Red Hood & The Outlaws has been a surprisingly effective title for DC Rebirth. The current arc, “The Life of Bizarro”, has kicked it into overdrive. Writer Scott Lobdell has been targeting the heart strings of readers, and with this story he makes Bizarro an undeniably tragic character.
***SPOILERS LIE AHEAD***
Last issue, Bizarro made a huge sacrifice of body in order to save his friends. Jason and Artemis have no choice but to trust Lex Luthor to save him. During the procedure to save his life, Bizarro reflects on his experiences. Artemis and Jason open up to each other about how important their third member has been in finding their own purposes.
There’s a certain classic comic book feel to this arc, especially this issue. The end of the issue reveals that Lex saved Bizarro, but he’s the DC equivalent of “Smart Hulk” now. Everything about this screams Silver Age comics, in a very good way.
Somehow Lobdell manages to fully commit to Bizarro’s vernacular without it becoming a chore to read his narration. Red Hood & The Outlaws is easily the most memorable Bizarro material in years.
Jason Todd hasn’t had a long list of spectacular starring series, this is truly something special. Revisiting his past constantly, and his messy relationship with Batman, humanizes him in a way that readers weren’t necessarily accustomed to. Lobdell has also done the same in making Artemis a fascinating character who stands on her own from Wonder Woman and the other Amazonion warrior women.
Lex Luthor’s change of heart in DC Rebirth has produced mixed results across all the titles he’s been featured in with an “S” on his chest. His characterization here is toeing the line between sinister and helpful in the best possible way.
The art in this issue is a standout, a showcase of diverse styles and approaches. Dexter Soy’s pencils are top-notch for every shift in style, Veronica Gandini’s color accents beautifully through every change as well.
Red Hood & The Outlaws is another surprise success from DC’s line of Rebirth titles. Lobdell hasn’t always been critics’ favorite writer, but he and his art team are onto something here. This series is well worth your time, regardless of how you feel about the characters it stars.