Red Hood and The Outlaws #9
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist: Dexter Soy
Colors: Veronica Gandini
Letters: Taylor Esposito
Covers: Nicola Scott & Romulo Farjardo Jr.; Guillem March
Editors: Diego Lopez; Alex Antone; Marie Javins
Publisher: DC Comics
After taking down Black Mask with Artemis and Bizarro’s help Jason promised Artemis he’d find out who had stolen the Bow of Ra from her homeland of Bana-Mighdall and sold it to Black Mask. More importantly, he promised to help get it back. Unfortunately for the crew Black Mask had already sold the Bow and now dictator General Heinle has unleashed its power on his own people. Now, it’s a race against time as the Outlaws try and reclaim the Bow before more innocent lives are lost.
Not going to lie, this issue got to me on several levels: between its mirroring of real world events, the horror of realizing Jason was going back to where he’d been murdered by the Joker and having my suspicions confirmed regarding just who the crew was facing I was genuinely shook. Scott Lobdell is doing such an excellent job in weaving this new team together, showing them becoming more than just teammates but family, that you truly fear for them when they’re separated because they are stronger together. He also nails all three characters very different senses of humor and personalities with Jason blasé in the face of actual missiles coming right at him; Bizarro being extremely put out by people having bad manners and Artemis’ general exasperation with the two of them. I’m adoring the big sister and her two idiot little brothers vibe we get from them. Not only is it hilarious, but it’s accurate: Artemis is literally hundreds (perhaps thousands) of years old, Jason is barely in his 20s and Bizarro may be a grown man but he was only born months ago. It’s an interesting dynamic and feels very real and lived in.
Dexter Soy and Veronica Gandini are back and give us some truly breathtaking imagery as the journey to Qurac goes off the rails in spectacular fashion. There are so many great panels it’s hard to pick a favorite: Bizarro’s annoyed face when people are rude or mistake him for Superman; Artemis’ horror at what’s happening in Qurac and sadness that someone is using the Bow to harm instead of protect; or Jason confronting his past while trying to comfort his friends. Each moment is articulated beautifully by Soy and Gandini, elevating the story with precise detail and real emotion.
Overall RHATO: Who Is Artemis? Part One is damn good, relieving me of my fear that this book would have the 2nd arc fall off and instead expanding on what we know while giving us something new. 5 out of 5 Bows of Ra.
P.S. – See if you can catch all the references to Jason’s adventures with Roy and Kori that are sprinkled throughout the book.