You are in for a ride. It’s been a long few days. I’m in the last stages of getting over a pretty bad flu that’s come at me for the last two weeks now, and everything I just read may have been a drug-induced fever dream. Remind me in the comments.

Alright, I’m making this quick. Roy decides it’s a good idea to market himself and Jason in a nationwide advertising campaign in an attempt to raise money. Not only is there zero set up for this – it happens on basically the first page – it’s a…surprisingly…good…idea? Screenshot that sentence, because it’s the most positive thing I’ll be saying. More anti-heroes should do this; set yourself up for hire for some of the underworld’s worst criminal bosses and take them down from the inside.  That could be a truly fun and awesome idea for a book.  Too bad it lasts all of five seconds for it to ruin the previous plot device, which was having Jason and Roy work for the government.  It was like ol’ Scott Lobdell crumpled up his last storyboard and from now on will pretend like it didn’t exist.  Yay.  Oh, and just when I thought it would be kind of interesting, who hires them? A giant blob who claims to be the embodiment of all corruption and greed everywhere because powers yay. And what is this regenerating manifestation of absolute evil doing? Working out of some broken-down building as a no-name gangster. That’s what I do with the ability to draw on the darkness that hides inside men’s hearts.

Screenshot (23)

Roy’s still calling Jason “Jaybird.” I’m never mentioning it again. If he doesn’t use it, I’ll tell you. Until then, just assume he uses it.

I have some stylistic questions when it comes to the artwork.  First, what is the deal with their haircuts?  Seriously, that’s a serious question I have. Why is half of Jason’s hair white/grey? Why do they both have basically the same haircut? Do they go to the same stylist? Did they decide to get white walls together? What’s the deal with comic book artists and white walls? Remember when Joker had them? I’m sad. Denis Medri puts a lot of “BLAM!” on one page, which I never understood. I know what a gun sounds like, why do I need 21 “BLAM!”s on a one-panel page to illustrate it. It’s not like there aren’t bullet explosions shown too…he isn’t using a silencer. It’d be so much cooler if you didn’t feel the need to guide readers along by the hand like a child crossing the street for the first time. Arsenal’s armor looks like if someone took the starter kit for a Halo Spartan and was just like, “Yeah you won’t need any of the important armor. Just leave your whole midsection exposed behind some spandex. They’ll never try and shoot you there.”  Jason’s armor is cool though.

Have you ever what it would be like to sit in and observe the plotting process of a comic book writer?  That’s what it’s like reading the first three issues of this series.  I feel like I’m sitting in on a pacing Scott Lobdell, watching his furrowed brow and slumped shoulders work as he tries to find some way of making one of the most tragic characters and ruthless anti-heroes in DC comics funny.  “I know,” Lobdell whispers in a furtive state, mulling over Gene Shalit jokes and Jerry Seinfeld routines that died somewhere in the realm of thirty years ago, “I’ll make him partner up with a recovering alcoholic who cracks wise and have them fight mimes!  That’s what the kids want!”  Or, when pacing in front of a portrait of Ann Nocenti, he’ll pause and his muse will find him as he exclaims, “I’ll put in a bunch of ‘arse’ jokes! That’ll put us back on top! Everyone loves a good ass pun.”  Or again, with a bust of Rob Leifeld staring down on him from the mantle like Thomas Wayne, he’ll pull deep inspiration from deep within him and utter with unbroken certainty, “I’ll set up three different plot lines for the first three books.  Yes, that’s what I’ll do.  They’ll be a crime-fighting duo in the first book, then work for the government in the second issue, and third issue they’ll combat a giant pimple-monster who is the embodiment of greed!”  I imagine somewhere in the depths of his soul, a small part of him screams against the unrelenting torrent of literary sludge that threatens to drown out the last vestiges of coherent story-telling.  It cries out, “Maybe you should plot out an entire arc? Maybe it should make sense? I think we’re better off if we know the story we’re going to write more than three days before deadline.”  Then there’s a deeper voice, one that’s just a whisper, but it’s the one voice he can’t seem to quiet in the darkest night.  It mutters to him, only once he’s just about ready to go to sleep.  It tells him, “Scott. Scott. You’ve already ruined this guy for years, Scott. You know what you have to do. Selfie sticks. Issue five. Selfie sticks, Scott.”

Spoiler

  • Jason and Arsenal fight Batbot next issue. Why does everyone have to fight Batbot? Is this just a way of reminding people who read other books that there’s a new Batman?

Favorite Quote: “Wait…so this is what they’ve done from the guy in Under the Red Hood?  Damn.” – My buddy Chris

Recommended If…

  • Ha.
  • Ha.
  • You funny.

Not Recommended If…

  • You’re anyone.

Overall: The last thing that kept me pulled on this series was that it was at least kind of funny. That’s gone. I’m almost certain Lobdell isn’t doing this ironically, but there’s a part of me that doesn’t want to believe it.

SCORE: 1.5/10