Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Red Hood and the Outlaws #4 VOL. 2

I'm hoping that this issue can improve my mood on this terrible day. First I should note this isn't the cover that was solicited making me wonder if the real cover for #5 is spoilery. I heard rumors this one would be a big issue so let's see if that's true.


Jason tried to help Bizarro cope with the fact he wasn't Superman, Bizarro doesn't take it well. I smiled despite my bad mood as soon as I saw Jason pressed against the glass of Artemis' cell and her casualness about it. She does prepare to blow her cover to save Jason but he manages to break through to Bizarro using "Pup Pup" (the Superman plushie he got for Bizarro.) I love Artemis' awkward "yeah, um...hi." response as the whole thing is odd to her. Having a heart to heart with Bizarro leads Jason to admit things are more complicated than he thought.

Black Mask invites Jason to eat breakfast with him and admits he wanted to use him as a pawn. Now he sees him as a kindred sport and a friend. Having escaped Artemis listens in pondering how tedious it is that people talk about their feelings instead of settling problems with weapons. After she gets her information and leaves Black Mask reveals his true purpose. Jason declines joining him and Black Mask gains control of Bizarro.

Overall: I'll start with what I didn't like. For most of this series I haven't had any real complaints but the Arkham detail has always been something that never worked for me. It's been mentioned a couple times in passing in the previous two series and raises all sorts of questions. Morrison's run was always questionable in canon and I never bought Winick's reasoning for putting Jason there. How the hell is ARKHAM safer than a normal prison? You're telling me the bat family is so heartless they'd lock Jason up with their enemies including the one that murdered him?!

I cringe every time I see a reference to this. Jason isn't crazy and I can't buy the idea of no one recognizing him as Bruce Wayne's adopted son. I don't like what it says about the bat family. Would they really dump Jason there, the place that's screwed up and not attempt to help him with a more hands on approach? Why would Jason ever agree to work with any of them again after that?

I love how Jason talks about the city and his experience using Bizarro's sense of hearing to get through to him. It's deeply personal and talking about Gotham like this reminds me of UTH but in a more hopeful way. Bruce also talks a great deal about the city which is another connection between them. The talk also seems to affect Artemis as well as impress Black Mask for not needing to harm Bizarro to get him defused. Jason himself not only shares his thoughts but admits there's some good out there too.

I'm glad we finally got to see how Artemis got her information as it didn't make sense for her to be so sure it was with Black Mask. Having Jason know Artemis was behind them and getting the information for her was a good detail supported by the art. I figured it was likely that Black Mask knew what Jason was doing and who he was. It just makes sense. I did wonder how long he knew the identity of Red Hood so it's cool that I kinda was on the right track with the timing and Ma Gunn although I had a few ideas how that worked. The hints were all in place although I'm a little disappointed this issue wasn't as big as I was hoping.

The reason why Black Mask knows Red Hood is Jason is part of my theory. I'm not sure if some of the bits in this issue were red herrings but yes there are things that supports it too. The virus plot on the other hand isn't one I thought on as much but I guess Black Mask finally decided he had no more options. 

The similarities between BM are apparent to both of them. Only BM has more insight to who Jason is and how he works. This was a good issue but I didn't like it quite as much as the previous ones. It has a little to do with the Arkham and Harley Quinn mentions which don't make sense to me but I suspect my bad mood from a horrible day isn't helping either. I also want to see Jason show off his skills which we haven't seen much of. I'm beginning to worry that Artemis' comments on his lack of skill and the subpar performs in other titles means he's being retconned into a bad fighter. The guy that could fight Batman.

I don't mind not seeing him fight but I want to see him win more.

Questions Raised?: How was Bizarro injected with the T.O. virus?

Why did Black Mask give him a uniform with a reversed S shield?

So was BM planning on using the virus on Artemis?

Why does Black Mask need a heir? I can't recall this being a big deal for the other super villains. Assuming he's not fibbing more, which I think he is, this is pretty important to him. And he knew what Jason was doing so he'd have to have a good reason for picking him. Jason wasn't easy to manipulate like BM assumed and he knew that when Jason refused to kill his men. Personally I think it has to do with him knowing who Jason is.

"Always" known huh?

Say What?: Jason once again refers to himself as a bad guy. 

Artemis saying they should have killed Bizarro before but they never had time to do it so she can't really blame him. 

Bizarro calls Jason and Artemis "Red Him and Red Her."

Artemis saying Jason lacks skills. Maybe for a century or more old Amazon it seems that way but he was also holding his punches against her.

HARLEY QUINN was his therapist?! Wasn't she a supervillain by the time Dick was Robin in this canon? If she wasn't then wouldn't she be one by the time Jason returned?

In his text box Jason admits BM is right about him being lonely and hates him for mentioning it. Ouch.

Not only does Black Mask know Jason's name he knew to target Ma Gunn. This implies he either knows their history or knows Jason well enough to pick good target. The fact that he's "always" known is interesting too.

So Artemis' bow is in the same place Jason saved Roy from in the first issue of RHATO vol. 1

Did You Notice?: Jason is maskless around Black Mask's men. I've been over why this bugs me but I don't think I mentioned it in this volume. I mean wouldn't Jason have been known in Gotham for Bruce adoption him?

How "Mistress" appears when called.

Black Mask has his mask carved into the dinner table.

Nice detail with Jason reaching for his gun at the table.

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