Red Hood And The Outlaws #5
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist: Dexter Soy
Colors: Veronica Gandini
Letters: Taylor Esposito
Editor: Alex Antone
Asst Editor: Brittany Holzherr
Group Editor: Marie Javins
Covers: Giuseppe Camuncoli w/ Cam Smith & Dean White; Matt Scalera & Moreno Dinisio
Publisher: DC Comics
As Black Mask continues to use Bizarro – whom he infected with his mind controlling techno organic virus – to further his own ends, Jason fights tooth and nail to bring Bizarro back to himself. With an assist from Artemis (who’s only there because the Little One aka Jason, helped her get her axe back, not because she cares or anything) Jason manages to keep Bizarro from doing too much damage, while luring Roman into a trap. However, as we’ve noted before, Roman is a: far from stupid, b: obsessed with Jason and c: always two steps ahead of everyone so the question remains: who’s playing who?
One of the things this issue touches on, deftly and without being overly dramatic, is Jason’s constant struggle not to kill. Jason, rightly in my opinion, knows that some threats need to be taken off the playing field. Permanently. Black Mask? Probably one of them: he’s too smart, too connected, and a touch too crazy to leave in play. However, Jason is, in the end (in some ways more than any of the others) Bruce’s child. If there’s another way, even to his own detriment, then he’s going to find it. Lobdell does a great job showing that push-pull and highlighting how Jason’s need to balance both sides of the vigilante coin draws others, who are just as broken, to him.
Dexter Soy and Veronica Gandini’s art and colors lift the story up, showing the war between Jason’s head and heart through body language and movement. There’s also fantastic work with Bizarro and Artemis, particularly Bizarro’s eyes as we see what Jason sees: there is an actual person in there, with thoughts and feelings, and that person deserves a chance to see who they can be without Black Mask’s manipulations.
We end with Jason seemingly backed into a corner but, as well all know, nothing can keep a Bat Brat down for long.
Five out of Five Mistresses