro has anthropomorphized this small puppet so
much, that it has become real to him. Now a smaller-than-toddler Superman is flying
around in battle and giving Bizarro heartwarming advice. It is unclear whether Pup Pup
is the last vestige of Bizarro’s lost intelligence, or this may be a rehash of an old cliché,
usually reserved for anime or Scooby Doo, that involves a small imp-like, comedic foil
dancing around the a crime-fighting cast. This position was once taken by an annoying
little character named, Bat-Mite; a reality warping toddler from another dimension with
infinite magical powers. Think Scrappy Doo meets Meowth, but dressed like Batman.
Now we have a Superman version, named Pup Pup, who is equally terrible.
Cue the slow golf clap.
The Ugly: Now we get to the meat of this issue. Sorry for the spoilers, but I cannot
review this comic while glancing over this new plot twist.
Red Hood kills the Penguin.
He shoots him. In the head. Blood-covered, monocle laying on the pavement. The last
issue found the Red Hood digging up the grave of his lost father. It ended with him
finding an empty coffin and engaging in battle with some of Penguin’s henchmen. The
Red Hood then tracks down Oswald Cobblepot, who is attending a very public gala.
Reddy Bang-Bang then puts Penguin on his knees, takes off his mask, reveals his identity
as Jason Todd, implicates Penguin in the death of his father, and then shoots Penguin in
the face. He does all of this in front of people, the cops, the local news; bang, game over.
Now the Batman is forced to hunt down Jason Todd to make him accountable for this gruesome murder.
My reaction to all of this is; why? This seems very heavy-handed and unnecessary, even
for Red Hood. I was expecting Jason Todd going to Batman, asking for his help in
finding his long lost father. I was expecting Red Hood breaking into Blackgate Prison
looking for clues. What I was not expecting was the Red Hood walking up to the
Penguin and basically saying, “You may be slightly implicated in the death of my father,
who may not be dead after-all” and then shooting him. Not to mention the fact that Jason
Todd has unmasked himself in front of cameras, which is tantamount to Red Hood
implicating that Bruce Wayne may be Batman.
This series has taken a wide left turn. This is the star pitcher on the mound, signaling a
fast ball, and then pulling out a gun and shooting the mascot. The only signal I am
getting from DC, is that the rule book is out the window, and who knows where Red
Hood will go from here. Will he start killing cops? Will Batman push him into a vat of
acid at Ace Chemical? Will Lex Luthor shit daisies? Your guess is as good as mine.
This new issue leaves a lot of questions, but in the bigger continuity of Batman related
titles, this makes no sense at all.