Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Red Hood/Arsenal #7 Review and *SPOILERS*


Big Top Pee-W........ Arsenal


Written By: Scott Lobdell
Art By: Javier Fernandez, Blonde, Dave Sharpe
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: December 9, 2015

*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

Now before anyone goes and does something crazy, like buy this book because they think they need it to complete their Robin War collection, just let me tell you that isn't the case.  Yeah, while Red Hood may be in Gotham and the Robin War #1 is actually going on around this issue, it doesn't really play into the events of this book.  In the previous issue we saw our pair of heroes take on the Hero Manifesto and ultimately take on a new hire for their Rent-A-Bat business in the form of Joker's Daughter......... Yeah, calm down, I haven't been a fan of that character either, but out of nowhere it seems that Scott Lobdell wants to make her interesting by giving her some sort of redemption, since the anger that's within her is very similar to what Jason felt when he was her age.  Yeah, it's a stretch, but I'd rather have Joker's Daughter be a character that I like instead of something that I loath every time she's mentioned and if that means a complete overhaul of what we've seen of her so far...... Well, I'm all for it.  So yeah, Joker's Daughter is a part of the team as a long as she sticks to Jason's newly initiated "No Killing" rule and the Robin War is going down in Gotham tonight.  Let's jump into this issue........... that's not a tie-in at all really and see what's going down.

Explain It!:

Our issue begins with Jason running off to go meet Tim so the two of them can get in front of this whole Robins Laws thing before the street Robins get hurt worse than they already have....... Pretty much everything that we saw them do in Robin War #1.  What we see here is them first getting together and discussing things that we've heard a million times, like Jason's backstory in being a Robin, dying and coming back to see that he was replaced by Tim and Tim's backstory about how he felt he needed to be a Robin and how he became Red Robin because he knew he'd never live up to the name Robin when the one before him died in the line of duty.  Even though all of this seems old hat, I have to tell you that the way it's presented here is probably my favorite from anything that we've seen in the New 52 and the DCYou.  There's just something about the comradery and understanding that these two characters show for one another, not to mention some really great dialog that makes the opening to this issue stand above and beyond anything we've seen of these two character's origin stories, especially since we see them from both perspectives.   It's a really minor part of the book and the only thing that really ties into the Robin War, but I could have read a book with these two written like this all night.  


Once Jason and Tim head off to do their Robin thing, we're left with Roy and Joker's Daughter and while that's not a bad thing, it certainly isn't anywhere near as interesting as what we dealt with previously.  Jason wants Roy and J.D......... Roy calls Joker's Daughter J.D. in this and I actually really like it so I'm going to adopt it myself.  Anyway, Jason wants Roy and J.D. to stay away from what's going on with the Robins, but he never said that they couldn't go on a job together and since they got a call needing some heroes at a circus, Arsenal and Joker's Daughter run off to go get paid.  It seems that while everyone is dealing with the Robin situation, a couple of members from the Circus of Strange use this opportunity to steal some orphan kids that are working at a.......... circus.  We've got Phosphorus Rex, Big Top and Siam apparently doing some freelance work for someone other than Professor Pyg and even though Roy takes out Phosphorous Rex and Siam pretty easy, Big Top gets on top of him........ Literally on top of him and if you don't know, Big Top is a big ass bearded fat lady and getting on top of him might be the worst thing she could do.  Knowing that his spine is now in jeopardy, Roy calls J.D in and she goes balls to the wall crazy on these villains and takes them out.  After the fight is over though I get a little confused because later after J.D. comes to, Roy says that he had to taze her to make sure she didn't kill anyone, but in the previous scene we saw that she was lowering her gun and Roy's hand never let go of the arrow........ so yeah, confused.


In the end, Roy's about to drop J.D. off at Arkham because with that "I had to taze you to make sure you didn't kill anyone" thing, he thinks that the best thing for her, no matter what Jason thinks is to admit her to Arkham and hope that she gets the help that she needs.  


Too bad that they're attacked by lava zombies that come out of nowhere and suck them into the ground......... Maybe I missed something in a past foray into the Gotham Underground, but I don't know what's up with these lava zombies or why they would come out of nowhere and kidnap Roy or J.D..


That's it for this issue of Red Hood/Arsenal and even though I loved the first act of this story with Jason and Tim, the rest was just sorta so-so for me.  I don't know if it's because it was just a random fight with the Circus of Strange, showing us how Roy and J.D. work together...... and don't really trust one another, but there wasn't any sort of information about Joker's Daughter wanting to change her evil ways besides her simply saying....... I want to change.  Yeah, admitting you have a problem is the first step, but since this new development is so out of character from what we've seen of her, I just kind of wanted something a little deeper I guess.  Maybe we'll get it in the future and I'll be happy, but another problem that I foresee coming down the road is Joker's Daughter just becoming a Harley clone and as much as I hated J.D. in previous stories since her introduction to the New 52, I think I might hate that scenario even more.  Now, I'm not going to tell you that this was a bad issue or anything like that because it still had the charm and appeal that this title has maintained since it started, it was just weird because it called itself a Robin War tie-in without really being one and the story that we got instead was a little flat.......... and ended with lava zombies.  As for the art, I found myself really digging Denis Medri's style as this series progressed issue to issue and even though we have Javier Fernandez on art duties this issue....... and I thought I was really going to be thrown by a new style, it turned out to be really wonderful and I look forward to see what he brings to this series in the future...... Hell, even though I can't rightfully say that I know anything about art, this entire team did a hell of a job and the entire book looks fantastic.

Bits and Pieces:

While readers might not get the Robin War tie-in that they were hoping for, what they will get is for my money the best depiction of both Jason Todd's and Tim Drake's origin story that I've ever seen since the beginning of the New 52.  It doesn't last very long, but it delivers an emotional impact and really solidifies why Jason and Tim are so close.  We've also got a Roy and Joker's Daughter story...... that while most of this book consists of, it never lands the punch that we got from the beginning of this book, but still ends up feeling like a half decent story for this series.  Put all of that together with excellent art all the way through and you get yourself a fine installment to the Red Hood/Arsenal series, just not the Robin War event that was advertised.  

7/10
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16 comments:

  1. I only picked up 2 comics this week and one was so bad it made me want my money back, but I'm happy to say that this issue was not one of them. Jason and Tim being brotherly is all I needed from this book and I got it. And say what you want about Roy and J.D but it was Fun to see a new dynamic in this title. That's something that I love about this title is the fact that since the new 52 started back with red hood and the outlaws this book unlike 80% of DC's roster has Adventure, Comedy, Action, The Feels and is all around Fun.
    Anyone else feel the Scarlet vibe coming From J.D?

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    1. That's actually a good point. Now that you say something, Joker's Daughter is very Scarlet like.

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  2. This one turned out to be a dud, to be honest. The dialogue was all over the place, both literally and figuratively. I guess Jason's back to being the angsty black sheep of the family again? Still moaning about he'll never be #1? The Jason and Tim dynamic never worked under Lobdell, because he writes both of them so blandly. At least in BRE, there's fun banter between them, instead of a narrator insisting over and over again that they're "like brothers". The Roy and JD story was really obnoxious to read. Just seems that this was the first complete whiff of this event.

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    1. Jason And Tim do have a brotherly bond. This was established when the new 52 Started. And to be honest even before then. In Yost's run on Red Robin before the new 52 Tim was the only Person to understand Jason. Yost wrote Tim as a person understands the grey area of what they are. Tim and Jason saw themselves as family. There banter and dynamic is probably the best defined in the family. Tim and Dick don't seem to hangout or even communicate and for some reason Damain hates Tims guts. It's nice to see the family is not all doom and gloom like Bruce.
      As for Jason always playing second fiddle to the other robins, he doesn't Moan over it. He's really come to accept who he is in the new 52. And has move past all the hate that stunted his relationship with the family

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    2. None of that is really true. Lobdell took a hatchet job to Tim's history and personality because he wanted to prop up Jason some more. There's really nothing more to that. Tim's revised history that revolves around Jason doesn't even make sense. The only time Tim and Jason come off as actual people with any chemistry are in Robin War and Batman and Robin Eternal, when good writers like King, Valentine, Seeley, etc are handling them.

      You must not have read much Batfamily stuff if you think Tim and Jason have a good dynamic. Read anything with Dick and Tim, or Dick and Damian, or Barbara Cass/Steph, or Dick and Barbara. There are a lot of genuine character interactions, not just cookie cutter Lobdell monologuing.

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    3. I have to side with AJJACKSON on this one ... some of the dialouge in BRE is brutal. Tim and Jason can be very hit and miss in that series based on whos writing that week. I think this book was done very very well.

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    4. The reason I really liked this scene has to do with where it fits in this book...Jason and Roy both have problems but don't talk about them, but with Jason letting JD into the mix because she kind of reminds him of himself (which I admit is a bit forced), he is opening up a bit more - to Tim for now and hopefully that carries over to his and Roy's relationship. I am not a huge Lobdell fan, but I liked this issue.

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    5. It depends on the writer. Kelly/Lanzing's take on Jason and Tim was more or less identical to Lobdell's, bland and one-dimensional, and constantly announcing their one personality trait like they're Pokemon. When someone like Seeley or Valentine or King are writing these characters, their dialogue are much more organic.

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  3. It will be interesting to see how the Joker's Daughter will fit into this whole equation. I actually kind of enjoyed this issue. The duo now becoming a trio will open up some possibilities for the series, all the while, giving J.D. a chance to redeem herself in the eyes of the fans.

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    1. I hate to admit it...I like Joker's Daughter in this. I had fun with this book and maybe the tie-in will get more people onboard

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  4. It was a weak tie-in, but if you look at it as a regular issue of the series it's not that bad. I'm sure this will become a trio book. And this is the set up.

    This book does make the Joker's Daughter character at least bearable, and may be able to salvager her into an at least somewhat interesting component to this series.

    7/10 for me as well.

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    1. nice...this seems to be the surprise of the week. It is a very weak tie-in, but I really like Roy having to deal with JD and coming around a bit on her...just as I am

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  5. I like this book. Back in the bronze age when Jokers Daughter was Two-Face's kid, I really enjoyed her and I have hated whats been done with her since. This is the closest ive come to enjoying her since.

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    1. i'm with you...i hated how much they forced JD on everyone earlier in the New 52, but this feels a whole lot better

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  6. This is the first Red Hood book Ive actually picked up, and thats because it was the lesser of the two evil tie-ins. I have to say I was very impressed. Im going to continue picking this book up now cause I actually liked this story despite the random lava monsters.

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    1. Red Hood/Arsenal has been a bit of a guilty pleasure for me and this issue was fun. Not much of a tie-in, but fun

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