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Written By: Scott Lobdell Art By: Joe Bennett, Belardino Brabo, Juan Albarran, Jose Villarrubia, Dave Sharpe
Cover Price: $2.99 Release Date: June 8, 2016
*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*
It's time to say goodbye to Red Hood/Arsenal and it's funny because even though I originally really dug this book, it has certainly gone down hill over the past few months and it's strange to think that Red Hood will continue "Outlawing" into Rebirth. I'm really at a loss for words here because what do you say about Jason and Roy's time as Rent-A-Bat since it was bogged down with Joker's Daughter and the Iron Rule? It all just seems like nonsense, but maybe this final issue will give us a redeeming quality that will allow us to open Jason's Rebirth book with a smile and forget about all the garbage we got before............ maybe. In our previous issue we saw Roy kidnapped by his former team the Iron Rule and made the subject of a internet voting game, where the trolls out there in interwebs land would decide whether Arsenal lives or dies.......... and from the way the votes were coming in, it doesn't look to good for our archer. Things might come around though because as that issue closed we saw Jason find some secret weapon in Roy's workshop that appears to be just what the doctor ordered in saving Arsenal's life........ plus we know that Roy will be in Titans so I guess there isn't too much worry going into this. Okay, let's jump into this issue and see how these two best friends part ways and if it's amicable. Let's check it out.
When our issue begins I immediately get disappointed partly because I was wrong as hell in my review of the previous issue where I was talking about how it seemed that Roy had built himself some kind of rudimentary Mother Box or as I liked calling it before getting completely shut down with what's actually going on "The Step-Mother Box". Anyway, Jason found something in Roy's workshop that seemed to make his day in the previous issue and because I saw a "PING" my mind went straight to a Mother Box, like any good DC fan would, but as it turns out I was completely wrong and that ping was actually from a locator that found Roy and that's it. The other reason that I was immediately disappointed was because this thing that Jason found is revealed here to be....... trick arrows that "put out nuclear energy". I have that in quotes because that's how it's described in the book and that's all the description that we get. This might have been cool if we had a little more background on the Iron Rule and what their power sets were because besides for me knowing that Roy supposedly killed them with a nuclear strike and that they didn't stay dead..... that's all I got. Apparently though, these trick arrows when they strike the Iron Rule turn them into the Tar Man from Return of the Living Dead.......... or like a ice cream sundae on a hot day........ they go melty.
So yeah, Jason starts taking out Iron Rule fools left and right with these trick arrows until Roy gets him to cool it by getting in between him and a member of the Iron Rule and for some reason Jason is beyond pissed at this whole situation. Yeah, it's got to be a nuisance to rescue somebody from certain death from the Class of Nuke 'Em High, but Jason seems to be taking all this a little too personal. This continues when he comes across Joker's Daughter again and she almost goads him into killing her....... which is a shame because Jason was making great strides a few months ago with taking a "No Killing" stance and I thought this worked really well with all the time that he was getting with the Bat Family during the Robin War and Batman and Robin Eternal and I was finally starting to think that Jason would finally get on that goddamn family painting at Wayne Manor, but with him killing off the Iron Rule and almost making Joker's Daughter eat a bullet, it looks like Jason's summer playlist will be featuring Alice Cooper's No More Mr. Nice Guy and it will be in heavy rotation.
In the end, Roy puts a stop to the tense situation between Joker's Daughter and Red Hood by simply tazing the teenage terror, but it seems that Jason has already decided to end Roy and his partnership because we get a scene where Jason is pretty much telling Roy that he's too good to be running around with the likes of Jason and it's so over the top that it comes off like one of those classically cliched scenes where you're trying to release a animal back into the wild but it doesn't want to go so you have to get nasty....... I wish I had a better example, but the first one to come to mind was when John Lithgow was trying to get Harry the bigfoot to go back into the woods even though he had become a member of the Henderson family. So that's all she wrote with Jason and Roy's partnership.......... but that's only fifteen pages of the book. The rest of the issue comes off to me as an experiment in what this book would look like if it got the Batgirl treatment and it just seems pointless as hell because it's just supposed to be a cartoony look at Jason and Roy's first meeting when they took on that gang from the Warriors that dressed as baseball players........ That's what happened right?
That's it for this series of Red Hood/Arsenal and it's crazy to me that for the final issue we didn't even have enough story to get a full page count so a backup had to be added and that just came off as nonsense to me because of the Saturday Morning Cartoon style it was approached with. The whole short story that this issue was though just came off forced as hell because Jason just needs to be a dick to drive Roy away so that he can get back to his Outlaw roots in Rebirth........ which could be cool, but I wish it was handled a little bit better than this because it seemed like a total reversal from everything that the character has become in this series. Let's not forget the "Put Out Nuclear Energy" arrows because as far as I know Jason knows less about these characters than I do because I was at least privy to a flashback and I still didn't know that these characters powers and life itself was based on them having nuclear energy....... I guess you could come to that conclusion if you're taking a leap for something, but I don't think that Jason had any knowledge of these fools so this whole final showdown just comes out of nowhere with Red Hood having a secret weapon. It's just not a lot of fun and the most I can say for this issue is that the art was decent........... except for Joker's Daughter's muppet eyebrows, but the art only goes for three quarters of the book and then we jump into cartoon territory for the first meeting between these two and all of that just comes off as pointless nonsense as a way to leave us on a positive note, but with the type of asshole Jason was just being a couple of pages ago, it really doesn't work.
Bits and Pieces:
Red Hood/Arsenal really leaves us on a terrible note, where things just happen for no real reason other than to get Jason on his own again for his Outlaws Rebirth title. Hell, we don't even get a full page count to tell this final tale because there just isn't enough story so we get a cartoony look of when Jason and Roy first met that really does nothing for me. This title has been struggling for awhile now and sadly this issue is just more of the same nonsense, but because this is the finale it just accentuates how this arc had really nothing going on at all.