Ah, February! The month of love and friendship. God bless Scott Lobdell, Tom Derenick, Sean Parsons and Wayne Faucher, for making sure to remind us of this fact by telling us a story about love, friendship, forgiveness, and an amazing ex-girlfriend who's more than capable of handing us our ass in a fight. A fight, I might add, that was Published by the one and only, DC Comics.

To QUOTE Martin Luther King Jr.: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that”.

Now with a new teammate in tow, it's finally time for Roy and Jason to fetch Kori and get the band back together again. However, Blackfire got to Kori first and a certain silver haired mercenary with an attitude is also on her way to the Brazilian rainforest.

You know what that mean's, don't you? Time to kick ass, Outlaw style!

The best thing about this issue is the resolution Lobdell gives to Jason’s drug addict plot-line. You see, in my eyes Jason proves his worth by voluntarily disposing all of his Venom’s supplies -- and props to him for also answering my question about Jason’s cargo back in issue 36.

Also, the opening scene further develops Jason and Roy's friendship together: Knowing what Jason is going through, Roy gives him his complete support and advice. And in turn, Jason shows how much he trusts Roy by being willing to talk things out and trusting Roy unconditionally.

Crux has a small role this time, and, again, proves to be an excellent foil to Roy and Jason's antics.

On the other hand, Kori gets the chance to explain her behavior over the last five issues: Everything was a gambit to infiltrate the intergalactic drug trade and destroy it from the inside out. Thus, this revelation takes the premise of the story and turns it on its head.

Well played Mr. Lobdell.

Considering how important the concept of family is on this book, it shouldn't be surprising that Blackfire clears a lot of doubts about her actions by making clear that she DOES care for Kori and is likely being coerced by Hellspont into servitude. While this could seem contradictory with her dialogue in the previous issue, it soon seems obvious that she wasn't being serious and the whole “I’m going to kill Kori” stuff is a playful teasing between sisters (think about every time you said something similar when your siblings did something dumb). 

Their scene together is very heart warming, and a great companion to Roy and Jason's scene.

All in all, these factors make for an incredibly satisfactory payoff when the Outlaws are finally reunited, but as for the best part of the reunion? Well, while Jason and Roy didn’t know about Kori’s plans, they trusted and knew her enough to realize something was afoot. And once the secret was out, they fully supported her. Ta-Dah!

Even Roy, who would be the one with reasons to be mad at Kori -- after all, being turned into a human charcoal tends to produce grudges  -- he receives her back with a kiss and forgives her on the spot. Man, I’m really going to miss this pairing.

But this is just half of the story!

After some teasing over the past few months, Rose Wilson finally makes her appearance, and my God, what an introduction she has! She blows up Crux’s ship in an attempt to kill the Outlaws. Of course it fails, but we are then told that she and Jason had something going on in the past. 

Now, a romance between Rose and Jason is pretty popular on certain parts of the fandom, but I never found the idea appealing since said romance is defined by their relationship with Bruce and Slade, not by Jason and Rose's actions.

Lobdell manages to stick what I think is an excellent compromise -- their relationship was more of a fling that bloomed in the battlefield, perfectly in character for the both of them.

Lastly, Lobdell makes sure to give the cliff hanger from the annual the logical conclusion, and the Outlaws find themselves as the final and only line of defense against Hellspont’s invasion.

While Derenick’s work has some minor issues (mainly some odd angles and weird perspectives) he delivers an enjoyable work that follows Silva’s pretty closely. Special mention goes to the impressive spread he makes of Hellspont’s army getting ready for battle.

As I mentioned in my previous review, Rose’s plot is noticeably underdeveloped, and it doesn't add anything of note to the plot and is unlikely to get a follow up. It is a neat service for the fans but ultimately, superfluous.

Another weak point in the narrative is Blackfire. Her actions, while clearer, still seem a bit chaotic. Hopefully everything will be cleared next issue.

However, my biggest problem with the issue is Kori's explanation for her brief drug problem. The idea is good but the execution is poor, and thus it doesn't hold that well under closer examination -- mainly the chain of events that led to Roy’s wounds. Since now its been confirmed to be caused to get drama into the story and not something developed naturally by the narrative.

Probably the space devoted to Rose could've been used instead to delve deeper into Kori’s actions.

Being the penultimate issue of the series, and having an epic cliff hanger of the Outlaws getting ready to face an Alien Overlord and his army, there’s only one song I can pick: 'The Final Countdown' by Europe.

Keeping to the tone of my music selection, and I'd say The storming of the Aztec Teocalli by Cortés and his troops, by Emanuel Leutze, is my top choice for this comparison.

The Outlaws are facing overwhelming odds on their fight for the survival of earth, not unlike the Aztecs when they faced the Spaniards. And just like them, the Outlaws don’t know the meaning of defeat.

Despite my issues with Kori’s plan, this was a fantastic issue. Loose ends are tied, the stakes are raised, everyone is together at last, and the Outlaws have the chance to go out in a blaze of glory.

Honestly. I really can’t wait for the final issue of the series, as I’m sure it won’t disappoint anyone.

*** This review was brought to you by Adan, Comic Lad Extraordinaire.