Get ready, comic book fans, because the closing chapter of Red Hood and the Outlaws' opening arc is finally here! So will Black Mask be victorious? Or will Bizarro be saved? Whatever the answers, I’m sure Scott Lobdell, Dexter Soy, Veronica Gandini, and Taylor Esposito will surprise us once again! It's February, 2017, and it's time for a killer review!

TO QUOTE Shannon L Alder: “All roads out of hell lead home.”

As the book begins we see a victorious Black Mask standing over a seemingly defenseless Red Hood, who's lying helplessly by his feet. From the looks of it, Roman's control over Bizarro is growing stronger by the minute, and now he has the only thing that is able to stop him in his tracks, namely, the cure concocted by Crux to eradicate the Techno Organic Virus. Boy-oh-boy, things are certainly looking pretty grim for the Outlaws, aren't they?

Yet as luck would have it, Jason is fairly adept at facing this type of arduous situation, so with a little help from Artemis he's able to escape from the Roman and form a plan to stop him. You see, the longer Roman remains linked to Bizarro, the more strain his system will receive from the virus. So, if both of the Outlaws are able to prolong their battle, eventually he will collapse under the virus, or, as Artemis eloquently puts it, “Fight until Roman burns to a cinder”. Which to me, leads to a very simple but effective way of resolving the first arc of the series

Even though this resolution can be considered pretty standard as far as superhero stories go, Lobdell still manages to spice it up with some great characterizations which has become a staple of his work, plus, the foundation for future plots.

My favorite part of issue 6 is the way Lobdell brings the story full circle. It began with Jason and Bruce’s first meeting and now it ends with them in what I believe is the first meeting of an entirely new dynamic. Whereas the first version of this series already set-up a new dynamic between Bruce and his wayward son, this second version finally allows them to talk about the elephant in the room, specifically, Jason’s methods and Bruce’s expectations of him.

It's a pleasant surprise, given the way Bruce is being depicted in other books, that Lobdell writes him as a man that is really proud of his son's achievements and wants nothing more than to support him on his future endeavors, despite any possible differences they both might possess. This attitude allows Jason to finally let go of his misguided resentment against Bruce and accept his offer of peace. I don’t know about you readers, but this is a resolution I’ve been waiting for since Jason’s resurrection way back in 2005. Hopefully, this time it won’t be muddled up by other writers, like it happened last time Lobdell tried to fix their relationship during the previous volume of the series.

I also continue to be amused by the way Lobdell is handling Artemis, since its very reminiscent of the way Jason was written at the start of the previous volume: A loner that can’t help but lend a hand to anyone who needs it and doesn’t feel comfortable with the idea of belonging somewhere. This, of course, makes her interactions with him one of the highlights of the book, whilst making me really look forward to the upcoming arc focused on her.

Bizarro, on the other hand, continues to be a 'wild card' of sorts, becoming more like a force of nature than a proper character in his own right. Yet, that said, little by little, Lobdell is changing that by giving us more snippets of his personality. Now that Roman has been dealt with, I have no doubt Bizarro will receive the focus he deserves in future issues. What's more, Lobdell has already managed to make him a compelling character by writing him more like a young child, constantly learning about the world around him. 

As I'm on the subject of Roman, there’s not much to mention besides the karmic way he brought about his own destruction. Although, it is important to note that this issue left him with some pretty interesting tools for the next writer to use and explore. Oh, and the way Ma Gunn made a surprise return in the last second, ha, that was a stroke of genius! Fingers crossed, she will be a recurrent character on the series, as I really liked her interactions with Jason.

Now as good as Lobdell's script is, Soy is no slouch either with his beautiful pencils nor Gandini with her striking color palette. Everything is simply so vibrant and full of life, all in all their artwork perfectly complemented Lobdell’s script. It is important to note that Soy will take a well-deserved break for the next two issues, and will return to art duties in issue 9. His work will be missed these next two months, agreed, but if this means he will be able to maintain the quality he has shown so far, I think it's a small price to pay. Also, the artists that will be filling in for him are exceptional in their own right, yet I do hope Gandini is able to continue her excellent work so she can ease the transition between artists. 

In closing my review I would like to apologize for forgetting to praise the last member of the RHATO creative team: Letterer, Taylor Esposito. Without his work, the book wouldn’t have that particular look which has made it my favorite among DC’s current offerings.

The relationships between 'Fathers and Sons' were one of the main themes highlighted throughout this entire story-arc, and after that emotional reunion between Jason and Bruce at the end of it, well, there is no other song I could pick than the Kansas’ classic, 'Carry on My Wayward Son'.

On the whole it's been a pretty long and difficult road for Jason, but at long last he’s been able to Come Home to the loving arms of a man that is by no means the perfect father, although he does try his best, nonetheless.

As per usual, Lobdell, Soy, Gandini, and Esposito, defy all expectations and deliver a quality story that will keep you at the edge of your seat from beginning to end. Definitely a story that deserves a spot on your shelf, as it will make you fall in love with their lovable protagonists.

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

RED HOOD & THE OUTLAWS #6 RED HOOD & THE OUTLAWS #6 Reviewed by David Andrews on February 06, 2017 Rating: 5

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