Red Hood And The Outlaws #3
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist: Dexter Soy
Colors: Veronica Gandini
Letterer: Taylor Esposito
Editor: Alex Antone
Assistant Editor: Brittany Holzherr
Group Editor: Marie Javins
Covers: Giuseppe Camuncoli w/Cam Smith and Dean White; Matteo Scalera & Moreno Dinisino
Publisher: DC Comics
Artemis and Jason discover exactly what Roman was shipping: a Superman clone – and are suitably horrified at the discovery. Unfortunately, before either can do anything about it they’re captured by Roman. Well…one is captured. The other, an increasingly unnerved Jason, is placed in what can only be described as a lavish bedroom. A fact that Jason finds disconcerting, at best, especially when he wakes up naked and fully tucked into bed with a replica of his damaged uniform, right down to the mask, waiting for him. Where Batman and the Joker’s relationship has always had a weird undercurrent RHATO seems to be building an entire foundation out of Roman’s increasing obsession with Jason. If that’s the case it’s going to make the fallout from Jason’s inevitable betrayal even more epic and set up firmly the series overall big bad making Roman the Lex Luthor to Jason’s Superman.
I say Lex Luthor, and not the Joker, because the interplay between Jason and Roman combined with Roman’s intelligence and epic amounts of money remind us more of Lex’s dynamic with Clark than Bruce’s with the Joker. While the Joker is highly intelligent, the level of patience and lack of casual cruelty displayed on Roman’s part is more in keeping with Lex’s M.O. Roman’s ability to smell vulnerability, and take full advantage of it, reminds me of Lex as well: Jason’s head is a mess, he’s far too kind for his own good, and his PTSD is ever present and waiting to rear its head at the least opportune time and that time is very much now.
Everything happening is ably supported by Dexter Soy’s artwork and Veronica Gandini’s colors. There’s so much that’s so well done, that it’s hard to pin one thing down. One of the things that stood out, however, is the bruising. Jason and Artemis went at it hardcore in the previous issue, with Jason pulling his punches and Artemis…not so much until she realized what Jason was doing. The aforementioned resulting damage to Jason’s suit and mask were pretty bad. The small detail of Jason’s face, even with his rapid healing, looking like he went three rounds with an Amazon and how with each ‘day’ that passes in the book those bruises become less and less pronounced is the kind of thing that fills me with joy. It’s smart and shows a commitment to quality from everyone on the book that makes it well worth the read.
Five out of Five Pups.