Spoiler alert, this sucked. A lot of people saw that sentence coming weeks ago when the sneak peek was released, but I had tried to avoid it in order to prevent any biases from bubbling up before I had a chance to read the premier issue of Red Hood/Arsenal. The streets spoke, and I should have listened.
Right away let’s do the artwork. Try as he might to reinvent two character models who have suffered these last few years, Denis Medri fails to make this issue look good. What is it with archers these days and an inability to look cool? The last time I saw a design that I thought was at all interesting was the Arrow skin for Green Arrow in the Injustice video game. The New 52 Green Arrow was bland in his main line and Justice League United, both Red Arrows in Earth 2 look terrible, and Arsenal’s whole “trucker hat and half-ass armor” style was awful from the start. That trend continues in this issue, as Roy’s new outfit is atrocious, along with most of the coloring that hurts the eyes and just doesn’t work. Jason’s is a slight upgrade – thank God they didn’t use that damn nose outside of the cover – but still was the sole highlight I took away from this issue.
Alright, let’s make this fast. Roy is protecting some woman because she’s selling weapons or something, I really couldn’t keep my attention for too long staring at Roy’s awful new outfit. Long story short, the deal goes bad, Jason shows up, bad guys get killed, and there’s a sliver of hope that the two will become government hitmen assassins. That would be a really cool idea! Like Suicide Squad, except, you know, good! (Sorry) So there’s no tension when Roy and Jason reunite, and they just immediately start working together. No real fighting, no questioning what’s been going on for the last few months, just right back to work. And they’re jumping off the Eifel Tower. The tag line for next month’s issue is “Mimes, Memes, and Mademoiselles.” I’ll let that sink in.
There’s also a twist that I saw coming about ten pages in advance, probably because Scott Lobdell has done the exact same thing like three times previously. I don’t even care if it’s a Spoiler. Turns out the Senator was really just Jason in disguise, which has only happened a bunch of times during his run on Red Hood and the Outlaws. Hell, he did it in the first issue of that run too! It’s like he’s got whatever story line on his mind and just includes the same four or five elements over and over.
Hey, the break-up of the Outlaws can’t be bad for everyone though, right? Why don’t we all just go take a look at that new Starfire line that came out this week? Maybe it’ll have Kori fighting off space aliens or leading her people against the alien tyranny that has plagued the planet she is destined to rule. Oh, she’s looking for a house in Miami? Watch riveted as douchebag guys think she’s hot? No way! Read with wonder as she goes and buys clothes from a stereotype. The drama! One moment as I immediately burn this until the pages are smoldering ashes…and it’s gone. God, I wonder how often DC writers look back at the balls they had to kill of a major character and that decision to bring Jason back and just shake their heads as a single tear rolls down their cheeks.
- I don’t even know, guys. Can we all just huddle up for a second and look back on what we have wrought? It’s terrifying.
Favorite Quote: “I’m nine and I know this is bad.” – My friend’s cousin reading this after I did.
- You’re a fan of Arsenal, he’s in this a lot
- You want an Issue #1
- You liked Red Hood and the Outlaws
Not Recommended If…
- You thought this would be better than Red Hood and the Outlaws
- You want something smart or good-looking
Overall: Swing and a miss. Scott Lobdell continues his quest to destroy all the bad-ass cache that had been built up since Under the Red Hood and Battle for the Cowl. I’ll save you some time. Unless you’re an avid collector of #1 issues or a big-time fan of Jason or Roy, don’t bother with this book.