Review: Red Hood and the Outlaws – Dark Trinity

Red Hood and the Outlaws: Rebirth #1 (Red Hood and the Outlaws 2016, #1)Red Hood and the Outlaws: Rebirth #1 by Scott Lobdell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Red Hood and Outlaws – Dark Trinity. I picked this title up solely as an Artemis fan, and my adult son being a Jason Todd fanatic, it was worth the cash. Derek Soy’s artwork is good, and it’s a shame DC didn’t go with the movie version of Artemis, but I’m not complaining, Red-Head Arti was the first, and that massive hairtail is somewhat of an institution.

I got into Artemis while pregnant with my son (1995) because I identified more with Artemis as a kick-ass woman totally out of her element than I did Wonder Woman’s desire to save the world. Ironically, I imagine that my son’s affinity for the angry Jason Todd was similar when he discovered the Red Hood.

Artemis the Amazon is consistently well written and has been since her inception. Unfortunately, she’s also consistently drawn in the most cringe-worthy male gaze. I’ve stuck by Artemis over the years because of the writing. I was pleased to find that Scott Lobdell’s Artemis is a culmination of Loebs’ and Rucka’s Artemis, and not the ham-handed crap I’ve seen passing as Artemis, in the last decade.

Bill Loebs made Artemis angry right out the gate, Artemis evolved into an Amazon capable of altering her worldview by being on the receiving end of a series of teachable moments. When Rucka got hold of her, she became the conflicted Amazon that Diana wasn’t allowed to be (until Rucka got back in the game recently and began writing Wonder Woman on his terms–women, if you’re not reading the current Wonder Woman, you should be).

Why did I hesitate in buying a graphic novel with Artemis in it? Scott Lobdell.

DO not take that as a put-down, Lobdell is one of the few comics writers out there with a talent for writing young-adult. My son is a huge fan of his writing (Teen Titans), but his Artemis is no different than the other complicated college age girls he’s written. I’m pushing 50 (Artemis is pushing a lot more), the young women Lobdell presents aren’t exactly identifiable regarding dialogue or drama. Artemis is on the road to redemption, that’s got my interest, but her heat of the moment conversation–yikes! What is she, twenty-two?

Some editorial nitpicks? I could’ve done without the Deadpoolesque behavior once Jason dons the Red Hood. There’s only one Wade Wilson; he belongs to Marvel. Also belonging to Marvel? Thor’s hammer. Artemis doesn’t need an ax that comes to her when she calls to it. The book gets points for showing off Nephthys, but the pet weapon already has a home. Get the bow and arrow back, fast. I’m sticking with Red Hood and the Outlaws because Lobdell didn’t fail here; Artemis may be in need for some mature dialogue, but Jason Todd is spot on, finally.

Jason Todd remains the anti-hero, but he’s not a murderous thug, and that turned me off in previous incarnations (FWIW I was one of the scant few that adored the evil Cass Cain!). It’s hard to enjoy the victories of a guy everyone fears when he’s written to be a sociopathic douche. Lobdell makes Jason likable by writing him to act his age; trust me, his self-narrative style is more Ferris Bueller than Rick Deckard. I enjoyed seeing Jason’s interaction with Bizarro; any series with a mentally impaired hero engaging the growth of those around him, is always a winner with me. Overall, the trio works well together, and I would’ve enjoyed it more if I were its market; my twenty-something son will love it.

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Project Update

The edits on the series bible are moving along; the goal is to finish them by July so that I can focus on preparing Suffocation (and Tactical Pursuits) for launch on Patreon at the end of December. The Patreon page is looking good thanks to some commissioned art from Daniel Hurtado.

Gadarene no Longer on Nook

I’ve reached my breaking point with Nook Press. I’m shocked this didn’t happen sooner considering their parent company, Barnes & Noble, is the most user-unfriendly companies for small press publishers trying to sell print titles.

When Nook Press began, it was PubIt! A fresh and comfortable alternative to Kindle Direct that guaranteed your eBook would be available in BN.com’s “Nook Library.” Flash ahead to lackluster Nook sales and the Amazon KINDLE title glut, and PubIt becomes Nook Press. Under Nook Press my titles weren’t searchable anymore under the genre they were published in—you could only find them if you knew the title, the name of the artist, or the name of the writer. Amazon does this shit too now, and for a fee, they’ll make sure you get some primo search strings–but BN.com never offered this option. Of two platforms, BN.com sales were dismal (compared to Amazon) but steady. A few years ago, I gave the digital rights of the graphic novels I wrote and published, to the artists. If they upload the books in eBook format, they can sell them on their own and collect a royalty. I kept the print edition rights because those ISBNs were bought and paid for by me, and I shoulder the returns and distributor fees associating with selling print editions online and to brick and mortar stores.

Nook Press decided to get in on the self-publishing gravy that Amazon made look easy. They sent all their Nook Press eBook vendors (authors and pubs) a link to “learn about” their new print options. I clicked through and was prompted to log in a new and create an account. I tried using my old account info but was told that account existed… yada yada yada. I made the new account, read through the info and decided it’s not for me but now I know. A month passes, I get an email telling me that my bank info cannot be verified on my vendor account. I hadn’t changed banks in the move, so I was concerned. Lo and behold, Nook Press informs me I cannot have two active accounts! I sent an email to support explaining the only active account is the one I’ve been using for years (though I have only 1 title left on it–the horror novel, Gadarene). Then I get four emails in a row to each email address I have with willfully dense scripted explanations telling why I can’t have two accounts and how I need to log in and verify both accounts–but nothing shows me how to cancel either one. I do not suffer bots kindly, and my frustration mounted because I sell only one eBook through them at this point and I’ve been interrupted too much already.

I demanded a call. I got it and canceled both accounts.

I do still have a marketplace account for selling one of the titles, and my distributors continue to sell through Barnes & Noble.