Now here’s a new DC comic that perplexes me greatly: Red Hood/Arsenal. It’s not the fact that these two characters are together and teaming up for another book, it’s that Scott Lobdell is back working with the two.
Considering how unpopular the last series these two characters and writer were in together, I’m surprised that DC wanted them back together again. But whatever, maybe they see something in this new comic that we haven’t yet. Let’s see if we can figure out what that is exactly. Is it good?
Red Hood/Arsenal #1 (DC Comics)
The Outlaws have broken up and have gone their separate ways. Arsenal is currently by himself and lending a hand to those in need. In particular, he’s helping out, from the shadows, a small government operation who’s involved in an exchange with a drug cartel. He knows the government agents are walking into a trap, but will he be good enough alone to save the day?
Red Hood/Arsenal #1 feels like it is going for a buddy comedy/action style story, with both characters fighting crime and kicking ass, while bickering and joking around. That’s the impression I got from DC Sneak Peek: Red Hood/Arsenal issue and from a small bit of the first issue, since Red Hood is not visible in the book for most of the issue (odd way to launch a new comic) and most of the issue focuses on Arsenal as he narrates about what is going on. That’s kind of disappointing, since you think you would show both of the characters working together right from the start to show off their dynamics and cohesiveness.
Well you certainly did a 180 there.
However, Red Hood/Arsenal #1 ends up a bit disappointing. The story’s underwhelming and not all that exciting, with Arsenal just fighting a bunch of generic drug cartel members; it feels like a real step back from the last run with these characters, as even in the sneak peek we got last month, the characters fought some crazy and flashy looking baddies (though at least the cliffhanger here seems to be implying some fun in the future). Since there was no Red Hood for most of the issue, we had to rely on Arsenal alone and he… honestly was kind of irritating. His cocky and juvenile narration was grating and fight banter was annoying. It was when Red Hood appeared and started interacting with him that the comic felt like it picked up and started to show some potential for fun, which is the biggest disappointment. You finally get the taste of what this comic could really be like, but it’s snatched away from you before you can really enjoy it.
Ah… how do those night-vision goggles work?
Denis Medri provides the artwork and it was fair, but nothing that blew me away. While the art has a more cartoonish style and look to it, which might be appropriate for the tone the comic is trying to go for, there are couple of problems that come with it: The costumes are rather ugly and feel like ’90s Image costumes (though with much less pouches). The characters are average looking, though Arsenal’s face looks off and his mask appears to be too small for his face to stay on. On top of it all, the action looks static and doesn’t have any motion or energy to it. This only adds to the disappointment, since a book like this could really benefit from a fun artist.
Is It Good?
Red Hood/Arsenal #1 is thus far mediocre. I appreciate the direction and tone it is trying to go for (buddy superhero action comedy), but the writing is too forgettable and the artwork is just below average to really make this book work as well as it should. I can’t really recommend this comic yet unless you were an enormous fan of Red Hood and the Outlaws beforehand and want more from these two characters.
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