[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist: Mirko Colak
Inker: Veronica Gandini
Just like in the pre-Rebirth era, Jason has a hankering for taking over Black Mask’s stakes in Gotham. It is clearly a thing with him regardless of what Dr. Manhattan does. So, he lets the baddies know that selling to kids is off limits and pretty much, the organization is done. That goes over as well as one could expect it to and Red Hood unleashes his new weapon, Bizarro. There is a lot of smashing and bad grammar. Artemis spends most of her time not in this issue because she is searching for her Bow. However, we do discover that she hacked into LexCorp using their own computers that Jason obviously acquired through nefarious means. She finds out that Lex wanted to have all of the Bizarros destroyed, but somehow, (Black Mask, it was all him) one gets away and is living with the team at Ma Gunn’s place.
Mirko Colak takes over as the artist on this issue. While Artemis is only seen in a few panels, I am beyond excited to see what he is going to do with her. In the panels where Jason has the hood off and Artemis is in street clothes, there is a real, dirty Gotham City feeling to the work. Even in one of the first few panels where Red Hood is “explaining” the new “arrangement” to the baddies, his suit is ill fitting, there are some rough edges around him. That makes a lot of sense. Jason doesn’t have access to the Wayne money. He literally steals what he needs and that is how he gets by. Thus, his leather suit and armor would not have been custom made for him. It looks real and that works.
Of Mice and Men is one of my all time favorite books. From the moment I saw the cover, I knew what could potentially happen here. Spoiler alert! It doesn’t end for Jason and Bizarro the same way it does for George and Lenny, but that relationship is clear. Jason will do what he needs to do to stop Bizarro from hurting others. Instead of a puppy and a woman, it was a robotic Killer Croc, but still, Bizarro has the strength of the big guy, but the impulse control of a 5-year-old (maybe). If Lobdell wanted to humanize Jason Todd, this is the perfect way to do it. Make him responsible for a super strong man-child while still trying to have a life for himself. Massive applause from me over here (and from all book nerds in general).
There is just one issue with Bizarro’s language. At one point he says, “Me am friend he referenced.” Hmmm. Would Bizarro say it that way? Would he say, “Me am friend he talked about.” Or “Me am Red Him’s friend.” Or…well, you get it. Referenced is not a word I suspect he would utter. Later in the book he says, “Me Him frightened of pretty?” Again, would he say that? Look, I am nitpicking here, I love this book, it just seems a bit out of place. If Jason or Artemis said those words, and he repeated them…Maybe.
This book is great. I like the direction Lobdell has taken. I like that Jason compares himself to both Bruce and Bizarro. He has grown up so much in the Rebirth era while losing 10 years of his life. Complexity is always good. Complexity is probably an understatement. One must be a bit off one’s rocker to strap guns on, throw on a hood and go kill people in the name of justice. This is a great book. It is only issue #7. Get on board.