RED HOOD & THE OUTLAWS #10

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[ DEATH TO THE SALE
It's June, 2017, and Scott Lobdell, Dexter Soy, and Veronica Gandini, have each decided to clean up their workspace in order to free up some more room to maneuver. And then, once they've done that, they'd each have enough free space so they can create the following comic book published by DC.

TO QUOTE Roy T. Bennet: “Time doesn’t heal emotional pain, you need to learn how to let go.”

THE REVIEW:
When the book begins we see Artemis coming face to face with a sight she never thought she'd ever, ever, see: Bana-Mighdall, restored to its former glory, accompanied by her dearly departed friend, Akila, back from the grave. Although, having said that, why can’t she shake off the feeling that she shouldn’t be there? After all, shouldn't she be searching for her two companions: Red Hood and Bizarro?

Meanwhile, while this is going on, Jason is back at the compound and reliving the memories of his death, again and again and again, which is an unavoidable side effect of returning to the place where said memories once took place. He knows that this is wrong, and that he should stop wallowing in the past and move forward, but then again, this is easier said than done.

Out of the three heroes, Bizarro is the one with the most straightforward mission to accomplish: He has to lead a group of refugees through the desert back to safety. This all sounds easy enough, doesn't it? However, the peculiar way Bizarro grasps his surroundings leads to some unforeseen complications along the way. Will our intrepid protagonist be able to triumph, or alternatively, will he fail during his own self-imposed mission? That is something you can only discover yourself by picking up this issue!

On the whole I felt that Lobdell continues to nicely juggle the three different plot-lines he set-up during the previous issue, and, although the developments are good, I have to say that not all of them received the same amount of attention that I’d like. Jason’s little trip within his mind is perfectly handled, and while it only amounts to two small scenes, Lobdell makes them count: Putting a lot of emotional emphasis behind them, not only by letting us peek at Jason’s more traumatic experiences, but also showing us that all the adventures over the last six years have had a significant impact on him. That said, I would’ve liked to have spent some more time within Jason’s mind-scape, although I’m sure Lobdell will return to it down the line.

This issue doesn’t spend much time on Bizarro’s quest either, but it is enough to show us Bizarro’s personality at its fullest. Conceptually he’s a character with no complications or major worries, as for him, an obstacle is something that has to be tackled head-on, very literally if needed; a simple characterization, for sure, but one that works perfectly for Bizarro.

Finally, we delve into the core of Artemis' inner turmoil, all stirred up by her unexpected reunion with Akila, her dearest and more important friend who she thought was dead. Now I must confess I don’t find Akila to be a very interesting character. As it stands, the current three issue format doesn't do her particular story any justice, as Lobdell needs some more breathing room to delve into Akila’s background and properly develop her into a fully-fledged person. At the moment she’s way too similar to Artemis, and with solicits spoiling her true allegiances, this makes the conflict feel a little flat. Yet, having said that, Lobdell did his best with what he had, despite this plot-line being the weakest of the three.

Even though Lobdell had more to deal with due to the constraints placed on the three issue format, Soy and Gandini, on the other hand, didn't have such a problem and they continue to be on top form, as per usual. From the little details hidden in the background of Bana-Mighdall, all the way to the amazing way he draws The Joker -- one of my favorite takes on the character -- Soy continues to uphold his growing reputation as one of the most promising artists in the business.

Of course Soy’s art wouldn’t be complete without Gandini’s palette! I mean, can you imagine, they've only worked together for 8 issues, and already they've managed to complement each other so much it would be a shame to see them working apart. I particularly love the way Gandini handles light so she can bring the proper mood into the scenes: Heavy emphasis on sun light for Bizarro, cold sterile lighting for Jason, and a ethereal lighting for Artemis.

Before I finish with my commentary on the creative team involved with this book, I’d like to give a special mention to the series’ letterer, Taylor Esposito. He topped himself with the sound effects seen in Bizarro’s section, and delivers an amazing splash page that perfectly encapsulates the core of Bizarro’s character.

THE MUSIC:
That entire sequence where Jason relives the events surrounding his death, with shadows covering the whole scenario while he accepts the grim reality of not being able to change what happened, no matter what, made Disturbed’s cover of the Simon & Garfunkel classic, The Sound of Silence, the only appropriate song for this issue.




THE COMPARISON:
A recurrent theme in this story is the way our three heroes are presented with a simple choice: Grow up and move on or else cling to the past and repeat the same mistakes, over and over again. Bizarro and Jason have already made their choice's but what about Artemis? Will she choose wisely?

THE CONCLUSION:
While this issue is weaker than the others which preceded it, the series still continues to be one of the best in DC’s current output, thanks to its excellent creative team working together as a well-oiled machine.

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

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