Red Hood and the Outlaws #2
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist: Dexter Soy
Readers looking for the potential in the new Red Hood and the Outlaws series should go back and read the review for last issue. Readers looking for a good Red Hood and the Outlaws comic, should go back and read the actual issue itself. Unfortunately for issue #2, the build up, intrigue, and momentum from the first issue are squandered here. Scott Lobdell spent the first issue building up a story around the Black Mask expanding his control over Gotham’s criminal underworld and Jason Todd’s Red Hood undercover infiltration of the Black Mask’s organization. The setup seemed to fit Gotham and a more nuanced narrative. While issue #2 spends the majority of the pages in a flashy and fun fight scene with Artemis, the narrative from the first issue takes a back seat to a well choreographed fight and stereotypical super hero banter.
Dexter Soy draws the fight scenes extremely well and the artwork flows across both pages creating a sense of power from the Amazon warrior who now rides shotgun with the Outlaws. Soy illustrates Artemis well and there is energy to her fight with Jason Todd. Artemis of Bana Mighdall has a sorted history in Wonder Woman lore. She has been a competitor, companion, and even a replacement for Wonder Woman. Artemis is introduced here with a little bit of back story and a lot of mystery around why she is seeking the same cargo as the Red Hood. Lobdell provides good banter for both Jason Todd and Artemis. Unfortunately, Lodbell also creates plot holes during the fight.
Jason Todd spend the first issue trying to gain the Black Mask’s trust and earns applause from the Black Mask for his assault on Artemis. Three pages later, Lodbell has Todd covering and protecting Artemis from gunfire. This action alone is not objectionable to the overall plot; Jason Todd is trying to walk that line between undercover agent and the principles he gained, lost, and recaptured of the Batman. The problem with the story is that Jason’s defense of Artemis happens in front of the Black Mask. No account for these actions or rationalization is provided, leaving the reader questioning both Jason’s intentions of staying undercover and Lobdell’s intentions around this story arc.
All is not lost for the issue, as it introduces the third “outlaw” in the final panel. An anti-hero team of B-list characters from Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman is still an intriguing concept. Lobdell knows his characterization of Jason Todd after writing for the last run of Red Hood and the Outlaws. Now the challenge is to make good on that experience and the potential of these characters.
An average issue of what has the potential to be an above average series. There is still a lot of potential here for Lobdell and Soy to tap into. Feel free to skip this fight-scene heavy issue, but return for issue #3 when the third outlaw’s introduction will be extended and certainly further shake up the dynamic between these characters.