Friday, December 30, 2016

"The End" Week: Red Hood/Arsenal #13!


One of the problems I had with the Suicide Squad movie...and a lot of fiction this year...and most of Twitter in real life...is that I have a hard time becoming invested, when everyone's a dick. But at least one may have hidden depths, in today's book! From 2016, Red Hood/Arsenal #13, "Later" Written by Scott Lobdell, pencils by Joe Bennett, inks by Belardino Brabo and Juan Albarran.

There's a bit to unpack here, but here goes: between being Speedy and becoming Arsenal, Roy Harper did some mercenary work with a squad that would become known as the Iron Rule. The narrating Jason Todd points out while Roy did it to feel useful, the Rule weren't as public-minded, and have now become nuclear-powered monsters. With the Joker's Daughter, they've captured Arsenal, and plan on murdering him live on the internet, once enough people vote him down. (Shades of a Saw movie or Black Mirror, although they're bad guys and wouldn't be above swiping there!)

Jason, the Red Hood, goes to murdertown on the Iron Rule, using Arsenal's anti-nuclear meltdown arrows...presumably, cadmium arrows, a little gimmicky, but admittedly the sort of thing that would come in handy. Most of the Rule explode grotesquely, although Arsenal knocks out the female member, knowing the Hood wouldn't shoot an unconscious woman. In a standoff with the Hood, the Joker's Daughter wants it to end badly: "Our Dad would've wanted it this way." (EDIT: I'm not sure if JD was still wearing the Joker's old face here, or a somewhat more conventional mask, but there are some crazy eyebrows going there. And coming from me, that's saying something.) Arsenal mangages to tase her, but is a little dismayed how he and Jason might have come across to the viewing public. Jason doesn't care, or at least pretends not to, since he knows his friend Roy is going to stay a hero, even if he doesn't. "You have too much faith in people. I don't have any."

Also this issue: a flashback tale, "A Friendship Born!" Featuring the hero's first meeting as Robin and Speedy, in a charming retro style that's still Joe Bennett? Not bad.

Roy and Jason had only thirteen issues this time, coming after forty with Starfire as Red Hood and the Outlaws; and it's Red Hood and the Outlaws again now, with Bizarro and Artemis.

1 comment:

Dale Bagwell said...

Yeesh, I've seen earlier Joe Bennett art, and those inkers on this one did not do him any favors. The flashback one's cute though.