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Written By: Scott Lobdell Art By: Denis Medri, Tanya Horie Cover Price: $2.99 Release Date: June 10, 2015
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*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*
Outlaws No More...... Well, at least that's what we're going with right now because after Starfire went and ditched her best buds Jason Todd and Roy Harper, these guys seem to have split up as well...... The romance died and then the bromance died. Well anyway, it's a brand new series for our duo, as they try to reclaim the magic that us over the top, action loving fans saw in the Outlaw series. Hopefully they can capture that and all of us can say Outlaws Shmoutlaws, Red Hood and Arsenal is where it's at...........Even though I thought Crux would have made a cool addition to the team, but that's neither here nor there. Let's check out this new series and see if it lives up to it's predecessor or if Kori was really the heart of the team.
Our issue begins with Roy Harper plopped down in the Arizona Desert, waiting on a meeting between politicians and nogoodniks that he found out about from chatter on the "undernet". The "undernet"..........I've never heard this word before and I'm not sure if I like it or not. Yeah, this has nothing to do with the story, but I found myself saying this word over and over again and getting glimpses of Johnny Mnemonic in my head........which is usually a terrible thing but let's get back to the story. During Arsenal's waiting, we get a little inner monologue about why he's on his own out in the desert, like Kori leaving and then him and Jason parting ways...... You know a little catch up for people. Eventually we see some cars pull up and before anything can go down, Roy calls the lady running the show: Tara Battleworth and tells her that this deal she's about to make isn't going to end well and that she should just split, but after asking if Roy's boss Red Hood was there, she hung up on him and continued her unauthorized deal. It seems that some desperados have a captured CIA agent and they're willing to sell him back to the Senator, that Battleworth works for. Well, of course Roy was right and shit goes south.
After the agent and the money are exchanged, the head honcho bad guy decides that there really isn't anything keeping them from taking the money and kidnapping the Senator and making their way back across the Mexico border. Well luckily, Roy was there and he tries to put a stop to all this dickering, but it seems that he really should have a partner to work with after all when we see the Senator get shot dead right in front of him. Well, it's time to surrender because Roy found himself looking down the barrel of a gun. Whoever said that friends will always let you down apparently was never friends with Jason Todd because that awesome son of a bitch is actually disguised as the Senator and when everyone's focus was on Roy, he quit playing dead and came out a blazing. The real Senator is safe and all the bad guys are dead........plus Roy and Jason took the exchange money as payment for their services.
In the end, Tara offers Jason and Roy a job if they'd ever want to go legit because she could use people with their skills and after Roy wore Jason down of saying "No!", we see our two former Outlaws in Paris shooting their way out of a situation as Roy has fun and Jason regrets ever working for "The Man".......... "The Man", bit was just my interpretation but believe me, Jason isn't happy about his current situation.
That's it for this first issue of Red Hood/Arsenal and while all of the pieces.......with the exception of Starfire are there to make this as enjoyable as Red Hood and The Outlaws, this just doesn't quite match up. Now don't get me wrong, this does have a fun "buddy comedy" type charm to it and I love the rapport between these two characters, but something just seems to be missing and I can't quite put my finger on it. That aspect doesn't really hinder the book any and Lobdell does a good job in letting new readers know where we are in the story while setting up the new adventures of...... aspect to the book, so we've got that going on. The biggest problem is really the art. It's funny, I didn't mind the way that anyone looked in this book, except for our title characters. I'd like to say that it's just the new character design that I don't like.......because I really don't like it, but it seriously looked like less time was spent on our heroes and the book really suffered for it. Hopefully the story really picks up to a level where I don't really notice the art because as of right now, it's one of the worst looking books in the new DC lineup.
Bits and Pieces:
While this book probably won't attract any readers that weren't Red Hood and The Outlaw fans, I'm happy to have it because I'm one of those fans. Yeah, we have Jason and Roy back on a paneled page, but something seems to be lacking from what we've been used to and it feels like it's more than just Starfire being absent and I hope that changes in the future......the thing that's missing feel........not Starfire. The humor and the over the top action is in place, but sadly the art is really lacking in this book and brings the whole issue down.