Thursday, October 15, 2015

Red Hood/Arsenal #5 Review and *SPOILERS*

Three's Company Too

Written By: Scott Lobdell
Art By: Denis Medri, Blond, Dave Sharpe
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: October 14, 2015

*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

Red Hood and Arsenal might just be the funnest book that DC Comics is putting out right now and that's do to Scotty Lobdell just killing this book every month and putting our duo back in Gotham......even if it's just a short time, was just brilliant.  Yeah, we're used to Red Hood and Arsenal galavanting across the world in their fight against evil, but there's just no place like Gotham and as we saw from our previous issue, it looks like they'll have their hands full not only taking on Underbelly, but also Jim Gordon's Batman.  Let's jump into this issue and find out the secret origin of Underbelly and how Jason will react when he comes face to face with a father figure he thought was dead.  Let's check it out.

Explain It!:

We pick up here, right where we left off, Batman vs. Underbelly...... and I guess, our two title characters are there to help too.  Batman uses his sonic blasters, which he believes destroys Underbelly, but as we all know, some silly sonic device can't kill a thought........ we all know that right?  After a bit of banter between Batman and our Outlaws, Underbelly reemerges and Roy heads for the hills.  No seriously, Roy high tails it and while we know that he's just going to do something ultra smart, it's still funny to see........ but it's also at this point where the book decides to become strange.  

Underbelly tells his origins, which if you caught the last issue you'll know about the story that Jason told us about when Joker and a bunch of Gotham's worst escaped Arkham and Jason realized how serious the job that Batman and him do really is.  Jason witnessed the death of a security guard and the Joker had himself a supposedly super device....... apparently, this device was a psychic siphon, that Arkham created to lobotomize patients and when this device was broken during Batman and Robin's fight with the villains, Underbelly was born.  Underbelly went on to create other forms of himself all over the world and thanks to how awful all of us are, it became very powerful.........  For the most part, all of this is fine, but I don't know about the idea of Arkham developing something that is capable of creating evil incarnate and I also don't know how the hell Batman didn't know about it....... Hell, even Jim Gordon seemed to be on Underbelly's trail, but this being the first time that we heard of him doesn't really work for me....... Also, Underbelly is under the impression that all of us thought that he was that poor security guard that Jason saw gunned down years ago and until the monster got all presumptuous on our asses, that idea never crossed my mind.  

After the back story, we see Jason Todd's eyes start glowing and him apparently turning on Jim Gordon........which immediately turns out to be a ruse and I don't understand the point of it because all Jason does is shoot his bullets into Underbelly's goo, which does nothing.  I guess you can say that he was simply distracting the monster so Roy could take his shot with his specialty arrow, but it just comes off unneeded.  

In the end, we find out that Roy ran away to go retool one of his arrows that he created to disperse a crowd so that it would reverse the effect that created Underbelly in the first place...... something to do with electromagnetically delivering a nerve pulse or some such nonsense.  I've read the explanation over and over again and it doesn't really make sense to me, but since Roy's a genius, I'll just go with it because I don't need the details, I just need him to make me believe that it would work.  Underbelly is gone for good and for their work in fighting this threat, Jim Gordon offers them the chance to leave, but before they do, Jason wants to go check out the Rec Center that he spent so much of his time at as a youth.  Yeah, he gets to see Bruce Wayne and even though he didn't understand why Bruce was acting the way he was, he was just happy as hell to see him alive.  Even though I would have liked to see more of Jason and Bruce and Jason showing us some of his sensitive side, I really liked what we got here because while it was underplayed, it worked really well.  This might be a good place to end, but it's cliffhanger time and we see Roy keeping tabs on Jason's little trip to the center, but someone is watching Roy too.  As our issue closes, we see Joker's Daughter pointing a gun at Roy's head and it looks like she might have splattered those genius brains all over the ground.

That's it for this issue of Red Hood/Arsenal and even though I went on and on about how much I love this book in the beginning of this review, this issue just wasn't up to par with how good this book has become.  Underbelly's explanations felt really forced and unneeded and the whole thing with Jason becoming possessed or just acting possessed....... you know, because his eyes were glowing just didn't feel right and didn't make much sense to me.  It's really only that part though, but sadly it takes up the middle of this book.  While the interaction with Batman was brief, I did dig what we were given here and I was happy as hell to see Jason find out about Bruce being alive, even if he didn't go home to see Alfred about it........ how are you going to end up in that family portrait if you don't put the time in Jason?...... He better end up in that damn painting!  The art was great in this book and I'm really happy that Denis Medri and the entire art team have upped their game with what seems like each issue........ now if we could only get Roy and Jason back in their old uniforms, everything would be pinatas and RC Cola.

Bits and Pieces:

It's great seeing our duo in Gotham City, but this finale to the Underbelly story was really underwhelming.  The explanations for things just felt off and all the build up for our duo taking on the embodiment of evil was easily dealt with so we could just simply move on.  I still love this series and I think that the art is great in this book, but this issue left me wanting a little more.

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  1. While I agree Underbelly was handled very weird, Jason being controlled wasn't a ruse he WAS briefly under his control but quickly shook it off. The point was to prove Jason isn't a villian anymore (and who knows, it might return down the line)

    And I have bad news about Medri, issue 6 is his final work on the series.

    1. the whole possession was weird though because up until this very short instance, we never knew that Underbelly could possess fools. Just kind of came out of nowhere and then was gone.

      I'm going to miss Medri so much. I originally wasn't sold on his style, but like I said here, he just keeps getting better and better and I'm going to miss the hell out of him on this title.

    2. If you read Red Hood and the Outlaws then you know that Jason has Spiritual/Mystical powers from his time being dead and Training with the All-Caste. He has a resistance to mental, Spiritual, and Physical attacks. One of Jason's many masters named Ducra said "I've taught you how to Channel your inner Darkness". That's how Jason uses his almost Chi like abilities/skills. This is going to be a staple of Jason's character now. His training has been better defined then all the other robins in the new 52, because we know the people he's trained under. According to Jason he references his training from Red Hood Lost Days, which is many mercenaries and criminals. He's also trained under Batman, Ducra, Essence, Bronze Tiger, Lady Shiva and the real Richard Dragon. So he has skills and abilities that they have. Not all there skills, But enough for me to say that currently he's one of the best trained characters in the New 52

    3. And this is why people don't like Red Hood and the Outlaws. It's not a story with a plot or actual character development. It's just video game fanfiction.

    4. It was a story with a plot and character development. The plot was if broken people could fix themselves with the help of friendship. As for character development, have read Jason Todd lately? He is no longer hateful and is focused on moving on from the past. He's still plenty angry but he's not ruled by that anger. Roy went from drug abuse and trying to commit suicide by Villian, to a sober optimistic person who is also moving on from his past. And the same for Kory. She let her past as a slave, and Warrior decide her life and the people she let into it, but after getting friends she moves past it to try to find and make a new life for her self. Red hood and the Outlaws was a good series about emotions friendship and adventure which in my opinion makes for great fun stories. And of all the Characters that got there books cancelled since the beginning of the New 52 Jason, Roy, and Kory are still going strong.

  2. There's no actual character development in the story. It's all just badly done exposition about these characters suddenly being "better" off-page. Jason's a generic bad boy with the cringiest one-liners. Roy's a manchild who needs Jason to babysit him. And Kori's just the token angry violent fanservice girl (which was just slightly better than the brain-dead nympho in the first arc of the series). There's no chemistry between the characters, no narrative flow. It's really just pandering to Jason Todd fans who want him to be a Mary Sue.

  3. There's nothing generic about Jason. There is no other character who has hi back story or his motives or his Progression. He's a character that cares unlike almost all the bat family. Jason views Dick, Tim, Damain, Alfred, Bruce as Family. That's why he was so hateful towards Bruce when he came back to life. Not that he died but that Bruce didn't care enough to avenge him and having replaced. The robins could be seen as Bruce's Sons, could you replace one of your Sons. Even now in batman eternal and Batman and robin eternal Jason has mended his relationship with his brothers who don't always treat him as such.

    As for Roy needing Jason you see that as a problem but I see that as realistic Progress. An addict needs a strong support structure if the wish not fall back in to using. And Jason is that strong friend that is choosing to stand by his friend. And it works both ways. Roy helped Jason move on from his past, helped him realize that while doing what they do the don't have to be consumed by hate, they are heroes after all.

    As for Kory, she has always worn skimpy clothing even back in pre-flashpoint continuity. As for her sleeping with Roy, one person after a bad break up with Grayson who sleeps around just as much as Tony Stark I don't see the problem. Kory is allowed to have relationships as well as any person should. Her attitude towards relationships in the first issue is that of a scorned lover, which is not so easy to open your self back up to love. To which she had a solid relationship with Roy. Longer than any thought would last. If some people would have read past the first issue they would see ACTUAL STORY DEVELOPMENT.

    1. Yeah, none of that is properly conveyed in the pages Lobdell wrote. In the first couple of arcs, Jason talks about the times he's tried to kill Dick, references his actions against Tim (ie, Battle for the Cowl), and taunts Barbara over her legs. Real love for the family. It wasn't until editorial wanted RHATO to be used for DOTF when Lobdell tried to shoehorn Jason badly into the Batfamily by having everyone act out of character and suddenly okay with his going around killing people with guns. Other writers like Tomasi did a far better job of addressing Jason's unique relationship with the family.

      As for Roy, none of that development is there. His recovery from alcoholism happened off-page with Killer Croc. His only role in the story now is to crack awful one-liners and have someone for Jason to talk down to.

      And this for "Kori should be able to have any relationship" apologism is getting old. Kori was not portrayed as someone with agency. She was portrayed as someone with no memory or ability to tell humans apart. She even narrated this to herself. She just propositioned the first human-looking thing in her sight, and Roy, being a 12 year old, jumped at the chance without thinking of whether or not proper consent was given. It was Lobdell trying to go for something "SEXY AND EDGY", and when it backfired, he tried to save face and pretend that Kory and Roy were in love all along.

  4. Jason's caring for the family was there before death of the family. Jason went from a character who tried to kill Bruce in under the red hood. There was a flash back to under the red hood and Jason beat Batman. But Dick came and fought Jason with Bruce. This is one of the times he tried to kill him. You say there's no character progression yet Jason with from a character who is trying to kill dick but now I was trying to help him save Gotham. And Jason's relationship with Tim is even better. Jason has been helping Tim since the start of the teen titans. This is the way Jason has moved on from his past. And is a way for Tim to let Jason know that he understands and even except some of Jason's decisions in the past. As for Jason making those remarks about Barbara's legs, he was responding to how she was treating him. She was threatening him. Jason came and helped Barbara even not chilling Mr. freeze and she still was threatening him. I think Jason's remark about her legs wasn't even a call to her being paralyzed. He was just mentioning that she was hot. As for Jason and Bruce their relationship started mending back in Batman incorporated when Jason was undercover as wingman.

    As for Roy being all about one liners and not being important in the series, take a look at this issue. Roy was the reason underbelly was taken down. Lobdell made the new 52 version of Roy a genius and throughout this series in the last series it has been shown he is an important part of this team. And as for his alcoholism would you really wanted a bunch of issues of Roy in talks with killer croc. I think Lobdell and Roy and killer crocs part of the story really well.

    As for Kory and her memory it was clearly a lie. She was simply ignoring the fact that she had recently broken up with someone she loved. And you know she would not have propositioned a 12-year-old.

  5. I may be the only one to say this But I loved the comic series and the art is awesome because I am a big fan of the red hood


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