RED HOOD & THE OUTLAWS #3

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[ SINK THAT SUPER SALE
Its November, 2016, and Scott Lobdell, Dexter Soy, as well as Veronica Gandini, are three people who've set up the most amazing haunted house the world has ever seen! Everything is there: grumpy ladies, misunderstood big guys, S&M fetishists, and the most scary thing of them all: Toy Stores. AAAAhhhhhhhh!!!

TO QUOTE Oscar Wilde: “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken”.

THE REVIEW:
At the start of this book we pick up from where the previous issue left off, with Jason and Artemis overwhelmed by the cargo Black Mask was pursuing: a clone of Superman. But before they can take measures to stop Sionis from getting his hands on this clone, Mask floods the train with sleeping gas, knocking them out, instantly.

When Jason eventually wakes up the following morning, no worse for wear, and with a fresh change of clothing by his side, he can’t help but wonder what Black Mask’s goal actually was. Especially after finding a replacement helmet waiting for him! Did Mask have it replicated? Or has he figured out where Jason’s hideout is located? Who is fooling who here?

With those thoughts running wildly throughout his mind, Jason meets up with Sionis at the exact same time the Superman clone is finally revealed: An event that is too close to comfort for Jason, particularly where it comes to his own experience with resurrection. Yet, in the same breath, these parallels make Jason feel a sense of camaraderie with the defective Superman clone. Strange, but true.

So what's happened to Artemis while this is going on? And what will be the consequences of the link between Jason and Bizarro? That, my friends, is something you have to discover by yourselves. But rest assured, the answers are well worth the price of admission.

Whereas the previous issues of Red Hood and The Outlaws focused on both Jason and Artemis respectively, issue 3 is all about Bizarro, and trust me, Lobdell doesn’t disappoint with his take on this character. While the version itself is new, it drinks heavily from the Bizarro introduced during the Forever Evil event. Just like that version, this Bizarro is a defective Superman clone made by Lex Luthor, but rather than just being dumb, he simply sees the world through a very different perspective than the rest of society. Lobdell's idea of tying Jason and Bizarro together through their shared experiences with resurrection is a brilliant idea, inspired, since it gives Jason a personal investment that was lacking with his previous relationships with other characters, serving to keep Bizarro grounded and relatable to the audience.

Artemis, on the other hand, takes a sort of antagonist role regarding Bizarro, since for her Bizarro is nothing more than a weapon to be used. This distaste makes for a pretty interesting contrast to her condescending dynamic with Jason and adds a fresh layer to this new team of Outlaws. A new layer where Jason will be the person in charge to keep both of his teammates in line, helping them to grow closer as a group.

While incredibly enjoyable, truth is, Lobdell’s script wouldn’t be the same without Soy’s beautiful pencil work. The way Soy mirrored Bizarro’s release with Jason’s resurrection was breath taking, especially the beautiful splash page that concluded the whole sequence -- a powerful image that perfectly sums up Jason and Bizarro’s association. Clearly Lobdell and Soy have found the perfect balance and thus managed to bring just the best from each other through their time working together.

Ah, but we can’t forget the third member of this creative trinity. 

The book wouldn’t be the same without Gandini’s colors breathing life into Soy’s wonderful pencils. Gandini has developed a great tone to compliment the scenes crafted by Lobdell and Soy with her smart color palette: muted colors when the scene is introspective, and bright for the action or day-to-day interactions between the characters. 

I am repeating myself every month with this, but I truly hope editorial doesn’t break this creative team anytime soon. 

THE MUSIC:
A huge part of Jason’s relationship with Bizarro stems from the knowledge that they will never be able to replace Batman nor Superman, noting how they have to develop personal traits of their own. So free from any expectations or obligations, I now choose Billy Idol’s 'Dancing with myself' as the perfect companion for this issue.




THE COMPARISON:
With Bizarro in play and the duplicity themes that permeated the whole narrative, to me, this issue was like looking into a mirror. Will Jason and Bizarro be able to find their true selves, or will they get caught chasing after the elusive reflection in the glass?

THE CONCLUSION:
Why are you still reading this review? Go get your issue now!

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

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