So far this series has been mostly about Red Hood, but the “Outlaws” part is slowly weaving itself in. Bizarro has reared his head and Red Hood is attempting to get him on his side…can he do it without dying? Is it good?
Red hood and the Outlaws #4 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? For the full DC summary just read this:
“DARK TRINITY” part four! The unimaginable has happened—Black Mask has gained control of one of the most powerful beings in the world: Bizarro! Can the Red Hood stop him before Black Mask’s reign of terror begins?
Why does this book matter?
Scott Lobdell is writing a slow, but certain team building book here and so far it’s worked quite well. Each character has their own mission, but we’ve slowly moved towards them maybe realizing together they can do much more good work. Meanwhile, artist Dexter Soy is killing it with interesting double page layouts and highly detailed work throughout. Bizarro is finally a mainstay in the series so now is not the time to drop this!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
And this issue continues that trend. Red Hood and Bizarro go toe to toe for much of the opening pages, which sets up an immediate threat, but also something for Artemis and Red Hood to think (via captions) about. It also creates a situation for Black Hood to reflect on–as well as create further tension between he and Red Hood–which leads to the main plot of this issue. Black Hood and Red Hood have key scenes of dialogue, which further develop their relationship and actually quell an issue I’ve been having since the start. This all leads to an ultimatum and an exciting cliffhanger.
The issue also contains a key flashback for Artemis, a bit of humor (finally someone calls Black Mask on his BDSM thing) and delivers answers to the elephant in the room.
The art by Soy continues to be top notch and in fact this issue may be his strongest yet. Art usually drops in quality over time (since deadlines creep up) but Soy’s lines look as crisp and detailed as ever. In one full page spread, the complexity of the hulking Bizarro, a self reflective Red Hood, and a toy Superman all come together nicely, but up in the corner a flash of the people of Gotham are shown to reflect Red Hood’s calming words. It’s one of many beautiful pages in the book.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The turn in the issue that leads us to the cliffhanger does feel a bit cliched when it comes to superhero comics. The bad guy wants something, they don’t agree, and the usual “hell to pay” threat comes next. Understandably comics have little time to convey ideas, dialogue, and events, but the turn comes so quickly it reads overly dramatic.
This book gets inside their heads.
Is It Good?
Character work is on point as Red Hood’s heroic goodness rears its head. The team is coming together, a major development between Red Hood and Black Mask culminates, and the art is gorgeous.