Wiping The Slate Clean
Art By: Dexter Soy, Jose Villarrubia, Dave Sharpe
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: April 13, 2016
Our issue begins with Arsenal having that same old dream again......... What you don't remember that dream he always has about when he used to work with the Iron Rule until they went overboard with their plans and tried to make themselves the rulers of a country, leading to Roy having to kill them with a nuclear strike as he rode away on his motorcycle looking like a bad ass?....... I'd like to imagine that right when the panel cuts, we have Roy riding away saying some 80's one-liner as the missile explodes like, "Hope you enjoyed your last paycheck, don't BLOW it all in one place".........No?....... What about, "I've decided to TERMINATE our partnership"?...... whatever. Yeah, I don't remember him having that dream before either, but apparently it's one he has a lot. Now I don't actually recall this, but this issue lets us know that when Roy was in the Gotham Underground, he saw one of the monster men that make up the Iron Rule for a split second and somehow he just knows that it was one of his former teammates....... even though he looks nothing like he once did........ big old monster man now.
So this constant dream that Roy's having, coupled with him recognizing a monster man in a sewer city has put him on the path to finding out if the Iron Rule are still alive and finally confronting his past that keeps rearing it's ugly ass Large Marge face. This leads him to a old broker that used to get him and the Iron Rule jobs, but ultimately it was a setup because the Iron Rule somehow knew that Roy would be looking for them....... and it looks like our boy Arsenal might have finally bit off more than he could chew because on top of being top tier mercenaries when they were alive, now thanks to that nuclear bunker buster he threw their way, they're lean, mean, undead, super powered machines looking for a bit of payback.
In the end, we head back to Gotham, where Jason and Duela are hanging out and talking about Duela starting school again so that she can get on with her new life and leave the Joker's Daughter behind her. This part is pretty cool because we have callback to Joker's Daughter's first appearance, which normally would make me shudder because of how much I didn't care for that, but this is a callback to the one part I actually did like, where Duela is telling us a story and we see that the events that actually transpired are the complete opposite, so I'm glad that this was used, but ultimately this all means nothing because Jason knows that Duela went back for the Joker's face in the previous issue and knows that all her talk of starting fresh is complete bullshit. Now that the ruse is out in the open, Duela, dawning the Joker's face again, tells Jason that the Joker made both of them and that they are like siblings and should work together........... and Jason just straight up shoots her. Now I don't know if this means that Joker's Daughter is dead because she's certainly alive when we leave her here, but she does have a big ass bullet wound in her so who knows? What I do know though is that Joker's Daughter's time with Jason and Roy is at a close and even though I was digging what Lobdell was doing with the character........ until she completely reverted back to who she was, I was having a good time with her and for a character that I completely despised previously, I'll chalk that one up as a win.
That's it for this issue of Red Hood/Arsenal and while I enjoyed the Joker's Daughter stuff enough, mostly because it started with heart and then ended surprisingly with a bang, everything here just seems like it's trying to wrap up all it's loose ends real quick and that's a shame because I could honestly care less about the Iron Rule and their undead merc-iness. It just seems like a quick sprint around the house trying to clean up before company comes over and from anyone who's ever done that, well it's not really fun. I do have to say that I've always been interested in what Roy did right after he left Oliver Queen, but this whole "I killed my no good team and it haunts me" story just doesn't play very well, especially since we know that Roy is leaving the Rebirth-ed title in the future. I don't know, maybe others could get into this more than me, but as of right now it just comes off kind of boring, especially when the big wildcard for this book was Joker's Daughter and we're through with that now. The art was pretty decent and I loved all the stuff that Dexter Soy did with the Joker's Daughter and I don't know if it's something that I never noticed from Dexter's style before or what, but this issue had a real 90's feel from the art and while some might not appreciate that, for a gritty, violent book like this, I actually really dig it and think it works well.
Bits and Pieces:
While you won't get much from this issue besides for tying up loose ends, I do have to say that everything with the Joker's Daughter was handled pretty well. It's not the most exciting issue to this series, but it was better than the Gotham Underground, so I have to give it that. I don't know if I missed this with Dexter Soy's previous issue of this title, but here it really feels like we get a real 90's feel with the art and while some might not enjoy that, for this type of book I think it really works.