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RED HOOD & THE OUTLAWS #20

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Its been two long grueling months, but finally, Scott Lobdell, Dexter Soy, and Veronica Gandini reunite once again on this kick-ass comic-book! So stand back, take a deep breath, and get ready for another review of their comeback story. It's April, 2018, and let's see if they will be able to surpass their previous hits!

TO QUOTE Sara Shepard:Always sleep with one eye open. Never take anything for granted. Your best friends might just be your enemies.”

THE REVIEW:
Within the last week, both Jason and Artemis have jointly agreed to keep a close eye on their over-sized partner, Bizarro, doing so while returning to their daily routine of stopping Criminal Empires setting-up shop in Gotham City. But the problem is, while Jason favors a fairly subtle approach, Artemis, on the other hand, uses a far more direct approach, one that could create some unforeseen consequences in the future!

Meanwhile, while this is going on, our heroes also try to keep tabs on a new hiring app for henchmen which is making the rounds deep down in Gotham’s Underworld. But will the Outlaws be able to get to the bottom of this henchmen market or will they fall flat on their collective faces, big time? Also, will the growing tension brewing between them stop the team from doing their job properly? To find out, please go to your local comic shop and buy a copy of this book today, keeping in mind that it's a worthwhile investment!

Overall this new story-arc seems to be starting in a somewhat slow manner but still manages to feature some really great plot-developments care of Scott Lobdell's skillful writing. Well, as the Bizarro Reborn story-arc has already shown us, sometimes it is better to take a bit of time to set-up your adventure, your narrative focus, otherwise rushing things will make the end result feel like a very unsatisfactory conclusion. That said, however, this only applies to the overarching arc since it's become a trademark of Lobdell’s writing style, saying so because he quickly resolves all of the smaller plot-points he introduces in this issue in a fairly pithy fashion. 

Character-wise, Jason takes the main focus of this story in an interesting direction, because on this occasion Lobdell uses Bizarro as a foil for him, an obvious counterpoint, basically depicting him (almost) crossing the lines Jason has sworn to protect. Add to that an additional layer of Jason being a substitute parent for Bizarro, and yes, you have a scene that really gets to the reader’s core. Artemis, on the other hand, is the one tasked with moving the story forward by actively taking action and precipitating the conflict with Bizarro.

Where the artwork is concerned, Soy and Gandini have finally returned to this series after a two-issue break, and man-oh-man, is their work a sight for sore eyes! While the guest artists were no slouch themselves, that's for sure, there’s something special about Soy’s pencils and Gandini’s vibrant colors that complement Lobdell’s scripts in a way few artistic teams can hope to achieve. I have no doubt that a big reason for this is the fact that everyone involved enjoys each of the characters and loves spending some time developing them. 

THE MUSIC:
In order to pick a song for this issue, I would like to refer you to that scene where Bizarro is left to make a choice on his own: With Jason clearly expecting him to make the right one, and yet, standing aside to let Bizarro make the call. That song is, of course, 'Big Decisions' by Morning Jacket.




THE COMPARISON:
As I just mentioned, the basic crux of this adventure is all about making choices, so it only seems appropriate to equate it to a crossroad: Where different paths converge and someone has to decide which road to follow. Will they take the high road and travel all the way up to heaven? Or will they take the low road and follow their own selfish desires?

THE CONCLUSION:
This issue is well worth the price tag just for Soy and Gandini’s work alone. Honestly, they’re just that good, and luckily for us, Lobdell is no less skilled than them and delivers a story that perfectly develops the relationship between the titular Outlaws while planting seeds for the adventures they will have in the near future.

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

RED HOOD & THE OUTLAWS #20 RED HOOD & THE OUTLAWS #20 Reviewed by David Lee Andrews on April 03, 2018 Rating: 5

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