Red Hood and the Outlaws #22 – Scott Lobdell, Writer; Dexter Soy, Alisson Borges, Artists; Veronica Gandini, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ever since Lobdell began his overarching arc dealing with Bizarro, Red Hood and the Outlaws has been far stronger than it has in any previous incarnation. Still, there’s a few lingering problems that hold it back, particularly most things to do with Artemis.
The second segment of Red Hood and the Outlaws #22 is pretty off-putting, due to the fact that it shows Artemis working as a private mercenary for Luthor, killing people who escape from what seems to be his private prison/lab. Although this is out of character to begin with, of course, the way Artemis lets Luthor talk to her is a big problem in and of itself – she likely would have impaled him by now.
I enjoyed watching Jason get the better of Penguin in the opening segment, and the ongoing subplot involving Jason and Faye Gunn is intriguing. The character of Ma Gunn and her network of orphan criminals has been one of Lobdell’s best innovations since he started this title.
However, it’s Bizarro who dominates this title, affecting the other characters’ stories as well. Artemis heads to LexCorp to try to force Luthor into helping his creation, only to be rebuffed again. Bizarro’s personal story and monologue is among the strongest things Lobdell has written, putting us inside his head as he tries to appreciate the time he has left as a thinking being. He helps an old man, tries to take in the environment, only to have his mind betray him and leave him stranded and confused. There are shades of dealing with a loved one with dementia to the final scene where Jason comes to get Bizarro, and it’s a testament to how good a writer Lobdell CAN be when he’s found a plot that he clearly cares about. I wish the other two characters in this title were given the same amount of care Bizarro is, and I’m hoping the title remains strong when this current story arc finally reaches its end.
Corrina: Just a short note: the awful stuff with Artemis is why I can’t stomach reading this title.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.