Take two somewhat ambiguously heroic heroes and slap them together to go full vigilante for hire and what do you get? A dude with guns (who used to be Robin) and a guy with a bow and arrow. Gnarly, but is it good?
Red Hood/Arsenal #13 (DC Comics)
So what’s this book about? Check out our exclusive preview, complete with summary and pictures to find out!
Why does this book matter?
In some ways Red Hood is the shameful mistake of Batman, which always tends to shed some light on the caped crusader in the process. Plus with Red Hood’s serious nature and Arsenal’s witticisms you can’t lose. On top of that, this issue has Joker’s Daughter! More of her please.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Joe Bennett and Scott Lobdell have thrown together quite a nice concluding chapter with action, fun dialogue and a major change for our heroes too. It basically has everything you’d want in a superhero book, but on top of that there’s a fun “flashback” story to end it all. We’ll get to that in a second, but damn if I wasn’t loving Arsenal’s (painful, mind you–he is tied up) cracks at the team of villains.
Now that’s some badass dialogue.
The issue opens with Arsenal tied up and needing a bit of a hand from Red Hood. He enters the fray and proceeds to mop these villains up easily. They’re all of different power levels–some of which Batman might not even be able to handle–and Red Hood’s merciless approach certainly helps here! Lobdell writes some fantastic dialogue here, including a badass line for Red Hood that would do well in a high paced action movie. The heroes deal with issues in the field from their past, deal with each other and it all leads to a somewhat sad end.
It almost feels like the story should continue, but it then kicks into a flashback between Arsenal (known as Speedy back in the day) and Robin who take on a perfectly goofy villainous team known as the Bat Boys. Albarran draws in a similar looking style to Mike Allred and it’s gorgeous. It’s also incredibly reminiscent of a simpler time in comics which suits the flashback nature of the story. The color by Jose Villarrubia is jaw-droppingly good in this backup story too, with plenty of bright colors to make it pop nicely.
Lobdell does not disappoint with the main story either, employing both a thick cel-shaded line and plenty of detail to make the images really pop off the page. There’s a nifty use of multiple panels to convey the sickos who were paying to see Arsenal die. These panels really heighten the emotional resonance of the story and reminded me a bit of what David Aja did in Hawkeye.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The only complaint I could muster was how the damsel in this story was drawn. She’s laying on the floor with her shirt pulled up just so to look sexy, but it’s not even that gratuitous so it’s incredibly minor, but it did strike me a bit.
Love these smaller panels.
Is It Good?
This issue makes me wish all climactic issues end with a flashback of the better times for the title character or characters. This issue is fun, action packed, rife with good dialogue and comes with a bonus story that’ll make you cheer in surprise.
Like what we do here at AIPT? Consider supporting us and independent comics journalism by becoming a patron today! In addition to our sincere thanks, you can browse AIPT ad-free, gain access to our vibrant Discord community of patrons and staff members, get trade paperbacks sent to your house every month, and a lot more. Click the button below to get started!