[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist: Dexter Soy
Inker: Veronica Gandini
When we last saw our former sidekick/current anti-hero, Red Hood, he was undercover working for the Black Mask. He was robbing a train only to be foiled by Artemis, ax wielding Amazon. Things were not looking good for Jason. This issue, we get a quick flashback at a youngish Artemis that explains why she is here, just outside of Gotham City mucking up Jason’s plans. There is an anti-hero fight. There is a glimpse of the final member of the dark trinity.
Artemis is kind of awesome. No. I take that back. Artemis is totally awesome. She is strong; so strong that she throws Jason half a mile into the air. She is smart; so smart that she outwits the detective’s protege. She is honest; so honest that Jason is not sure if he wants to punch her or sob. Her bluntness hits harder than her giant ax. That’s right. She has a giant ax. Holy crap is that thing awesome. It comes when it is called AND it stops bullets. Seriously, it is so amazing. In Dexter Soy’s capable hands, it is truly a sight to behold. If I were Jason, lying in the ground, looking up at that thing, I would need to change my spandex pants.
Once again, this issue has Lobdell’s wry humor running throughout the story. How wry is Lobdell’s humor? Well, Artemis, Red Hood and in the final panel, Bizarro, meet up during a train robbery. Yep. Outlaws robbing a train. Take that world. Ha! Genius.
In reality, the whole 21 pages take up about 15 minutes of real time. Maybe. It might only be 10. In that time, there are jokes, there is sarcasm and, most importantly, there is heart. Yes, this book is called the Outlaws, but really, they are just a bunch of misunderstood monsters. However, do not get too carried away, they are monsters.
You might need an updated version of Who’s Who in the DC Universe to know who that creepy person in Artemis’s flashback is. Still, even without that, you get the idea that she is old, creepy and powerful. Also, Artemis joins the team a bit too quickly. This was the problem with issue #2 as well. Black Mask gives Jason a hug and calls him son. Artemis says that she senses there is more to Jason than meets the eye. That seems to be all she needs. Hmmm. He wears a bat on his chest but carries around small armory. I would not be asking him over for tea right after he shot at me. This book is taking a long time to develop and ultimately, that is great. So, why rush it here? Why not build the trust? Tension works and I would like to see a bit more.
This book is funny. In fact, there is a joke on the cover. That sets the reader up for everything she or he needs to know. It is packed with action. It is beautifully drawn. Each issues leaves us with a cliffhanger and begging for the next issue. Bravo Mr. Lobdell. Bravo.