Written by: Scott Lobdell
Art by: Dexter Soy
Cover by: Cam Smith and Giuseppe Camuncoli
Variant cover by: Matteo Scalera
Scott Lobdell took a lot of criticism from fans during his run on the last iteration of Red Hood and the Outlaws, drawing criticism for his depiction of Starfire and the team dynamics. Lobdell has currently avoided constructing a hypersexualized female lead with the powerful Artemis. And by beginning the book as a solo tale, Lobdell has provided a way to explore characters and dynamics before launching them as a formal team. Issue 3 succeeds because it takes time to slow the action down and explore the initial interactions between the three core characters.
The issue starts off wrapping up the action from issue 2 and then slows the pace down for the rest of the issue. Readers are provided some dialogue that explains how the Red Hood remains undercover within the Black Mask’s organization despite teaming up with Artemis in the last issue. This dialogue-heavy issue allows readers to invest in these characters in a way that issue 2 did not provide. Artemis remains a strong, confident character that remains surer of herself than she is of her eventual teammate, Jason Todd. The dialogue between these two characters provides interesting future dynamics as these two try to work together. Jason Todd’s initial interactions with Bizarro are more tender and caring than Jason is typically portrayed. How these three characters develop a partnership looks to be an interesting journey.
Dexter Soy’s art deserves special mention. The focus on character development in this issue works because of the staging of the scenes and the emotional detail that Soy provides. Readers witness a reflective and tender Jason Todd as he tries to comfort and take care of Bizarro. In spite of Artemis’s objections, Jason breaks from his traditional cold, angry characterization to show depth and provide new opportunities for team dynamics that never existed in the New 52’s version of this title.
Lobdell and Soy took on an interesting new roster of outcasts and are giving readers reasons to care about each of them. If this pacing and character exploration continues, this book deserves to stand out among the other titles set in Gotham.