Red Hood and the Outlaws #19 – Scott Lobdell, Writer; Marcio Takara, Artist; Rob Schwager, Felix Serrano, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Surprisingly, ever since this current arc of Red Hood and the Outlaws has begun, this has been one of DC’s most improved books. The entire Rebirth era has been a major level up, but the storyline focusing on Bizarro taking over as the utopian leader of the Outlaws even as his mind secretly degrades has been fascinating. Red Hood and the Outlaws #19, on the surface, seems like a lighter one, as Jason winds up out on a date with Artemis due to a bet he made issues back. Bizarro wishes them well, with many jokes at Jason’s expense, and then spends the night in his lair planning out his war on crime. There’s a good amount of humor, including the fact that Jason apparently either can’t hold his liquor or is too young to drink (which actually fits, based on my estimated timeline). Lurking under the surface, though, is something much darker.
Bizarro seems to be holding it together when his former master, Lex Luthor, spies on him, but the truth is actually very different. Not only is he relying on synthetic Kryptonite to boost his mental powers, but it’s making him increasingly unstable and he’s seeing – and being taunted by – the tiny Superman doll named Pup Pup. Jason and Artemis’ date has a darker side too, as she convinces him to secretly take her into the Batcave – only to reveal that this is because it’s the one place in the city that Bizarro’s eyes can’t reach. There, they have a silent conversation to avoid his super-hearing where they discuss the signs that something is very wrong with their friend. This title used to be a fairly generic 90’s action-fest, but not it has its eyes on bigger topics, and the storyarc of Bizarro, in particular, is one of the best things Lobdell’s ever written. I’m just hoping it closes as strong as it’s been through this arc.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.