Friday, May 13, 2016

Red Hood/Arsenal #12

The final arc of the series that's telling us how the leads end up in different books when Rebirth hits. With the way last issue ended things don't look so good.


The guys split up to deal with their own demons with Jason confronting Jokers' Daughter and Roy looking for the Iron Rule. After having his offer of redemption refused Jason shot JD before she could shoot him. Roy tried to take the Iron Rule by surprise but they got the drop on him first. We see that fight didn't go so well as Roy appears beat up and addresses the Internet. The Iron Rule have set up a poll for whether or not Roy dies with only 52 votes in favor of him living. They also have Tara Battleworth who they plan on killing too and use her to ask the people to vote. A bunch of heartless people are shown voting for Arsenal to die with mostly bored expressions. Only Barbara Gordon seems upset when she sees it.

It turns out Jason didn't kill JD as paramedics rush her to a hospital. He thinks how he wanted a better life for her. Wondering if he's so different than her because he wears the Red Hood helmet which is also part of the Jokers' legacy. Barbara calls him to pass on the information as he rushes to save his friend. JD kills the paramedics and it's revealed she's in charge of the Iron Rule. Returning to the warehouse he and Roy live in Jason gets a few things to help save his buddy.

Back with Roy JD pretends she's there to help Roy only to psyche him out and show that she's in charge of the Iron Rule. Since Jasons' death at Jokers' hands didn't take JD wants to hurt him by killing Roy. Tara is on the death list too because she helped them become respectable. Just before she can be killed Jason addresses JD/Iron Rule saying he's coming in before the lights go off. The lower corner says: The END of Red Hood/Arsenal [In more ways than you can image.] Very ominous.

One more issue to go.

Overall: I'm bringing up the cover first because the composition has been bothering me. There's no real flow and Jasons' figure looks the most awkward. Originally it was cropped without JD and I guess that's because it's supposed to be a surprise? It's basically the same type of backpack pose as the previous issue.

I don't like the "booty call" comment for several reasons and don't think it fits the Jason Todd Lobdell has been writing. It feels more like the bad boy stereotype that other writers have been using. Jason might have a facade but he respects women, this would be a comment he'd groan at Roy using. Plus I truly hated BE when they had him fawning over her when Barbara treated him like crap. It brought back some bad memories of comics I don't like. Otherwise Lobdell wrote her FAR nicer than I've seen her written by many and certainly treating Jason better. Other than informing him of the problem she really doesn't serve a function although I have meta thoughts about her comments for another post. This was an okay appearance but I really don't want her back next issue.

I really liked the poll which is a meta nod to the infamous DITF poll. This idea was also used by Morrison but I think this works much better. I never saw Jason as the type to set up such a thing especially against his family. When Jason kills he doesn't toy around. This tying into Jokers' legacy and how Jason died is perfect. Much like the first time it also relates to someone he cares about being in danger and trying to get them out. I've always thought breaking Roy out in the first issue of RHATO VOL.1 was a connection to saving a former sidekick like himself.

It's stated by Jason that he wasn't as against the idea of starting a superhero business as he let on although the money never interested him. The in-depth look into Jason's emotional state really works well here as he thinks how much his friends have meant to him since he came back from the dead. How hard it's been for him to make connections with people, a theme Lobdell has brought up from time to time. The bit of panic Jason feels at the thought of Roy going through what he went through is heart breaking. It also gives us a look into his relationship with Bruce when he admits to waiting to be saved then dying not long after he realized he wasn't coming. Except for the cameo I really enjoyed this issue.

Did You Notice?: The wound being treated on JD is on her shoulder when last issue made it look like she was shot lower.

Questions Raised?: Why didn't Barbara just raise Roy's "live" votes up? Are the writers forbidden to let her show Oracle skills until Rebirth?


  1. I greatly enjoyed this issue. Everything related to Duela and the Iron Rule tied up together quite nicely and is clear Lobdell had more time to properly set the ending of this issue compared to RHATO's that despite being enjoyable was undeniably rushed.

    While I wasn't thrilled at Lobdell sort of acknowledging Eternal (and yet people still believes he doesn't care for what other writers do) I didn't felt anything out of place with Jason interactions with Barbara.

    His comment is prefectly in line with his usual sarcasm and more than dennote an offensive intent, is the sort of playful teasing people use with people they really trust. Not that different to the way Jason sometimes call Roy an idiot (or threatens to kill him) from time to time.

    Another detail I loved is the way the story has come full circle. Jason's story in the N52 started with him rescuing Roy and ends the same way. With this in mind, I also agree the whole poll reference was better used here than it was with Morrison, the plan is absolutely the kind of crazy non sense this Duela would pull.

    Now I'm kind of expecting that Lobdell will pull something similar to what Snyder did with Bruce during Gordon's tenure, that whatever Jason took from Roy's safe will save his buddy but in exchange will alter his memories thus leading to their separation.

    Provided I'm on the right track and is played as Jason doing the ultimate sacrifice to help Roy, I think it would be a great way to "clean the slate" for the guys and allow the Rebirth Status quo to set in.

  2. I do wonder what JD would have done if things didn't go her way. What if Jason killed her or they let her fall to her death? Was that part of the thrill? Was she always interested in Jason because of the Red Hood connection? At one point I wondered if Joker had met her and they plotted this out.

    Even if Lobdell is just trying to make it a joke I don't see that as a joke Jason would make. Given how Barbara is written in other books (being cold to the TT, yelling at Dick, etc.) she's much nicer here. Eternal honestly makes me feel ill for many reasons. That part reminds me of something from real life. I rather not deal with any hint of it.

    Exactly. It's a joke at the victims' expense that preys on people being vicious to make them feel all the worse. That's more of a Joker/JD type of thing.

    Roy wouldn't be happy about that since he JUST got back some memories. It was implied from a person that claims to be in the know that next issue will be emotional. I thought it might have to do with their internet feed. Jason looks like a villain maybe kills them online.

    I'm not sure what will happen. Maybe bats will show up next issue. Maybe Roy will be pissed at what Jason does. Maybe Jason will push him away.