Monday, April 4, 2016

Red Hood/Arsenal #9

Yes, Jason and Roy are still in Gotham. Something neither are particularly happy about.


Actually their in the sunken section of Gotham called the Nethers seperated and dealing with their own problems. Jason has found some mercenaries called Iron Rule murdering the residents. They ask why he's getting involved since he's not one of the people they were sent to kill. Since their murdering innocents he can't stand by and do nothing. Roy runs into lava people again while JD deals with her rival. Charon wants to sink the rest of Gotham and have them deal with those below--the outcast those above ignored.

The Dwellers of the flooding were apparently mutated by the gasses and heat below. It finally dawns on JD that maybe she does hold some responsibilities given her history with the Nethers. Roy is taken to them noting JD is more fragile when she isn't wearing a mask. She's not pleased with his sense of humor. Using his training Jason kicks the Iron Rules' ass, then runs? Well it makes for a perfectly timed entrance.

JD expresses regret and tries to kill herself along with Charon when she pushes him over the side. Only Roy saves her and Jason promises to be there for her. We find out that Roy actually led the Iron Rule and regrets taking them on. Did he get them killed?

Overall: The Nethers concept still has lots of potential and I love the moments when the story recognizes it by taking a moment to really take in the environment. In this issue it was Roy seeing the stadium.

I'm not sure how to feel about the bit with the Iron Rule being dead. That's the second group that has members back from the dead in this series. They claim to be like a family which should make whatever history Roy has with them pretty interesting since it ended on bad terms. Disband is in parentheses so does that imply he had to kill them? I'm also wondering about the timeline for his leadership since Jason seemed to be keeping tabs of Roy after RHATO. Roy was a "solider of fortune" before Jason saved him from prison. It seems like Roy has kept A LOT of secrets from Jason which explains more of his behavior.

I'm not sure if I have trouble buying JD having a change of heart because of the last solicit or the feeling Jason is tempting fate. This is the second promise he made her that conflicts with the first. Keeping the mask off is a big step though, as long as she had it I couldn't take her having a redemption arc seriously. I'll try to keep open minded and remember solicits aren't always 100% right.

I really like the moment where Jason studies the Iron Rule to look for a weakness to uses it later. Right away you think "oh yeah he learned that from Batman." While that may be somewhat true the urgency was honed in with Ducra in her do or die training. It's been briefly touched on in RHATO in passing that the All Caste didn't play around with their teachings and you died if you didn't adapt. I would have liked to see Jason take out the group by himself but it was nice to see him being badass.

I'm of two minds with Fernãndez art, I've always liked it but this issue seems to be missing a lot of backgrounds details. There's definite movement in the figures that work really well for the characters. Jason has a very gun kata type of pose on page three that looks like it's straight out of a video game. The fighting definitely made me happy since some creators forget Jason is agile.

I enjoyed the issue although I'm a little nervous about how the series will end given DC splitting up the team and making them go "back to basics."


  1. Yeah that is the implication, the Iron Rule got out of control and Roy had to kill them to stop them. I also assumed that happened some time before Roy went to Kandahq, that would explain neatly why he feels the need of having someone around.

    Oh just wait to see issue 10, whatever Lobdell is planning with JD is very interesting.

    Indeed that sequence was great although a lot of people didn't took kindly that it was extremely similar to the way Cassandra's skills are usually depicted. In any case, I thought the sequence flowed very well, conveying perfectly Jason's skill while also mirroring with his training with the All-Caste (I have to admit that I loved to see them referenced again). By the way, Jason hold his ground for a bit but eventually the Iron Rule overwhelmed him and only the sudden quake that hit the nethers saved his life.

    Fernandez does a great job to convey movement and no small part for his experience on the medium. This same experience is what allows him to be more detailed than Medri (he was great but it was obvious he wasn't used the the frantic schedule of American publishers) If I have a complaint about Fernandez' art is the way he draws faces, at times they don't look very detailed creating a very jarring effect.

    Reading through tumblr I found a post analyzing the sequence where Jason reunites with Roy and Duela and how it perfectly shows their friendship.

    Roy isn't surprised about Jason's sudden appearance and Jason isn't surprised at Roy having a "gun-arrow" despite Roy hating guns, why? because they're best friends and they KNOW they'll have their back.

    Having said that, I do hope they separate on friendly terms, their friendship has been so well developed that anything less will be very hard to swallow.

  2. That makes Roys' relationship with Jason even more interesting because he's never had the same attitude with him. Roy believes the rumors about Jason at the start but he never back off, he wants to be his friend.

    I might read it tomorrow, I'm trying to stretch out my books now that I have free time. Especially since the new issue is so close to being released.

    I don't know about that, maybe the way it was depicted in the art but Jason isn't doing the same thing. Not the way I read it anyway. Cass reads body language, Jason studied for weaknesses, things he could use for his advantage like the gun. He had to literally hone in on that skill to survive, it's explained good enough for me.

    Dick HAS Cass' ability in this canon yet I've seen little to no complaining about that. That's how he figured out who Batman was. Last I checked he didn't even have a reason for it. He wasn't conditioned he just has it by the time he enters the manor.

    I kind of got that impression but the art made it look like he could win. I mean he's a freaking bat kid, the other bat writers may forget it but that means a hell of a lot. Like I said in other reviews I want more badass Jason.

    I think compared to his other work (Doomed) this issue didn't feel as detailed. His faces were also much stronger there like the way he showed Reisers' emotions.

    I read that yesterday, It was saying how those four panels with Jason arriving and accepting the arrow gun basically summed up their friendship. It was a good piece.

    Same. I think that like Starfire it almost feels like a forgone conclusion that no one outside this book, writer or character will acknowledge their friendship. I hope that isn't the case.