[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist: Dexter Soy
Inker: Veronica Gandini
This month, Jason practices what he learned from Dr. Quinzel to help quell an angry, distraught Kryptonian clone. Artemis gets some bad news. Black Mask reveals his true plans in the way that every single crazy megalomaniac does, he tells Jason on purpose. Bizarro is kind of sweet and cuddly. Red Hood and the Outlaws just got real.
Page 1. A joke. It is written well, drawn perfectly and lands on its feet. The beauty of this book is that it knows that it is. It does not pretend to be a dour book where gloomy heroes smash things (not that there is anything wrong with that). No. It is a funny book where emotionally stunted anti-heroes smash things. While I really liked the older version of Red Hood and the Outlaws, I really, really like this one. It works because Roy was a lot like Jason and Kori was…well, she was whatever she was. This “Dark Trinity” is nothing like that. Each character brings something different to the table. Each person will fill in the holes that the other members can not.
Dexter Soy is so good. I would like to just come to a full stop there, but that does not do the work he does justice. Seriously, look at the first page of this book. Jason is pressed against glass. We have all pressed our faces against a copier, or seen someone push his or her face up against a window. It is odd. It is unique. It is crazy to think about how to draw that. Yet, there it is exactly as it should look. Artemis is there, too. All three principals are looking at us. The dimensions are perfect. The shadows are exact. The looks on their faces are priceless. Artemis scowls, Bizarro smiles his delirious smile and Jason is…well he is smushed against a glass wall. Seriously, Dexter, stay on this book. Please. You are so good.
Black M ask is the problem. He is the perfect villain for this story, but what is he about? Is he a genius? Is he a dumb ass? Is he really really crazy or is he crazy like a fox? I am not saying complex characters are a problem. They are not. This book is all about complex characters, but he seems inconsistent. I suppose that is why he was chosen. There are complexities to each person in this book; why should the villain be any different?
I really like this book. I am not ashamed to admit it. Jason was never my favorite Robin. He and Damian are tied for last place, but as Red Hood, he is just perfect. He brings the issues of the Bat world to life. It is fitting that this book and Mother Panic come out the same week. Hopefully, those two books will smash into each other as she and Jason are kindred spirits.