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Review Brew – Red Hood and The Outlaws #7

Oh Bizarro. You break my heart.

Red Hood and The Outlaws #7
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist: Mirko Colak
Colors: Veronica Gandini
Letters: Taylor Esposito
Breakdowns: Tom Derenick
Covers: Giuseppe Camuncoli w Cam Smith and Dean White; Guillem March
Editors: Brittany Holzherr/Alex Antone/Marie Javins
Publisher: DC Comics

This issue is all about friendship and the difference one person can make in the course of a life. It’s also very much about Bizarro, what he is, why he is and who he can be. Bizarro, in some ways, is as innocent as a child: filled with love and wonder at the world around him but prone to outburst when he feels endangered or, more importantly, someone he cares for is in danger. Programmed with Clark’s memories, he knows, technically, right from wrong but his experiences are not his own and so they don’t bear any real weight on his decisions. That is, until he met Jason. Jason is his touchstone. The first person he connected with from the moment he came out of stasis and the one person he will do anything to protect. Bizarro loves Jason because, unlike the previous clones who were destroyed, Jason doesn’t see Bizarro as a weapon, but as a person. Jason doesn’t expect anything from Bizarro and treats him with a gentleness that he has very much never received, canonically before. Unfortunately that love, and protectiveness, leads to a moment that could set Bizarro down a path of destruction that he’d never come back from.

Lobdell does a truly heartbreaking job of writing Bizarro’s experiences, giving us the utter loneliness and pain that this character, too often a punchline or an afterthought, has experienced. It’s what makes Bizarro’s attachment to Jason (and Red Her and Pup-Pup) so real and honest. There’s a scene in the book that made me cry as Bizarro explained what Jason’s friendship means to him, it’s so well written and thoughtful.

Unfortunately the artwork doesn’t hold up. Mirko Colak, filling in for Dexter Soy, isn’t quite up to the challenge. The detail I’ve come to expect in a RHATO book just isn’t there. The lines aren’t as clean, the backgrounds aren’t as crisp and the character work isn’t consistent. At points I had to go back and reexamine pages to make sure that a character who was speaking was the same one that had been speaking before. Artemis and Jason in particular look nothing as they’ve been portrayed up until this point, either in this book or in any of the Bat-Fam books. It’s jarring and though Gandini gives it her best efforts, her colors can’t fix the mess.

Overall, this issue get 3 kryptonite shards out of 5 .

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