Thursday, July 9, 2015

Red Hood/Arsenal #2

Roy wants them to go legit instead of remaining Outlaws. Jason hasn't accepted the idea quite yet. Now the duo have to face Mimes in Paris.


There are times when I have read the opening page of RHATO and couldn't help but grin. I'm glad to see RHA continues that tradition because I can almost hear the reactions to said opening page with Jason in a shower. Roy interrupts to use his flame thrower glad to see his invention worked. Given how Jason died that's kinda insensitive of Roy to say nothing of how crazy that was. You have to respect Jason for not screaming. It seems like Kori kept Roy more restrained as he now keeps butting into his friends' privacy and testing out inventions on him. Jason has truly become a patient person to not beat the crap out of him as Roy really tests the limits of their friendship.

It seems like Roys' claim last issue was accurate as he's talked Jason into a number of things. Given the fact Jason spends most of his time crime fighting he didn't care much about where they lived as roommates. Only Roy has already spent all their money on parts and gotten them evicted. Roy shrugs it off as he says they still can work for Battleworth. She's not as friendly as last time since she points out their outlaws and claims they stole her money. Since she didn't object last issue and offered to hire them right after that's stretching the truth. Jason's not sure how much she really knows given her rep but she wants to know everything about them and test them first.

They have to get sensitive information from a diplomat without causing too much attention. Only it's Jasons' turn to "screw up" as he thinks they should beat up bad guys before their mission. Which naturally attracts attention. Yet he makes sure they end up at dinner with the guy their looking for right next to them. The day is saved only the information on the drive turned out to be cartoons. I like this twist, it does faintly remind me of the snow globe "treasure" they found. Only they switched out the thumbnail drive. Which should bite them in the ass at some point. They get their next job which seems to be from the bad guy their fighting next issue.

Overall: I'm sure the shower part was supposed to be nothing more than a gag since Lobdell jokes around when Jason is naked. (Jasons' awkward first meeting with Kori and fighting the police in nothing but a pink towel.) But when you think about it Roys' behavior is disturbing. Is he really that thoughtless or is he trying to pressure Jason into going legit? Something else? While the art is fine it does make Roy look a bit sinister when he's stressing Jason out.

So far Roy seems obsessed with three things: their job, building things and Jason. He tries to put all three things together which could be more than a simple running gag about Roy being reckless. Lobdell has said that without Jason around Roy is self destructive. Is he trying too hard to hold on and scared of losing his best friend like he lost Kori? Trying to include Jason in everything and maybe impress him? Missions don't impress Jason but (as stated in this issue) they are a huge part of his life. Jason doesn't dole out large amounts of praise yet there's one thing he has complimented Roy on: his inventions. Roy needs validation, we saw him being clingy in RHATO and it's worse here.

Jason has put a lot of trust in Roy and it looks like it was misplaced as he struggles with dealing with him as a roommate. Back in RHATO we learned that growing up one of Jasons' biggest fears was starving to death. When he's trying not to lose his temper with Roy he brings up the point they need to eat not where their live. That fear is still present making the scene have more depth. He seems to be trying hard to be there for his bestie which maybe why he's willing to put up with so much crap.

The concern Jason shows over Roy potentially falling off the wagon is touching. We've never seen Jason comment on it before but he realizes it's a problem he needs to prepare for. Given his mothers' addiction to drugs and the hints of his dad being an alcoholic it might be a major worry of his. Since Roy has overcome the temptation for so long it's one of the things Jason admires about him. Luckily Roy hasn't had a drop and wants Jason to know he can trust him. It's a sweet scene that feels like another callback to RHATO only this time their seats are different and it's Jason asking if Roy is ok.

I love that Lobdell wrote Jasons' thoughts mirroring my own when Roy starts checking out the women in Paris. That Roy is trying to process Kori leaving and isn't (at least in DCnU) so girl crazy. Yet he doesn't say anything outloud. He does see that work is good for Roy which sort of confirms my theory about Jason doing this just to help him. Later on he thinks about Roy needing to be part of something bigger but doesn't think that life is for him. Jason assumes he'd just screw it up and I think he might have purposely fought the baddies before their mission because he's rejecting this legit idea.

I liked the detail of Battleworth and Jason both telling Roy he doesn't know what he's doing. It shows that their on the same page and perhaps have more in common. It also reminds me of the limo scene in RHATO when Kori and Jason said the same thing in union to shut Roy up.

Video Game parts were cute and a nice way to trim down on the battle scenes enough to make this one shot story fit. Most of this issue dealt with Jason and Roys' relationship and how they want different things. Jason is trying to be supportive and he is for the most part but he doesn't think it's the right life for him. Roy needs people and Jason hasn't had the best luck. He doesn't expect anyone to praise him and doesn't care about the spotlight. Roy wants positive attention which is why Jason puts up with a lot of crap as he walks a fine line of being a good friend and doing what he thinks is best for himself. They know each other well know to figure things out like Roy knowing Jason wasn't picking a random place for dinner. Jason even allows Roy to ruffle his hair which is fairly major. Amazing character work and a very satisfying read.

Say What?: I know Bruce found Jason as a teenager but he should still be a teen if Dick is 21.

I'm pretty sure the bat cave has been shown having a shower. I suppose it could have been installed after he died or it didn't have hot water.

I really wish Lobdell wouldn't mention the LOA as that looong arc did nothing for the trio. Nothing positive anyway.

Jason says Roys' been on the wagon almost as long as he's known him. Tynion had them meet when Roy was drunk but that didn't really fit since Jason was grounded at the time. This issue does imply that they met when Jason was Robin (perhaps earlier than Tynion implied.)

Did You Notice?: I'm glad to see Roys' tattoos are still present.

Jason and Roy don't have the same hair cuts as last issue. No idea if their go back once another artist takes over.

Questions Raised?: How could they already get evicted? Last issue showed them fighting mimes (this issue) which the text box said was one week later. Maybe Roy just has a special talent for these things.

What happened to all of the money Jason had? Or all his safe houses?

At this point I can only shrug that the guys (particularly Jason) don't bother hiding their IDs. But why was Battleworth unfamiliar with their previous work? She knew Arsenal by sight and wanted to talk with Red Hood. She had to have some idea who they were.

I assume that was Battleworth that saved the mimes so it seems they were right when they decided not to give her the real drive. Is she a villain or just someone with her own agenda.


  1. First, I want to say that your review is amazingly on point and very well thought, excellent job.

    Now, while Roy's behavior can be somewhat disturbing. Is due he's very socially awkward rather than having any sort of hidden agenda. Ironically, despite having a very perceptive mind regarding others' lives, he's pretty inmature and reckless when it comes to his own life. We saw it on the flashback with Ollie (in fact he's treating Jason just how he treated Ollie back in the day) and his reactions with both Jason and Kori.

    He's more extreme now but that is understandable since he's obviously hurt by Kori's departure and no doubt that's the reason Jason's cutting him so much slack.

    In a way, their dynamic is reversed at how it was at the start of RHATO, back then it was Roy putting up with Jason's issues to help him. Now Jason is returning the favor.

    This leaves me to another thing I've loved on Lobdell's script: the constant callbacks to RHATO. Aside of serving extremely well to highlight the development of the boys' it ties neatly with the idea introduced by the All-Caste of time being fluid and interconnected.

    Jason has grown massively and it can be argued that among all the sons of Batman, Jason's second only to Grayson on development.

    The plot was very satisfying and for all of Lobdell's statements that he doesn't like to tell a story spanning multiple issues, he's doing a remarkable job of tying the events on each issue with the next. -tone is certainly lighter and more humorous but it doesn't fell arbitrarily random, putting closer to Duggan's Deadpool than Palmiotti & Conner's Harley Quinn. Is also good to see that Lobdell is fin e with taking shots at himself every now and then. A rarity on the industry.

    Battleworth is a very interesting character and I really hope she isn't an enemy, the woman shown at the end had some subtle differences that could meant something's afoot.

    Pantalena did a great job with the issue but I still like Medri's better, props to Pantalena by giving Jason a greta haircut though.

    As for your questions:

    -Is possible that Roy hasn't paid the rent for a while and Jason's just had a bad timing with his arrival

    -Through all of RHATO Jason never collected money from the criminals they beat so is plausible that he has burned through all the money he had. The safe houses are a trickier issue but is likely those were designed for one tenant, making them unfit for the duo.

    -Battleworth knows of their activities but she doesn't know their real identities. Pretty logical since Jason is legally dead and Roy has been out of the grid for years now.

  2. I don't really think Roys' manipulating Jason but the art definitely gives a certain vibe. I don't think Medri would have drawn Roy grinning so evilly if he had done it. I read it more as Roy being caught up in his idea and wanting to share it with Jason to get a reaction than being socially awkward. I recall his semi-origin story under Lobdell having him admit he thrives on attention.

    I don't know if I'd say he's treating Jason like Ollie. With Ollie he bottled up his problems to the point he drank too much and they exploded when they broke up their partnership. Roy felt like their friendship was fake since Ollie wasn't honest with him and exploited his inventions. Ollie sought him out while Roy had to make an effort to be Jasons' friend.

    Their more open, Jason doesn't order him around, he currently lets Roy have control of most of the decision making and doesn't pressure him. Ollie spoke ill of Roys' friends while Jason hasn't said anything against Ollie despite not liking him. Roy seemed to look up to Ollie as a big brother while Jason is his best friend.

    Really I think the real reason is his abandonment issues flaring up since Roy was more contained in RHATO. Their issues have different extremes since Jason tends to push people away and Roy is a "stage three clinger."

    The callbacks are a nice touch for long time fans.

    Honestly I think Jason has been the best developed Robin but then again I haven't been fond of some of Dicks' DCnU developments.

    I do recall Lobdell saying there was a sense of story building with the leads just not an overly long arc devoted to the same plot. I did like the fact that this wasn't over the top like some humor titles that sometimes read like their trying to hard. It was fun and fast paced.

    I hope so too because she has potential. Lobdell did say she wasn't a bad guy in his interview. I do like that Jason is wary of her though.

    I prefer Medri too and did like the boys haircuts in this issue. The art was great and added some details I loved. I won't mind seeing it again in the future.

    I did consider that after I wrote this. It could be although Lobdell has been off on the time table before in RHATO.

    Jason came off more responsible than that, talking about how Batman always told him to be prepared. Plus his own instincts to survive. He had all these safe houses, bought weapons and clothes, etc. What was he doing before he found Roy to pay for his expenses? I always had trouble buying Winicks' excuse of Talia paying for everything and can't see him going to Bruce. Jason has stayed at a safehouse with extra rooms with Kori and Roy #1. He could have more.

    Battleworth did seem like she wasn't aware of them being outlaws. It seems odd that she's clueless about this when she knew Roy was Arsenal and that he worked with Red Hood. She even admitted reading a file in #1. I believe Winick explained the ID bit in depth and the idea was adopted by others: Bruce set up a network that erases all traces of the IDs of those who work with him. This might include Roy too. But Battleworth didn't know who they were when she made them a job offering. Now it's a problem?

  3. When I say Roy's treating Jason as he did ith Ollie, I meant that he's showering with attention and constantly trying to impress him. Aside of that their dynamic is very different (as you accurately pointed out) due Roy having different levels of trust with Jason. The constant creepiness on Roy is entirely Pantalena's fault, he seems to have some issues with the faces, for some reason they look "off".

    Now about the mistery lady, is a shame that Tynion burned that bridge (and thus making Lobdell more than eager to drop the plotline as a hot potato) too early but she being an untitled would've been an interesting angle to take.

    People has unanimously loved Pantalena's work, something that I find a bit dissapointing since Medri's style tries to do something different while Pantalena's heavily inspired by artists like Madureira, making it somewhat more "standard" since I follow Medri on different social media accounts I can't help but wonder if he's close to pass the job to Pantalena. He has been unusually quiet and a few weeks ago opened comissions, something very odd for someone working with the big two.

    This is mostly speculation, but Jason was more or less mooching on Kori through RHATO so him getting compacient and allowing Roy and Kori to handle the money sounds logical. Jason is also someone that strikes me like someone who needs few things to live comfortably so he could be living off the money he got from the chinese mafia for a long time. The place where they crashed on RHATO's issue 1 was a resort isn't it?

    The way I read that scene is that Battleworth had knowledge of their actions but she wasn't truly aware of the scope of them. So she was surprised once she delve deeper into their background. The secret identities is less surprising since I guess Lobdell is taking the angle that they aren't public figures so is extremely difficult for someone to recognize the boys on sight or be able to find a trail to their names.

  4. I can see that. It's important to Roy that he hangs onto those he cares about. Yeah although it seemed to be worse with Roy. I could see Medri drawing it with Roy coming off more oblivious, looking like he's caught up in his latest invention. This Roy looked like he wanted to freak Jason out.

    It would be and honestly before Tynion wasted the Untilted concept I assumed Jason would cross paths with them like this.

    I haven't read any comments on this issue yet but I knew people would prefer this art. It's good but the expressions weren't as good as Medri. I hope Medri stays on the book. I enjoy his work.

    I don't see Jason as a moocher and RHATO gave me the opposition vibe. Jason prepared, stole money from several crime families and never had trouble with money. Kori mostly stayed away from humans due to the alien-phobia and we still don't know where she could have gotten her money. Jason likes comfortable safehouses, he's had them in RHATO and Batman and Robin.

    The place in RHATO #1 was his since he goes to another in Hong Kong and refuses to let Roy follow since Roy already soiled the sheets at Jasons' other place. In his thought boxes he thinks about having safehouses all over the world. Lobdell talked a little about this in earlier interviews when he mentioned Jason having lots of safehouses.

    I'm still iffy on it since Battleworth is a powerful fixer that even Jason is wary of. She might be playing hardball and trying to have more control over them. Which makes sense given their reps and not wanting loose cannons. She came off more grateful in #1 which would give them all the power and she has to set up guidelines.

  5. Personally I see Roy like an hiperactive child that will keep escalting his pranks until he's told to knock it off. I hope Lobdell is building to that moment, Jason's pretty patient but he has a limit.

    When Tynion came on board I was expecting for RHATO to take this exact direction: the team having adventures all around the world, slowly building the fight against the untitled.

    I like Medri's work too. You know, it really bummers me out the negativity at the new costumes, RHATO's were great but the sleveeless hoodie has a lot of personality and really fits Jason's character. Roy's on the other hand takes him in a more professional direction that is also well received.

    When I said moocher I was thinking on how everyone was living at Kori's ship, with that in mind I didn't think is that much of a stretch for Jason to let his money in hands of both Kori and Roy. This of course would end with Jason broke.

    I remember that line of dialogue, I took it like Jason being sarcastic but who knows. On the other hand is possible that Jason hasn't mentioned the safehouses precisely because he's trying to support Roy and going with his crazy ideas.

    Good points about Battleworth, we'll see in the future I guess if she's just trying to rein in the boys or if she truly was taken off guard by them. In any case, I expect tha both she isn't a villian and that she becomes a recurrent character.

  6. Yeah, me I too. I did wonder if Lobdell was planting seeds for a future conflict. Roy is pushing Jason buttons and Jason is allowing him to do so. There's this vibe that Roy is still bothered by Kori leaving and I think that's the main reason for his "hyper-ness."

    I could write essay of the potential the Untitled had.

    I figured the reason they stayed on the island/ship was because they were buddies and Kori preferred staying away from the alien haters. Jason thinks of himself as a loner so he'd be fine with only having two other people around. That still doesn't feel right to me. I could maybe buy Roy doing so recently but I think Jason would be livid.

    I re-read it and I don't see it that way just him trying to get them to stay where they there. Well Jason does say that Roy convinced him to stay at the warehouse and he went with it because he's busy. He might not be aware of his own reasoning. I'm more concerned about his lack of funds since Jason made a big deal about being prepared in RHATO.

    I feel the same although I expect to see Jason and her sizing each other up. He says Roy trusts her but he doesn't. They still switched the drives and I doubt Jason would agree to hand over all their information or be under anyone's thumb. This does have shades of the Futures End issue with Roys' desire to "come out from the cold" and Jason wanting to be a loner.