Review: Red Hood & The Outlaws #2

Red Hood & The Outlaws has been a sleeper of a book for DC, and the second issue does not disappoint as we’re introduced to the second member of the Dark Trinity. Artemis makes her post-Flashpoint debut as the Egyptian-God-worshiping-Amazon and current obstacle separating Red Hood from his objective. Artemis comes across as a very different Amazon than we’ve seen from their other ambassadors to the world like Wonder Woman and Donna Troy. Though all three women are warriors, Artemis strikes a refreshing balance of common-sense and cultural awareness that was refreshing to see. Rather than a fresh-off-the-island take that would be easy to fall into, it’s clear Artemis knows her way around “Man's World” and has no qualms about bringing what she’s learned from her home to it.

red-hood-and-the-outlaws-2As far as her interactions with Jason go and the idea that these two will ever be a team, it was a surprise. Scott Lobdell managed to build a foundation for these two characters through a surprising amount of witty, funny banter and a level of intelligence fitting Jason. Portrayed as the underdog, the All-Caster survivor played to his strengths, and that was fun to see as the titular character.

Dexter Soy and Veronica Gandini delivered strong with a number of spread pages that fit perfectly and helped to move the story along well. Soy put the shadows to work. It really makes me appreciate how fitting Dexter is for a book with Gotham as the main setting (for now) because he really does some great work with night-based backgrounds.

Veronica Gandini, again, really has the colors catching my eye and making me linger and go back to the pages. This is especially evident in the early parts of the book. Coming from a guy who doesn’t even like the color red very much, there was a lot of it here, and it looked immaculate.

I will argue that I am a bit bothered by the pacing of this book. Things seem to be moving fast, which does take me a little out of things. Black Mask, in particular, comes across as far too trusting a character to have built a criminal empire.  I imagine this will be the pace of the book moving forward. It will take some getting used to, but it’s far from a book-killer.

I do look forward to seeing how Bizzaro is characterized, once he joins our heroes. Red Hood and Artemis have proven to be equal parts edgy and fun. Where Bizzaro fits in that frame will be interesting to see, but his words about his version of Bizzaro have me looking forward to the completion of the Dark Trinity.

[su_box title="Score: 4/5" style="glass" box_color="#8955ab" radius="6"]

Red Hood & The Outlaws #2 Writer: Scott Lobdell Artist: Dexter Soy, Veronica Gandini Publisher: DC Comics Price: $2.99 Format: Ongoing series; Print/Digital


Review: Red Hood and The Outlaws: Rebirth #1

The new Red Hood and The Outlaws eh?  I confess to never having read the New 52 version. To be honest, I didn’t hear great things but my word this first Rebirth issue impressed me… Like the other premier Rebirth titles, this sets up Red Hood in the new, silver age styled status quo and from the very first breathtaking splash page I was hooked.  This felt like Gotham and despite not being a Batman book, the caped crusader was rendered beautifully by Dexter Soy.  I feel compelled to see more of his work after this.  Thank goodness this is the beginning of our new Red Hood then!

Scott Lobdell retells the story of Jason Todd, the destruction of Robin at the hands of The Joker, and the inevitable creation of Red Hood.  You could argue there was no need for this but there’s a REDHOTOREB_Cv1_ds deftness of touch to the storytelling that makes you not care that you’re reading it again.  I recently caught a fan-made video on YouTube about Red Hood, it was dark and gritty, the character so tortured and conflicted, and I absolutely loved it.  That same feel was present here in superb comic book form.

There is a lot of jumping back and forth in time as this first story unfolds and it can feel a little jerky at times.  Still, it helps provide context to our anti-hero, his raison d’etre as he seemingly guns down the Mayor of Gotham in front of Batman.  Of course things are not always as they seem...I won’t spoil it for you either, this is one you need to see for yourself.

The action scenes are punchy and beautifully rendered, the Joker scene gave me chills as each carefully constructed panel came together with well-lettered, well-written dialogue.  And the mood of some of the full page panels is just eye-poppingly, draw-droppingly fantastic that it makes me wish Dexter Soy was pencilling the core Batman series himself.  Mr. Soy where have you been all my life?  I tip my cap to you Sir.

Let’s not forget the sublime work of Veronica Gandini: the darkened skies of Gotham, the textured shadows that fall across Batman’s cowl, my word it’s all just visually stunning.  The only downside, if you can even call it one is that perhaps Batman is rendered with more vivid detail than our core protagonist but I’m just nitpicking now.  This book is beautiful.

As for the plot, well not a lot has been revealed by Scott Lobdell, yet. This is just the set-up, the stage upon which Jason Todd’s story will be told, and what a stage it is.  This is certainly one to check out, even if you’re not a fan of Red Hood, or you are but hated the New 52 work, do yourself a huge favour and pick this one up.

Don’t let anything stand in your way...

[su_box title="Score: 4/5" style="glass" box_color="#8955ab" radius="6"]

Red Hood and The Outlaws: Rebirth #1 Writer: Scott Lobdell Artist: Dexter Soy Colorist: Veronica Gandini Publisher: DC Comics Price: $2.99 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital [/su_box]