The Story So Far
So far this run of Red Hood and the Outlaws has given us an unlikely, yet a remarkable trio of heroes. This week’s release of issue #11 is the third and final issue of the “Who is Artemis?” storyline. Leading up to this point in the three-issue series, we’ve seen our beloved Jason Todd recalling his death at the hands of the Joker. This is triggered by the discovery that Artemis’ objective, finding the Bow of Ra, is somewhere in Qurac. Recall that Qurac is where the Joker beat Jason with a crowbar and left him for dead in a building rigged to blow up.
The memory of Qurac also triggered Artemis to recall killing her best friend and fellow Amazon who was driven mad by the Bow of Ra, Akila. We see a new side of Artemis here as she displays some vulnerability while recalling her memory. This is a change of pace from what we’ve seen thus far of Artemis, as she has essentially been a hard-ass up to this point. But Lobdell has done such a prodigious job on character development that we as readers are right there with her, ready to give our support. Then what is there to say about the dubious Bizarro as a member of the Outlaws? He’s been brilliantly portrayed as this big, dumb, yet adorable oaf. You can’t help but love him.
How Did We Get Here?
After a crash landing in Qurac due to an attack by the supposed Quraci Dictator General Heinle, we see our trio inadvertently split up. Bizarro finds himself with refugees from the annihilated city of K’kyesh begging for his help in which he takes them under his wing before beginning his journey to find his companions. Jason is imprisoned by Heinle and his men only to be interrogated. When Heinle comes to the realization that Jason doesn’t know the whereabouts of the Bow of Ra, he tells his men to dispose of him.
Bad idea because Jason immediately escapes his constraints and turns the table on Heinle. This is a wonderful moment that leaves Heinle begging for his life like a coward. Meanwhile, Artemis is in the hands of….GASP….Akila, who is apparently still alive. She was previously, and accidentally, resurrected by a power hungry Heinle himself. Akila shows Artemis her army of women warriors and forgives Artemis for killing her before. However, the end of issue #10 shows us Akila is still craving power as she says all will kneel before Ra’s power or BURN. Yeah… still a whole lotta crazy…
What’s In This Issue?
In issue #11 opens with a face-off between Quraci soldiers and Akila’s warriors. Red Hood is casually standing with Heinle and his men as they “would sooner die than surrender Qurac.” Akila states that she is the Shim’Tar which we know is the champion Amazon of Bana-Mighdall. Both sides view each other as the ones who reign terror through the land and will not stand down.
As both sides engage each other in battle Artemis pulls Red Hood back scolding him for siding with a mass murderer. Red Hood expresses the same sentiment and informs Artemis that Heinle, in fact, does not possess the Bow of Ra, Akila does. Artemis does not believe this at first as she has been fooled by Akila’s words in issue #10. As Artemis pulls a sword to Heinle’s throat, Akila wields the Bow of Ra and kills Heinle where he stands.
Akila threatens all to bow down before the Shim’Tar or “suffer the purifying flame of Ra.” Artemis rightfully feels betrayed at this point and realizes it was Akila who destroyed the city of K’kyesh and shot the Outlaws plane down upon their arrival. Red Hood urges Artemis that they have to take care of Akila, Artemis expresses that she cannot. “People change when they come back from the dead. Trust me.” Says the deeply introspective Red Hood that we have all come to know and love.
As Akila is drawing back her bow to fire, Bizarro punches through the adjacent mountain to the rescue only to get rag-dolled into a nearby building. Red Hood wields his “All-Blades” which draw their power from his soul and lands a few slashes on Akila. She quickly shuts Red down and as she’s about to take him out, Bizarro to the rescue again knocking the Bow of Ra from her grasp. It is then retrieved by Artemis who turns it on Akila. “A warrior doesn’t choose her weapon…It chooses her.”
Artemis immediately realizes the Bow is not incinerating her as it would if anyone other than the Shim’Tar wielded it. She fires on Akila. Light begins to pour from her body as if she were erupting. At Artemis’ command, Bizarro heroically grabs her and flies her into space where she explodes in brilliance.
Back down in Qurac I felt like Artemis and Jason had a moment. Perhaps a love-interest moment. To be honest, I thought they were going to kiss, but they, in fact, did not. Artemis states that she is going to keep the Bow of Ra. She encourages the refugees, the people of Qurac, and the Bana Mighdall to coexist peacefully together. Since the Gods choose the Shim’Tar, and the Gods abandoned them long ago. Artemis states that the people should now choose their own Shim’Tar. She also says that the outlaws have not lost her. Bizarro feels sick, then collapses with no heartbeat. The next issue will be titled: “Bizarro Am No More!”
Where does this leave the Outlaws? Will Artemis stay with Jason as she stated they haven’t lost her? Have we seen the last of Bizarro? This is a title I am truly eager to keep reading.
How Was It?
Scott Lobdell’s writing in Red Hood and the Outlaws has been unprecedented. The flow of the story and character interaction has expressed a high degree of realism. As a comic book enthusiast, I like the realistic dialogue between characters and Lobdell does a superb job bringing these characters and their interchange to life. Take the writing and couple it with the amazing art of Dexter Soy. Who has done tremendous work for Marvel with titles such as Captain Marvel and Spiderman, and you have one excellent story to read. If you are looking for an incredible story and excellent art, you will not be disappointed with the Red Hood Rebirth. Even if you have never read Red Hood or even know who Jason Todd is, you will not be lost if you pick up this series. I highly recommend it to anyone.
Reviewed by Justin Swenson
Red Hood and The Outlaws #11
Written by Scott Lobdell
Art by: Dexter Soy, Veronica Gandini, Taylor Esposito
Published by DC Comics
Release Date: June 14th, 2017