Red Hood and the Outlaws #13 review

Red Hood 13

Bizarro is dead, but Lex Luthor is on the case! As Jason and Artemis worry for their friend, the big guy’s past comes to light, and we learn that’s his linguistic impairments mask a rather complex person. But does any of that matter if Luthor cannot bring him back? Find out what happens in Red Hood and the Outlaws #13SPOILERS AHEAD

Silly, sappy and satisfying

There’s lots to love in this one, and the series as a whole, but I think the highest praise I can give is that it knows what it wants to be, and nine out of ten times, it hits the mark. Lobdell, Soy, Gandini, and Esposito have now delivered something like ten or eleven issues together, and they have all been either good or great. They disarm us with humor, and then grab hold of our hearts with genuinely touching character interactions.

The opening sequence in RHATO #13 is ridiculously charming, and the team does an excellent job of making it consistent with the Bizarro they’ve already built. He thinks—a lot—and understands more than you would expect, and the aesthetic achieved by Soy and Gandini is just goofy enough while retaining some Pup-Pup-esque cuteness.

The flashbacks in the rest of the book are probably super-sappy if you get down to it, but they’re also super-touching. This book has sold the Outlaws’s relationships well throughout the run, so none of this feels forced. At this point, Jason and Artemis should be broken about Bizarro’s condition, because he clearly means a lot to them. Lobdell manages to avoid crossing the line into weepy melodrama, instead delivering believable, heartfelt sentiment.

As a bonus, we’re also treated to some fun lines from Lex, who is as arrogant (and capable) as ever. Fans of Forever Evil will be happy to learn that its iteration of Bizarro is still in continuity, even if he’s still dead. And more importantly, Lex even refers to good old B-Zero as his friend, proving that he does, in fact, have a heart.

The artwork is stellar as usual, with the regular style of goodness that we’ve grown used to—but also with the scenes rendered in Pup-Pup aesthetics. I would love an entire book drawn that way. Make it happen, DC!

The end is the only part that gets a bit weird for me, because the “Smart Bizarro” reads more like “Trying Too Hard To Sound Smart Bizarro”. It’s not a big deal, and has the benefit of being humorous, but it still strikes me as less than ideal.

Recommended if…

  • Pup-Pup is your hero.
  • Bizarro is your hero.
  • Read this book.

Overall

DC’s most surprising Rebirth victory continues to delight, with an issue chock full of charm. Expect to laugh, expect to be touched, and above all, expect to enjoy yourself. Red Hood and the Outlaws #13 is one of the book’s strongest chapters yet.

SCORE: 9/10

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