[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist: Dexter Soy
Inker: Veronica Gandini
Black Mask knows many things. He knows that Red Hood is Jason Todd. He knows that he is working with Batman. He knows how to mind control Bizarro. I know, I was pretty shocked to discover he is not a total dummy, too. What he does not know is that Jason is also pretty smart, and he is totally unaware of what a badass Artemis is. All of that being said, Gotham is going to need a clean up on aisle four.
Artemis is such a great character. She is funny. She is fearless. She is strong. She is smart. There are not enough positive adjectives for her. Scott Lobdell had a stroke of genius when he picked her for the new team of Outlaws. While I liked the pre-Rebirth comic, Kori did not really know what she could do or she was always afraid to use her powers or she was brain damaged or…you get it. Here, our anti-heroine is well aware of what she can do and she has no reservations about using her powers. Without her, Bizarro could not be on the team as Jason has no way to physically control him. Sure, Jason talked Bizarro into liking him, but when he is angry, out of control, or being mind controlled by Black Mask, he needs more muscle. Without Artemis, Bizarro would just smash his way through everything and that would be that.
Dexter Soy is magnificent. Take a look at that first page, Bizarro is coming right at Jason, and because Soy decided to use Jason as the POV, he is coming right at us. He gives us guns, skills to use the guns, and the most dangerous ammo in the world. Still, veins bulging from his neck, bullets exploding in his face, in his…everywhere, here he comes. It is terrifying and beautiful at the same time. We do not see a lot of POV in comics and that is a shame. This is great work by a great artist. Really, everything about this run of Soy’s has been spot on, but his enraged, mind-controlled Bizarro is the work of a true master.
Is that a conscience I see? Jason Todd with a conscience about Bizarro is fine. Jason Todd not really killing the mayor is fine. Jason Todd not pulling the trigger on Black Mask…Hmm. I am not sure how I feel about that. Part of the joy of Jason Todd and his band of Outlaws is his willingness to do the things that Batman will not do. If the Red Hood is suddenly a real hero instead of an anti-hero, the whole point of the Dark Trinity is lost. He might as well become Red Robin if he is not going to do the things that make him The Red Hood. Sure, it is hard to say that killing off a major Bat-villain is a good idea, but come on, it is Black Mask. Fire away Jason.
I wish this was a bi-monthly book. The story has been slow to build and it is pretty clear that Lobdell knows exactly where he wants to take us, so I would like to get there a bit faster. I understand part of the Rebirth line is to rebuild the world. That takes time. I am being patient. I really am, but when does issue 6 come out? Hurry.