After discovering the Untitled are back and up to no good, Jason and the Outlaws are joined by General Glory as they go undercover in Quarac to get to the bottom of things. Jason and Bizzaro are now running a food truck and Artemis is a bodyguard to one of Quarac’s leaders, who’s in the middle of dealing with protests by the people as they fight for a brighter future.
Most of the issue is broken up between Jason/Bizzaro and Artemis as they have their own separate investigations. Jason’s side of things feels a little slow to start, at least investigation wise. The scene is instead a humorous look at Jason and Bizzaro running their food truck while they interact with both customers and General Glory. I’ve got to say, I love seeing these two together. One of the things I loved most about this series in its early arcs was the relationship between Jason and Bizzaro, and it’s really nice to see it on display again here. Bizzaro’s time away has changed him some, but the two are still a delight together, and Jason plays off the new philosophical Bizzaro well. Beyond the humor, there’s a nice moment of friendship between them as Jason attempts to apologize for not rescuing his friends, and as Bizzaro reassures him.
Jason and Bizzaro do end up doing some investigating that involves them walking around the town. This scene is nice because it’s also used to explain a little more about Jason’s past and how he knows how to spot the Untitled. This is done in a flashback to Jason’s time training with Ducra. The color shifts here from the warm tones of Quarac to cooler ones of the flashback and different location: London. Prianto’s color choice here was a smart choice, the blue is a very stark contrast to the warmer tones of the present story, and makes it easy to distinguish between past and present. Pantalena’s art adds to this by providing us with a youthful Jason. His hair is longer and he’s more relaxed in a jacket as he travels the city. What’s even cooler is the way the flashback and present are split, both at the start and end, with colors and settings blending into one another and the two parts of Jason split evenly.
The other part of the book focuses on Artemis. Her scenes are more action based as she first proves herself to be a good bodyguard and then faces off against Essence, who’s made her way to Quarac through Isabel. Artemis is sticking close to the Colonel to see if he’s leading a group of Untitled, and Essence goes after him for the same reason.
While Essence has a number of scenes this issue, she still doesn’t really feel like a big part of the story. Right now it seems like Lobdell included her because he always likes to have her in stories dealing with Jason and magic, but time will tell how she impacts things. I am interested to see if Essence ends up deciding to work with the group or not, currently she’s still antagonistic, but it might be a fun decision to have her temporarily join the group.
What I enjoyed most about Artemis’ scenes was the small moment where she insists she’s not doing any of this for money and remembers the time she’d been working for Luthor. Pantalena frames the scene with her hair, weaving around the memory. She still believes she was the cause of Willis Todd’s death, and is working hard not to make that mistake again. It’s been a while since this came up, and I’m glad Lobdell hasn’t forgotten it.
The issue wraps up with Jason and General Glory having finally found the gathering of the Untitled they were looking for. Jason mentions things are now personal for him, and while I feel like this was supposed to be a line that would resound with readers, it missed the mark a bit for me. There’s a lot going on in this story, from the dual investigations, checking in with Ma Gunn, and Jason’s flashbacks, so much so that the story of the people of Quarac fighting for their independence feels lost in it all. To make Jason righteously angry about the Untitled infecting this population could have worked if more focus had been put into Jason really identifying with the people. Lobdell started to do that during the food truck scene, but it’s not brought back up again until the end, and even there I don’t see Jason really identifying with the crowd the way the story wants me to. There’s nothing personal Jason connects to this situation. I don’t have a problem with him getting angry about the Untitled taking advantage of the situation, but I feel like him taking it personally just doesn’t have the groundwork it needs to land. If that’s what Lobdell was going for this issue, then I think more of the focus should have been on that connection instead of some of the other avenues he chose to expand on.
- Jason and Bizzaro running a food truck!
- You want to learn more about Jason’s time with Ducra
- You’re interested in Artemis going undercover
So far this arc of Red Hood is turning out to be interesting. While this issue still felt like much of it was was setting up the story, it had some really nice moments. Jason and Bizzaro getting to spend time together is something I’ve missed, and I also was happy to see some more of Jason’s history. I’m still waiting to see how Essence will really play into all this but, generally, this issue of Red Hood was a fun read and enough to keep you entertained for a little while.
DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.