Reunited with their teammate, Red Hood, Artemis and Bizarro must now face their most dangerous challenge yet: teaching children. As Bizarro is put to the test by Generation Outlaw, Jason and Artemis go to recess for a much-needed follow up on “that” kiss. Unfortunately, a new evil has emerged from the shadows, threatening to tear the world and our recently revitalized team asunder.
“You am monster. Me am monster. But secret am no one am monster.”
Serving as both an epilogue for “Generation Outlaw,” and a prologue for the next story-arc, Red Hood: Outlaw #42 feels disjointed. This disconnect is due in large part to Lobdell’s choice to bounce between three separate stories. Although this does a good job of breaking up unnecessary exposition, the abrupt changes between scenes can be jarring. The fact that some sequences are more effective in accomplishing their goals than others only compounds this sense of disconnect. Ultimately, Red Hood: Outlaw #42 is at its best when exploring Red Hood and Artemis’ relationship and at its worst when establishing the team’s next threat.
After Jason reveals Roy’s death to Artemis, the Amazonian warrior embraces her friend. The pages depicting this moment are my favorite within the entire book. Paolo Pantalena’s artwork with Arif Prianto’s colors shines on the nine-panel page. Their work here is compelling as they convey the complex range of emotions for someone who has lost one of their closest friends. It is hard not to feel the weight lifted from Jason’s shoulders as he finally uncorks his bottled-up emotions. What makes this page stand out is that the artwork does all of the storytelling with minimal dialogue intrusion.
Unfortunately, Lobdell inserts pages throughout the narrative that don’t add much to the story. The pages involving the Iceberg Lounge and the homeless man serve as an attempt to introduce a new threat. Although the vague nature of these pages piques my interest, they do little to establish the new enemy. As a result, these feel more like digressions than a necessary element of the story.
“We should talk about it.”
Thankfully, the pages involving Red Hood and Artemis provide us with a potential new mission as well as some resolution to their kiss. When Artemis attempted to summon her battle-ax named Mistress in “the other world,” her connection was torn from it. The search for her enchanted weapon promises an entertaining ride for the reader.
However, one of the largest draws for this issue was the promise of the follow-up to the two characters’ kiss. Unfortunately, the resolution is probably just as frustrating as a high school relationship, and I mean that in the best way possible. As the two ultimately determine that they are only friends, Jason’s internal monologue betrays his words. He states that they were both lying to each other about their feelings. This non-resolution keeps the door open for Lobdell to continue exploring their feelings without making them an official couple.
Ultimately, Red Hood: Outlaw #42 is at its best when exploring Red Hood and Artemis’ relationship. Paolo Pantalena’s artwork and Arif Prianto’s colors shine when expressing the complex range of emotions related to the loss of a friend. Unfortunately, the issue feels disjointed due to the insertion of vague pages introducing the team’s next threat.
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