Red Hood and the Outlaws #8
Words: Scott Lobdell
Art & Cover: Kenneth Rocafort
Color: Dan Brown
Letters: Taylor Esposito
Reviewed By: Kenny Allsup
Red Hood and the Outlaws is one of the most interesting books on the rack right now. The inclusion of Bizarro and Artemis, who were seemingly picked out of a hat at first glance, has proven to be remarkably helpful companions with profound origins. Such is the case with issue #8. In the previous issue we were let in on some of Bizarro’s lesser known backstory, which was not only grim, but eye-opening. Issue #8 essentially gives Artemis the same treatment, focusing on the events that led to her bitter future, as Jason drunkenly and selectively listens to her story.
Artemis wishes to become the Shim’Tar; champion of her peoples’ gods despite the fact that Faith in the Pantheon has been dwindling in the gods’ apparent absence. Her dearest friend (and probably most abusive sparring partner), Akila, wants no part of it, and makes that very clear to Artemis. Things take a turn when Akila vanishes, summoned to become the Shim’Tar against her wishes. This leads Artemis to great feelings of inadequacy and failure notions, which will become a staple in her life. Artemis would come to feel even greater despair when Akila is corrupted by a mystical artifact; the Bow of Ra. A situation dire enough to attract the attention of Wonder Woman herself, who leaves Artemis with the dilemma, side with the thing that used to be your friend or help to destroy it.
This issue, the prologue to a new arch centered on Artemis, is sort of a black sheep in the series. The focus is put almost entirely on Artemis and strays away from the book’s namesake, which wasn’t the case with Bizarro. Understandably so, one can imagine that an Amazon warrior might have a deeper story than Superman’s mentally deficient clone (Ice Vision gets me every time).
The writing has been a roller coaster throughout this run, and not at all in a bad way. We’ve seen Jason overthrow Black Mask and seize his assets, with the assistance of the Outlaws, naturally. We’ve seen Bizarro’s conception in a dark laboratory and the empty arenas of Themyscira. With such an interesting combination of characters it’s difficult to predict where the story’s going, and that’s really what every reader wants out of their experience. There must be plenty more to come with Artemis’ backstory if this issue is only a prologue.
Colors range from very bright to drab and dank, and the pencils bear a cartoon-like style that humorously accent each character’s vicious nature. It’s like a black comedy; ironically depicting the murderous Outlaws as very animated, Saturday morning, characters. There’s certain “zaniness” to the work with a touch of Sarcasm.
I want to see more action from these very action-centric characters and just a little less chit chat. Overall I’m quite fond of it and will continue picking it up.