The big battle in space is over and our team is on its way back to Earth in “Red Hood and the Outlaws #14”. This issue starts us off with a bang as Superman comes alongside and asks for a word with Kori. Awkward! The crew thinks it can help our heroes give Superman the slip by transporting them to Earth using a cloaking program, but a few minutes after being transported to the island hideout, the Man of Steel has already caught up with them. Superman does attempt to have a civilized conversation but is attacked by everyone almost as soon as he appears.
Before the fight can escalate into an all-out backyard brawl, Isabel, the flight attendant, acts as the voice of reason and gets everyone to stand down and talk. It seems that Superman simply wanted to know if an alien that goes by the name if Helspont has contacted Kori in an attempt to have her join his band of extraterrestrials. He had in fact and she told him to get lost. Superman asks Kori to please contact him if she gets any more information. He also lets them know that he would like to take all of them to jail but Batman has vouched for them and away he goes.
Isabel finally gets Jason to take her home and with Roy at the controls they take her back to her apartment in Gotham City. After they arrive Jason and she have a (very) adult conversation and Jason decides to take a shower. When he gets out he finds Isabel unconscious on the floor, near death, similar to how he found his mother in issue #0. The man on the TV lets Jason know that EMT’s are on the way as well as the police. He then removes his mask to revel the Joker. As the police come crashing in, Jason vows that if Isabel dies then so will the Joker.
To say we covered a lot of ground in this issue would be quite the understatement. It really has two different acts, act one being the encounter with Superman and act two the trip to Gotham City. Jason’s inner monologue throughout the Superman encounter is extremely well done; funny, but still offering readers real insight. (There is no doubt that Jason does not trust him at all.) The fight scene is just embarrassing as the team has no shot against Superman’s strength, power, awesomeness, etc. Superman throws some smug insults at the team and then effortlessly knocks them down, all except innocent bystander Isabel, of course. Simply put, this is just a fun read – from Superman eavesdropping on Roy on the ship to his quips about them trying to fight him as a team.
Isabel’s intervention between the team and Superman is brief and I am sure that if we did not have to jump onto the second part of the book to set up the “Death of the Family” crossover issues, this could have easily been an entire issue. I do find Superman’s comments about Batman vouching for the team to be very interesting; probably something to do with the events in “Batman Incorporated #4”. It certainly seems like Jason and the Bat are on slightly better terms at this point.
My reaction to finding out Isabel lives in Gotham City was the same as Jason’s – that figures. (We know Jason has been attempting to avoid Gotham, but a love interest in the city will complicate that.) Also, I am left wondering if Roy and Kori will be making an appearance in the Death of the Family crossover books or if they will simply come back towards the end to pick Jason back up after that story has run its course. I do hope that they are around for a good part of the action. I guess we will find that out in the coming months.
Although we all can all see Isabel’s attack coming pages away, its effect on Jason’s psyche is well handled. For him, this is a horrible flashback to how he found his mom. Now, his girl is dying, not sure if she will survive or not, the cops are busting down the door, and the Joker is back, a reveal that was a bit anti-climactic because we all know where this is heading. Jason is definitely in a bad place.
I really enjoy the art in this title and this issue is no exception. The cover is focused on Kori in her new costume and of course, Superman. I am very glad that Kori seems to have kept her costume from the last issue. I prefer it quite a bit over her traditional one. The page where Jason finds Isabel unconscious is the best of the book and the split screen effect of Jason’s Mom and Isabel is my favorite panel of the entire issue.
Overall I think “Red Hood and the Outlaws #14” is extremely strong and one of my favorite issues of the series so far. According to the tag line next month we will get Red Robin and the Teen Titans and what sounds bad about that? If you have been thinking about picking up this title then jump on in, the water feels great!
Red Hood and the Outlaws #14:
Reviewed by Ed Grause