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Review Brew: Red Hood And The Outlaws #21

If you’re not honest with yourself, who can you be honest with?

Red Hood and The Outlaws #21
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist: Dexter Soy
Colors: Veronica Gandini
Letters: Taylor Esposito
Covers: Guillem March; Trevor Hairsine & Antonio Fabela
Editors: Marie Javins & Rob Levin
Publisher: DC Comics

Lies are interesting and dangerous things. Sometimes we lie because we’re trying to help. Sometimes we lie because we can. Sometimes we lie to hurt. All of these are problematic in their own way but it’s the lies we tell ourselves that can do the most damage. In this week’s Red Hood and The Outlaws, while Jason goes solo to gleefully mess with Penguin in the most hilarious way, Bizarro and Artemis have a heart-to-heart about that giant tank of kryptonite he’s got stashed in the basement. It’s not pretty but it is something that’s needed, even if it ends in a way that made my heart break a little. As always it’s the dynamics of this team that make this book work and while it usually focuses on Jason’s relationships with the others, this issue takes him almost completely out of the narrative to show that the bond between Artemis and Biz is just as strong. On top of that we get to see, once again, how the low-level criminals of Gotham aren’t just faceless mooks but have lives and families, much like Jason’s biological one, and are just trying to get by without getting killed. It’s a refreshingly kind take in a BatFam book that reminds you that not everyone gets an adoptive father named Bruce Wayne.

Once again Dexter Soy and Veronica Gandini pull out all the stops, making the Iceberg Lounge a thing of true beauty and the Penguin himself utter perfection. In additon we get Jason’s ‘Brucie’ Wayne meets Commissioner Gordon undercover disguise that left me giggling like a loon, a truly breathtaking view of Gotham from on high and the always excellent facial work for the quiet moments between Artemis and Bizarro and Jason and his grandfather, guest star Alfred.

As we head into the endgame of the Bizarro arc I feel like things are going to get worse before they get better but thanks to the work Lobdell has put in building these character I know that they’ll come through this. Maybe not in one piece but definitely as a family.

5 exploding power grids out of 5.

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