Red Hood and the Outlaws #21 – Scott Lobdell, Writer; Dexter Soy, Artist; Veronica Gandini, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Red Hood and the Outlaws continues to be one of the most pleasant surprises of the Rebirth era, as this oddball “Dark Trinity” of misfit members the Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman clans has been riding a hot streak ever since the current storyline began. The plotline involving Bizarro and Artemis this issue has a surprising amount of emotional depth, as Bizarro is revealed to have been using synthetic Kryptonite to boost his intelligence as it slips away from him. The end of the last issue made it look like he was going to attack Artemis to keep his secret, but that quickly turns out to be a false lead. The bonds created between this sort-of-team are real, and Artemis genuinely wants to help Bizarro. But as their conversation reveals, it may be too late for that. Even his superior intelligence can’t reverse the natural decline. A weird moment where it looked like their bonding was about to turn romantic felt off, but the end of this plot has Bizarro backsliding and Artemis heading back to LexCorp to find help.
In contrast to this dark, tragic plotline, Jason Todd is out there living his best life. The issue’s cover gives away that this issue is going to pit him against the Penguin (something he has in common with Harley Quinn recently), but the setup is a lot of fun. Jason undercover at a casino is interesting, but Jason undercover as a ridiculous casino lounge lizard with the worst disguise ever is a gift. It apparently runs in the family, given Bruce’s Matches Malone and Tim Drake’s Alvin Draper. He’s soon discovered, brought before Penguin, and a quick fight and daring escape ensue. Jason as the rogue member of the Bat-family, pursuing crime while willing to go outside the law in ways his father and brothers don’t, is a good dynamic. The introduction of Ma Gunn’s granddaughter to the series at the end, giving Jason a new mystery to pursue, is a strong twist. This series continues to improve, and I’m hopeful it’ll stay strong.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.