I hated this book from the first page. We have Jason, who has that stupid nose thing on his helmet that should never, ever be there, because it looks asinine. There’s also Roy using the dumb moniker “Jaybird,” which only exists in issues that Scott Lobdell writes. It’s like when people give themselves nicknames; oh, did you think it was cool to name yourself “Mr. Saturday Night” and then get mad when no one calls you it? That’s what I think every time I hear that. Lobdell gave his iteration of Jason Todd, reanimated, gun-toting, bad mother-trucker Red Hood mercenary the most inane of nicknames, and refuses to change it. No one likes it. No one. You’re not Mr. Saturday Night, and everyone gets mad when you won’t chip in for cab fare.
Also, we’re forty-odd issues in to the book, do we always need the whole “Jason gives a fourth-wall-breaking internal monologue about who’s on the team?” I get it, this is supposed to be a fun book with cool characters. I think it’s secretly an excuse not to have actual internal characterization or thought processes and just the writers an out for the first few pages. It’s not like you crack open a copy of Batman and every issue starts with “My parents died and I spent a ton of time and money training to fight criminals, because I’M BATMAN!1!1!1”
Let’s recap what happens in this issue, can we? Red Hood and Co. run into their new enemy, Helspont, who was hinted at in the Christmas-themed Red Hood and the Outlaws Annual #2. They are subsequently betrayed by Blackfire and held at gunpoint for a ridiculous amount of time without someone getting shot. Then Blackfire betrays Helspont, even though there was zero foreshadowing or evidence of that happening in the first place. Also, real quick, can we bring up how incredibly coincidental it was that Starfire just happened to chain herself up in the middle of Brazilian rainforest where Helspont just happened to be basing his operations? What great luck! Without that, we might have actually needed a plausible story to get this thing over with. So Blackfire gets blasted into some other part of the rainforest, and Jason and the rest come up with some kind of idea where all the aliens are interconnected? This shuts down the aliens, saves the planet (I guess), oh, and then Roy kills Helspont with a giant gun. It’s a gun so strange and awesome that apparently it changes size from panel to panel. Then, with zero explanation as why the others can’t come along, Starfire and Crux of all people bring Blackfire back to Tamaran. This leaves Roy to be all “I’m just going to peace out now.” And then Rose brings up some nonsense about Jason losing his team. My God, if this was not the most trivial piece of drivel I’ve read ever.
Crux got punched so hard he turned back into a human. I’ll let that sentence sit there. Even though it takes intense concentration and a handle of his emotions to stay human, he gets thrown back by Helspont and goes half-human, half-alien. It’s like the artists were drawing the human version of him and forgot that they had made him shape-shift earlier in the issue and couldn’t be bothered to fix it. Oh, and apparently Jason’s clothes are one-size-fits-all, because Crux is this giant man-bat-style alien who fits into a Men’s Large. He must buy clothing from the same store that sells Hulk’s pants.
Rose claims to kill one-hundred and eighteen aliens. Really? I’m assuming its aliens because she never specifies. She just takes a giant axe to two of them and starts counting at one-hundred and seventeen. I get that she’s supposed to be the daughter of Deathstroke and everything, but that whole kill-count part and then her joke while throwing swords at an alien warlord is that her dad “said I never knew where to put my toys?” I’m sorry I think I gagged a bit.
Going forward, it concerns me a great deal that Red Hood/Arsenal will be run by Lobdell, who has shown to have zero tact when it comes to creating interesting and complex characters or a coherent story line. I expect more of the same rehashed and unfunny jokes, shallow characters, and insane stories that are neither entertaining nor sane. More often than not, this series has been mailed in, as if no one working on it cared a great deal about how it was received. That might be the worst thing one can say about a book. I’ve spit all the bile I can. I’m done. And thankfully, so is this book.
- Thanks for getting this far. If you’ve read every issue of this series like I have, comment in the section below. I want to know your thoughts on the upcoming Red Hood/Arsenal
- You’ve been hate-reading this book.
- You have nothing better to do.
- You’re a friend of someone who worked on it.
Overall: As someone who had read this from the first issue and hoped that each month would finally bring a satisfying dynamic to these characters, I was extremely let down by this finale. Rushed, poorly thought out, and misguided are just a few ways to describe how emotionless and bland this split felt. For a book that tried so hard to be something that it very obviously was not, it doesn’t surprise me that it could not even disappear properly.