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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