Red Hood: Requiem for An Archer by Scott Lobdell, Pete Woods and Rex Lokus
DC Comics, pb, £11.53
Reviewed by Sarah Deeming
I’m going to start with a spoiler alert. If you haven’t read Batman: Death of in the Family or Heroes in Crisis, then you might want to read those first. I promise there are no spoilers about new material.
Jason Todd (Red Hood) is on the run. After shooting The Penguin in the head at the end of Red Hood and the Outlaws: Good Night Gotham, Batman made it clear that Jason had crossed the final line and gave him the mother of all beatings. The only reason Jason is still walking is that his best friend, Roy Harper (Arsenal) saved him at the last minute. Roy takes Jason to the island where they had first met Starfire then leaves him there to recover while Roy checks into a rehab centre for superheroes. It is the last time the two are together before Roy is killed (Heroes in Crisis), and Jason begins a cross-country journey to finish Roy’s last mission as a homage to his friend.
Jason Todd is back in a new series and he has a new look which we should take a moment to appreciate. Gone is the full-face mask in favour of a new lower face covering and the separate eye mask which he always wore under his red hood anyway, because you never know when you’re going to need backup identity protection. He’s also using a crowbar as a weapon, showing us just how far Jason has moved on from his first death at the hands of the Joker.
This story is the next step in Jason’s self-discovery. He has matured and demonstrates caution and planning, as well the restraint not to kill everyone who crosses him. While I may have started reading Red Hood because I love anti-heroes who are willing to become a monster for the sake of everyone else, I’m still reading it because bit by bit, Jason is learning, and adapting. The way he handles some of the personal revelations that come his way is very different from the way he handles similar bombshells in Good Night Gotham pre-his beating from Batman. That’s the benefit of having Scott Lobdell continuing Jason’s storyline, Lobdell’s been working on Jason for so long, he can make the personality changes believable and within scope of what has gone before.
At the end of Good Night Gotham, Artemis and Bizarro are sent to another reality. We follow their storyline a little, enough to know they are alive and that it won’t be easy getting back home. The small amount we do see shows us something has gone terribly wrong where they are and people with powers like theirs may not be welcome.
As with all of the Red Hood series’, Requiem for An Archer is a high-energy storyline with, what should be, impossible acrobatic feats and violence, but Woods artwork makes the moves seem natural as it should be. After all, Jason is so much more than a normal person.
If you’ve never read any of the Red Hood series, then this is a great place to start. The reader isn’t constantly reminded how Jason died and came back to life and there is still some of the banter between Jason and Roy which made the earlier series so much fun. Definitely recommended reading.