Red Hood and The Outlaws #16
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist: Dexter Soy
Colors: Veronica Gandini
Letters: Taylor Esposito
Covers: Mike McKone & Romulo Fajardo Jr.; Guillem March
Editor:Brian Cunningham; Rob Levin
Publisher: DC Comics
Continuing where we left off in the previous issue – after Kate and her crew’s unmitigated dickery – Jason, Artemis and Bizarro find themselves incarcerated in Belle Reve by Amanda Waller. Well, briefly incarcerated as Waller – like so many, many, before her – vastly underestimates Jason’s sheer ingenuity and Artemis’ inability to give even the slightest damn about anyone outside of the people she’s chosen to protect ie: Jason and Bizarro.
As for Biz, he realizes some things that The Wall hasn’t about a threat that has been long dormant but is now heating up and offers her a deal: let the Outlaws and him do their thing, with the ‘help’ of the Suicide Squad, and he’ll convince Jason and Artemis to let bygones be bygones.
This issue is mostly table setting, with Biz putting several pieces in place in his ongoing quest to make sure that Jason’s dreams of Gotham – in general – and Crime Alley specifically becoming safe places, come true. (As well as his primary goal of protecting Jason at any cost) Despite that it’s still a great issue as we get some trademark Jason and Artemis badassery and intelligence; a few cameos that (surprisingly) work; several mysteries set up and some deeply disturbing weirdness due to Harley’s apparent crush on Jason (look at her drawing and doodles. It’s upsetting.) Lobdell does a great job of mixing in the various players into the very specific Outlaws world and not having it be too jarring or out of character.
As always Dexter Soy and Veronica Gandini are amazing, with their artwork and detail going above and beyond to help tell the story. The scenes of Jason being interrogated and his very…Jason reaction to the questioning may be one of my top ten character scenes of all time as every moment is so beautifully articulated, clear and fluid.
Overall this was a good issue but I still wonder where all this is going. Why all the guest stars lately? What’s it leading to? Most importantly, who is the man Bizarro is so desperate to keep Jason safe from?
Hopefully we’ll find out soon. Four pencils out of Five.