Last month we ended with Jason Todd’s unconscious body being dropped next to Tim Drake who also was taking a nap. The Titans and the Outlaws were looking to team up to track down their leaders who had both gone missing.
Before going on much further, one thing to note is that the story in this month’s issue is a direct continuation from the end of Teen Titans #15, not the end of Red Hood #15. To sum that issue up in simple terms, Tim Drake had his own little interlude with the Joker. His team combed the city looking for him, but they only succeeded in spreading Joker toxin far and wide, much to their dismay and the Joker’s delight. As they were being attacked by some infected citizens of Gotham, Roy and Kori from the Outlaws showed up. With that said, let’s dive into Red Hood and the Outlaws #16!
The story opens with the combined forces of the Outlaws and the Titans taking on the infected, and now transformed, people of Gotham in a battle royale. Roy quickly tries to take command of the situation and receives some push back from Wonder Girl. Using some of the high tech science equipment aboard the Outlaws ship, Roy identifies what is needed to save those that have been poisoned and, more importantly, where it is. Cut to a small flashback of some more Roy and his AA sponsor Killer Croc. Back in the action, Wonder Girl, Solstice, Kid Flash and Kori break away to get the antidote while Roy and Bunker stay behind and attempt to deal with those who have been “jokerized”. Of course, the antidote is booby trapped by the Joker but thanks to some quick thinking and even quicker footwork, Kid Flash saves his team and the antidote.
Then, out of nowhere, we get a full page of Hugo Strange doing a book signing with some exposition about what a manipulative evil man he is.
Continuing the story, our heroes reunited and Kid Flash administers the cure, allowing everyone to return to normal. It seems that the Titans and the Outlaws will be collaborating at least one more issue while they are still looking for their leaders.
Now it is Deathstroke’s turn to get a full page spread. It seems although he normally kills for money he is looking forward to killing Jason, Roy, and Kori for free. Very ominous.
On the last page, we get our glimpse of the Joker doing something with one the Red Hood masks. It seems likely Jason will soon be waking up to an unhappy surprise.
A resolution to the cliffhanger we ended on last month will obviously have to wait. We do not even get a hint of an outcome to that situation in this issue. And not just the Joker storyline, but also the storyline involving Isabel and Bullock is completely forgotten about as well. There is nothing more annoying than plot strands that are skipped for a few months, or worse, left open-ended indefinitely for no particular reason. I think that a better concept than a two-team, team-up inside a massive crossover would have been a more focused story involving Roy and Kori looking for Jason with a second plot of Bullock investigating Isabel’s predicament. They have spent the last handful of issues telling us how important she is and just like so many story strands it seems in the modern comic we can worry about that next month. It certainly would have made for a more well-rounded and enjoyable story.
But now that I have yapped on about what was not in this issue, let’s talk about what was actually in this issue. There was some fun moments between Wonder Girl and Roy as she seems to have a good deal of animosity towards him thus creating some pretty weighty tension, but to be honest I am not really sure what that’s all about. If you have not been reading Teen Titans with the exception of Red Robin you do get to see the whole team in action in one way or another in this issue. And overall, the main story is fairly straightforward and sufficient for what it was supposed to be – an excuse to team up both of Lobdell’s team books for an adventure together.
Outside of the main story we get four, one-page breaks in the action. I don’t really have a problem with the placement or the content of the Killer Croc and Joker appearances. Of course, the idea that Killer Croc was a sponsor for Roy in AA still comes across as somewhat bizarre but that has been a part of the storyline for over a year now so it falls under “it is what it is”. The Joker closing page is fine – just fine, not surprising or interesting in any way. I feel its sole purpose is to serve as a reminder that we will be getting back to the Joker next month. The other two breaks involving Hugo Strange and Deathstroke really seem as though they could have waited until the Death of the Family storyline was over. They disruptively appear out of nowhere and are just as quickly forgotten. (Is it just me or does there seem to be a lot of that happening?)
The art in this issue is the same level of quality that we have become accustomed to in this title. One thing that did seem to be missing was a large splash page. With both teams in action in a large battle sequence, we may have really missed what could have been a very good use of a splash. However, the cover is one of my favorites for this title’s entire run so far. It is very well done with the reflections of Kori and Roy on the Red Hood working amazingly well to add some real depth.
All in all, the book was fine for what it was. That’s about as far as I can go with it. No one really thought we would get any real closure outside of Batman. The issue did feel a little chopped up due to the amount of drop in pages, but overall it was a fun romp, if not exactly what I was hoping for.
Red Hood and the Outlaws #16:
Reviewed by Ed Grause